Case Study

Extraordinarily quick reaction saves the day

| Editor: Rosemarie Stahl

The Hermle C 400 vertical-spindle, 5-axis machining centre in use at aerospace subcontractor, FGP Systems, Weymouth.
The Hermle C 400 vertical-spindle, 5-axis machining centre in use at aerospace subcontractor, FGP Systems, Weymouth. (Source: Geo Kingsbury)

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It is the nightmare of every manufacturer: While working on a important and time-sensitive production project, a machining centre fails and stops working. The only possible rescue is a quick replacement of the machine. In case of FGP Systems, they were able to get a replacement in the course of two weeks.

A catastrophic failure of a 5-axis machining centre, coupled with a requirement to continue supplying 12 aircraft seat tray table assemblies per day that were being produced on it, is a nightmarish scenario for a subcontractor. It was exactly the problem Weymouth-based FGP Systems faced last autumn.

A solution was quickly found. It was to buy a new, German-built Hermle C 400 machining centre, which was supplied in September 2016 by sole UK agent Geo Kingsbury in a lead-time of two weeks. After commissioning and training, the 5-axis, vertical-spindle machine was producing parts within three weeks from time of order. Three months later, the supplier moved it to a new, permanent location in the Weymouth facility over a period of just four days prior to Christmas.

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Simon Griffiths-Hughes, Director of Engineering at FGP Systems said, “No other potential source of a quality 5-axis machining centre could react so quickly. 14 to 16 weeks is a normal lead-time from a factory if a machine is built to order, but Geo Kingsbury had the Hermle C 400 in stock in its Gosport showroom.

“As luck would have it, the machine was perfectly specified for our requirements with spindle nose probing, laser tool setting, HSK 63 tools, an extended, 87-station magazine and an 18,000 rpm spindle to allow efficient machining of aluminium.

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