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Ward CNC's Reliable Machines Keep Body Engineering On Track
Ward CNC's Reliable Machines Keep Body Engineering On Track

Ward CNC's Reliable Machines Keep Body Engineering On Track

Added to MTDCNC by TW Ward CNC Machinery Ltd on 07 September 2016

[] Hartford Pro-800 vertical machining centre

[] Hyundai-Wia L230 LMSA CNC turn-mill centre

[] Hankook VTB 100R vertical turning and boring machine, and 

[] Two Hyundai-Wia KH63 horizontal machining centres.

In each case these machines, like the other eight CNC machines (including deep hole drilling capacity) in use at the family-owned company’s County Durham-based site, have been purchased to satisfy particular machining requirements to enable the company to not only meet but also exceed its preferred machinist status with the customer.

Every machine is generally set up and dedicated to the production of specific parts used in the construction of track and running gear for armoured vehicles. The in-house facilities also include manganese phosphating; only heat treatment is outsourced.

The company’s order book shows no sign of slowing; indeed, the workload – literally thousands of components each week derived from a forward annual order requirement – will likely further increase following increased defence spending. That will mean Directors David and Paul Body continuing to run their machines flat-out on long (12-hour) single day shifts at the 14-employee company.  

“The components we’re machining are of ‘unforgiving’ cast steel/EN24 - high tensile and very tough material – so we have to be sure that every machine we purchase can withstand such arduous machining conditions on a daily basis,” says David Body. 

“We do not compromise at all when selecting a new machine; we pick the right machine with the appropriate specification for the job and not necessarily a machine with all the ‘bells and whistles’ (although nowadays it’s probably impossible to avoid those!). Likewise, the tooling used, mainly carbide insert tools, is the best we can find to suit the task in hand.”

That said, the availability of the right machine is often a key criteria when capacity needs to expand. “It’s often the case that order demand for ‘new’ parts can be instantly switched on, which means we have to be able to react quickly,” he continues. 

“This was certainly the case with the installation of the Hyundai-Wia L230 LMSA turn-mill centre which we are using for the one-hit machining of complex high tensile steel workpieces. From stock, Ward CNC was able to supply to our delivery deadline a machine that is equipped with C axis, driven tools and sub-spindle, offering all the multi-tool turning and milling technology required to meet the contract demands.”

As in every case, Body Engineering looked at the marketplace but, says David Body, “it was clear that the Hyundai-Wia offered the best choice, especially in terms of machining flexibility since we wanted to use the machine in both bar-fed and chucking modes to suit varying batch demands and machining requirements, including back facing in a single set-up”.

With a main chuck size of 210 mm diameter and a bar capacity of 65 mm complementing a 45 mm bar capacity in the sub-spindle, the Hyundai-Wia L230LMSA turning centre has a swing over the bed of  550 mm, and a maximum turning diameter and length of 310 mm and 521 mm, respectively. The 4,000 revs/min machine (main spindle motor is 15/11 kW; sub-spindle is 5.5/3.7 kW) has rapid traverse rates up to 36 m/min, 12 tool stations and a driven tool motor of 3.7/2.2 kW, plus C axis indexing in 0.001deg steps.

Body Engineering’s latest investment acquisition – the Ward CNC-supplied Hartford Pro-800 machining centre - was installed specifically to incorporate in-cycle what was formerly a separate roughing operation, to effectively reduce from four to three (also drilling and boring) the number of operations required on a certain component. 

This is a part that the company first looked at in prototype form 15 years ago (which gives some indication of the gestation period required for certain applications in the defence sector). 

“The machine has dramatically improved our efficiency on this workpiece,” says David Body.

With X, Y and Z axes of 800/1,000 mm by 510/600 mm by 630 mm and able to accommodate loads up to 700 kgs, the machine’s 7.5/10 kW spindle motor is complemented by an ISO-40 spindle taper. “This is more than adequate for the series of roughing tasks (certainly not heavy milling) required on these parts.

“We generally find, however, that it is essential that the materials we’re handling are tackled by ISO-50 spindle tapers; even while we don’t take excessive cuts at excessive speeds and feeds, in the past when using machines with smaller tapers we’ve actually had the spindle stall during some operations or, indeed, actually pulled the tool out!”

The selection of Ward CNC-supplied machines by the BS EN ISO 9001 accredited company has also been influenced not only by the machines’ performance record but also by the high level of service and back up that is offered by Ward CNC. 

“We have a very good relationship with Ward CNC,” concludes David Body, “which is essential in our business, since we are running machines to their limits and we have to be confident that the machine supplier will be there for us if needed.”

Complementing the policy of continually investing to meet customer needs, David Body says the company’s preferred machinist status is also certainly underpinned by its maintenance of being able to perfectly balance the supply of high-quality machined components at the right price, on time and backed by superlative customer service. 

“We are always trying to exceed customer expectations – in our early days when there were three of four other suppliers vying for this business, we were able to supply components within two/three days compared to six/eight weeks. It’s that type of mentality that has stood us in good stead over the years, backed up of course by ultra-reliable machine tools.”

 

Recent investments with Ward CNC by Body Engineering include the Hyundai-Wia L230 LMSA CNC turn-mill centre (above) and Hankook VTB vertical turning and boring machine

 

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