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The installation of a re-manufactured Webster & Bennett CNC vertical turning machine has transformed tube sheet and heat exchanger plate production at Ripley-based Tubesheet by slashing machining times compared to manual methods.

According to Managing Director Andy Vaughan, the retrofitted S-Type 72 VTL with Fanuc 0iT control has eliminated the need for operator intervention after each manual cycle, thus “bringing ultra-fast operation” to a process that was formerly very lengthy and operator-dependent.

Established in 1985, the Derbyshire based company is a leading player in the supply of precision engineered components as well as tube sheets and heat exchanger plates.

A wide range of material types are handled including brass, aluminium, bronze and copper alloys, and such is the company’s level of success that more than 65 per cent of production is exported throughout the world.

Supplied by the retrofit team at T W Ward CNC Machinery Ltd. (Ward CNC), the new-look Webster & Bennett complements Tubesheet’s existing manual Webster & Bennett 72 ER VTL, which was also supplied by Ward CNC along with a Hartford Infinity vertical machining centre, in the production of a range of tube sheets and heat exchanger plates.

“We needed extra vertical turning capacity,” says Mr Vaughan, “and we selected this latest model based primarily on its table swing capacity of two metres, which will accommodate even the largest workpieces we handle.

“However, price was also an important consideration, especially when comparing the machine with unused, new equivalents.”

Based on heavy-duty cast iron construction, the S-Type 72 has a height under the crossrail of 700 mm to 1,600 mm – more than enough to accommodate Tubesheet’s components – and it features heavy-duty hardened and ground slideways, two-step automatic gearbox, plus five-position automatic indexing hydraulic and four-jaw manual faceplate-type chucks.

The 55 kW table motor is complemented by a 5.5 kW X/Z axes servo motor and feed rates of 5,000 mm/min for cutting and rapid traversing.

Ward CNC’s standard re-manufacturing process embraces and initial mechanical evaluation then the machine is stripped back to basic components (with redesign if appropriate) before a full mechanical rebuild sees the installation of new ballscrews and bearings, as well as new electrical, hydraulic, lubrication, measurement, CNC system, servo motors and drive amplifiers.

Finally, a re-manufactured machine is run, tested and checked with geometrical alignments and axis calibration.

“The quality of Ward CNC’s re-manufacturing cannot be faulted,” concludes Mr Vaughan, “and the machine performance stands up against any comparable brand new machine.”