Fortune favours the brave, so they say, and there’s no doubt that GCH Precision Engineering is reaping the rewards of investing in a Hyundai-Wia heavy-duty, large-capacity CNC turning machine. After realising that OEMs across a number of industries were struggling to locally source (within Scotland) large-capacity machining for primarily complex parts requiring milling as well as turning operations, Graham Hawthorne, CEO of the East Kilbride (Glasgow) based company, knew that GCH could secure this work if he installed the Hyundai-Wia L500LMA slant bed lathe with C axis and driven tools.
The result is that GCH is now cost-effectively processing a wide variety of work that falls within the turning length and diameter capacities of 2,109 mm and 690 mm, respectively, on the machine supplied by T W Ward CNC Machinery (Ward CNC), Hyundai-Wia’s exclusive UK and Ireland agent.
Included in the order book are workpieces being machined from most materials – from EN3A steel to EN36 high-tensile steel, aluminium, super duplex, Inconel and plastics for clients in the aviation, oil and gas, food and drink and pharmaceutical sectors, for instance, as well as parts for robotic machinery and components for the onshore drilling industry (equipment for site investigations, for instance) which also embrace the production of API threads to NACE and AMEC standards.
“Knowing that such work was increasingly being outsourced either overseas or south of the border, I knew that we had the in-house skills to handle such projects – all I needed was the machining capacity,” says Mr Hawthorne.
The Hyundai-Wia L500LMA was available from stock at Ward CNC – which carries a high level of varied stock and demonstration machines at its Sheffield and Redditch bases to enable rapid response to customers’ short delivery demands.
Mr Hawthorne continues: “At the same time, we needed to replace some ageing machines – a radial arm drill, a manual lathe and an older, smaller capacity CNC lathe – and while the Hyundai-Wia has effectively replaced all these, it has, importantly, also extended our capacity to satisfy this larger work.”
Stating that the L500LMA has the power and torque (45 kW main spindle; torque of 2,990 Nm) to easily handle large cuts of, say, 7 mm at a feed rate of 0.38 mm/rev, “it is the only time we have ever experienced a cutting insert and tool not being able to keep up with the machine’s capacity and ability in terms of sheer metal removal rates”.
Mr Hawthorne also highlights how the machine’s multi-function, single set-up operation means that less set-ups has resulted in reduced lead times.
“Rather than having to re-locate workpieces for separate operations, we can now complete very complex parts in a single set-up, which not only saves time and resources from a manual handling and manpower perspective but it also eliminates any worries of possible inaccuracies when re-setting,” he says.
“Added to this is the fact that the machine’s rapid traverse rates of 20 m/min also contribute to the machine’s fast cycle times.”
He concludes: “The Hyundai-Wia is the ideal machine to help spearhead the next step of our company’s expansion plans, and this has been achieved by creating the required bridge to the next phase which will see us moving to larger premises.
“This will further accelerate our wide-ranging portfolio of services which in addition to machine repair services for drilling equipment, also includes the machining of long shafts, valves and pumps, bonnet seal rings and Monel casing covers.
“It has been the single most important step that we have taken recently that has really paid off in terms of our company’s main objective to improve and modernise our plant coupled with a significant expansion in terms of our current capabilities and physical capacity “