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The installation of a new Hartford Infinity twin-column vertical machining centre has not only provided Steel Dynamics UK with the enlarged capability and capacity that it needed, but the machine is also producing cycle time reductions of at least 30 per cent compared with previous routines.

“With improved fixturing methods plus enhancements to the tooling being used, we fully expect to further improve on those machining time savings in the near future,” according to the Blackburn-based company’s operations director Andy Berry.

Supplied by T W Ward CNC Machinery (Ward CNC), Hartford’s exclusive agent in the UK and Ireland, the Infinity HSA420 has X, Y and Z axes travels of 4,000 mm by 2,000 mm by 1,000 mm and, capable of accommodating workpieces weighing 12, 000 kgs, the machine is out-performing Steel Dynamic UK’s two existing, older vertical machining centres for both speed and capability, says Mr Berry.

“It’s the largest machine we’ve ever installed,” he continues, “and while so far it has largely been used on a relatively new nuclear-based contract – involving predominantly milling operations on prismatic stainless steel workpieces – it has perfectly complemented our existing manufacturing capabilities based around ISO 9001: 2008 accreditation. These include water jet, plasma and laser cutting, as well as radial arm drilling and vertical boring to 1,350 mm diameter.”

Steel Dynamics UK is an established supplier of a wide range of components to customers in varied industry sectors ranging from architectural, oil and gas, through to food and beverage processing as well as petrochemical, and in materials that also include duplex, nickel and carbon alloys, aluminium, copper and brass.

Its new Hartford machining centre is ideally suited to handling all these materials, with a solid construction based on a one-piece heavy duty cast iron bed that provides high accuracy and stability.

Linear guideways permit impressive feed and traverse rates – up to 12,000 mm/min and 20 m/min in X (18 m/min in Y and 16m/min in Z), respectively – while, as standard, the 22 kW spindle motor is complemented by a 20-station automatic toolchanger.

For Steel Dynamics, however, Ward CNC was able to not only provide the machine on a very short delivery – to satisfy the customer’s urgent need to update its capability – but it also provided a machine with a higher specification main motor (26 kW) and larger capacity toolchanger (40 tools) again to meet Steel Dynamics’ specific demands.

“The HSA420 is the first machine we’ve purchased from Ward CNC,” adds Mr Berry, “and it was a case of us finding the right machine with the right capability and exactly the specification we needed for the right price. Ward CNC was able to provide all this and supply a machine in a very short delivery time, too.”

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