Fast turnkey response and faster production…
The Feeler HV800 vertical machining centre was able to carry out the work twice as fast as would have been possible on Vineham’s existing machining centres.
An added advantage for Vineham was that the Engineering Technology Group, via its ETG Finance subsidiary, was able to lease it the machine for the period of the contract.
Based in Swindon, Vineham Engineering is an expanding AS91000-accredited precision engineering subcontractor with a sister company, Pharma Tooling, that is a specialist in manufacturing tooling for pharmaceutical packaging.
Services offered by Vineham include CNC machining, turning, EDM and grinding.
Managing Director Phil Vines explains: ‘We offer a one-stop subcontract machining service, from prototyping and development to volume production.’
So, when Vineham won a six-month volume production contract, it turned to Feeler UK for extra capacity.
Phil Vines says: ‘We needed to manufacture a large number of clamps within a specific time frame, so we needed extra capacity that our existing vertical and horizontal machining centres couldn’t provide. The Engineering Technology Group was able to provide a turnkey solution using the Feeler HV800 extremely quickly. The machine was installed in just three or four weeks.
‘What’s more, as well as providing the capacity we needed, the Engineering Technology Group’s application engineers were able to halve the cycle time compared with our existing machining centres.’
The machine, which is carried as a stock machine by Feeler UK, has an 800mm (X) by 520mm (Y) by 505mm (Z) working envelope and is fitted with a 15,000rpm BT Big-Plus 40 taper, 30HP direct drive spindle. A rigid design is combined with axis travel speeds of 60m/min in the X and Y axes and a 30-station swing-arm tool changer.
Phil Vines says: ‘The aspects of the machine that were most important for us were the Big-Plus 40 taper tooling and the high-speed, high-power spindle that allowed us to take a very heavy cut. Everything is built for speed and rigidity. It was quite tough material but we were able to hit it really hard, which was important because of the amount of work we had to do in a given time. It ran continuously on the project for six months.’
At the end of the six-month hire period Vineham was offered the opportunity to buy the HV800 and decided to take up the offer, with the payments over the hire period taken off the purchase price of the machine.
‘Effectively, we had it free for the six months of our contract for the clamps,’ says Phil Vines.
‘It had proved to be a very good machine, a highly specified machine that will start to take over some of the work from our older machining centres and reduce our cycle times. We thought it was better to go forward by keeping a higher specification machine rather than letting it go back to the supplier.’
The machine is now providing valuable capacity on a range of work, including aluminium aerospace components and pharmaceutical packaging tooling.
‘We are extremely busy on the packaging side of the business and everything we are doing on the machine at the moment is for pharmaceutical packaging tooling. We have also just run a big contract on it for an aerospace customer – making around 10,000 aluminium clips. Because it is a high-speed, rapid-response machine it is very well suited to this high-speed machining of aluminium aerospace components,’ says Mr Vines.
Two years ago Vineham purchased a Nakamura from ETG – also as a turnkey for a specific project and this is now running on a variety of subcontract work too.
‘The Nakamura has been a good machine and its one-hit milling and turning capabilities are a nice string to our bow. It hasn’t stopped running since we had it in and there is still capacity there for some volume production work. It is a very good, reliable machine that has worked well for us,’ says Phil Vines.
‘As a subcontractor we don’t know what is going to come through the door. And we will always look at getting a machine to win a contract. And when we do get the contract we will then need it quickly and need it as a turnkey machine.
‘The Engineering Technology Group – whether through Turning Technologies UK for the Nakamura machine or Feeler UK on the HV800 – have always reacted very quickly to what we want and we have been very happy with our relationship with them.’