Adding value

Uploaded 09 Apr @ 08:32am

Voestalpine High Performance Metals UK has built a reputation for supplying specialty metals to the most demanding sectors, including oil & gas, aerospace, power generation, automotive and motorsports. Based in Oldbury, West Midlands, the UK Sales Division is focused on service; continued investment in its warehouse facility and robust value added services ensures the company is well placed for the future.

“While our core activity here at Oldbury is the sale and distribution of high performance metals as either cut steel billets or blocks, we have had a limited machining capacity onsite for many years. The decision to expand this facility was taken just over 12 months ago, enabling us to increase the onsite services provided,” says Stuart Brown, Value Added Services Manager. “Our ambition is to achieve a 50-50 split between material supply and the value added services we offer, our investment in machining capacity is part of that strategy. The more we can do for customers in terms of pre-machining of material adds significant value to the products we are selling, whether that is simply blocking material to a specific size,
or more intricate machining work.”

The first XYZ machine to arrive on-site was an XYZ 2010 vertical machining centre, part of the ‘Super Heavyweight’ range of machines. With a table load capacity of 3,000 kg and a table size of 2,200 by 1,000 mm, the XYZ 2010 is ideal for processing large blocks of material for customers in the toolmaking and medical sectors. “We can load a variety of parts onto the machine table with multiple blocks accommodated at the same time, which greatly improves efficiency,” says Stuart Brown. “I knew of the value and performance of XYZ machines from previous companies that I’ve worked at but was unaware of their larger capacity machines. Seeing the carcass of the XYZ 2010 VMC at XYZ’s factory in Devon gave me the reassurance that I was buying the right machine for the job.” The combination of a powerful 8,000 rpm, 23 kW spindle and solid 20,000 kg Meehanite cast construction, enables high metal removal rates.

With the initial large capacity milling taken care of, attention turned to smaller components and the arrival of an XYZ CT 65 (Compact Turn) turning centre. As the name suggests, the Compact Turn has an extremely small footprint, yet at the same time provides versatile machining capability thanks to standard features such as a 200 mm diameter hydraulic chuck, 12-station 30-VDI turret, Renishaw tool setting arm, swarf conveyor and tailstock. Machining capacities are a maximum swing of 400 mm, maximum turned diameter of 220 mm and maximum turned length 260 mm with a 65 mm spindle bore.

Next, the Value Added Services department continued its focus on milling with the addition of an XYZ 1100 HD vertical machining centre. One of the key benefits of investing in the XYZ Machine Tools range is the consistency of the control system. Each of the three machines currently installed feature the Siemens 828D with either ShopMill or ShopTurn conversational software fitted as standard. “The machines we had prior to these were either manual or had very basic CNC functionality so the step up to the Siemens controls was an easy move to make due to the ease of programming,” says Stuart Brown. “Because of the nature of the work we do everything is programmed at the machine and, all our programmer/setter/operators picked it up very quickly, with only two days training required at XYZ.”

The work that Stuart Brown has undertaken at Oldbury is being watched with interest across the Group, as he shares his experience with colleagues in other group companies across Europe. “We have seen improved lead times, quality, and efficiency with the introduction of the CNC capability from XYZ. As we look to expand our services further, we know that the XYZ machines are the right machines to take the group on that journey.”

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