Case Study Turning out the shop lights with equipment upgrades

Editor: Eric Culp

Investments in new machining centres and cutting tools from Taegutec have allowed staff at a UK company to walk out on production.

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The addition of machining equipment and cutting tools have allowed for hands-off machining whether the lights are on or off.
The addition of machining equipment and cutting tools have allowed for hands-off machining whether the lights are on or off.
(Source: Taegutec)

In November 2011, Norjon Engineers Ltd, Gosport, UK, moved into a new facility and acquired two new machine tools. It was the latest step in an investment of over £1m in less than two years that has contributed to the company growing by almost 50% this year. The growth has been underpinned by investment in high-quality machine tools that include the delivery of a Mazak Integrex i400 turning centre and a Hermle C40 machining centre.

See: German precision toolmakers expect no sales growth this year

Retooling provides option of producing at night

The growth at the company is attributed to new machine tools that have enabled the business to now run lights-out machining. The additional unmanned machine hours that have let Norjon start a night shift are also being supported by cutting tools from South Korean supplier Taegutec, said to be another major factor behind the company's success. In the last three years, the investment in technology and a highly skilled workforce have taken staff levels from 17 to almost 30. This investment now brings the total of Hermle 5-axis machining centres from distributor George Kingsbury to four machines. Historically producing gear components, seals for ship propulsion units and automotive test rigs, the company has diversified into the aerospace, automotive, food packaging, hydraulics and power generation sectors and it also makes thermoforming moulds. With the company increasing its workload and diversifying, the complexity and range of parts have gradually increased. Now producing anything from one-offs to batches of 20-plus from aluminium, stainless steel, titanium, inconel and other difficult materials, the company has needed to investigate new tooling suppliers to meet the high specifications of its machine tools. To this end, the company invited a Taegutec representative to review its machining processes and tooling philosophies. The first tool to be tested was from the Taegutec ChaseMill range of milling cutters on an aluminium hovercraft component. It was said to immediately make an impact by raising speeds and feeds as well as improving tool life and surface finish. Another benefit was that aluminium and steel inserts could be used in the cutter for additional flexibility whilst reducing tooling costs versus solid carbide cutters.