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The installation of Ward CNC supplied turning technology at Mountwest Services is destined to play a key role in enhancing - and expanding - the Montrose (Scotland) company's role as a major supplier of tools, products and components for the global drilling market.

According to workshop production manager John Tulloch: "Because the new machines - including a Hankook Protec 9NC heavy-duty lathe - will both update our manufacturing processes and uprate our productivity, as well as improve quality levels by machining to tight (micron) tolerances, we will therefore be able to significantly extend the number of critical components we handle."

The Mountwest Group provides oil and gas machining services - from pipe threading to the manufacture of downhole drilling tools - on a global scale from bases in Montrose, Aberdeen, Houston and Dubai, as well as a new manufacturing facility in China. The Montrose site also designs, manufacture and repairs drilling tools.

It is to improve efficiency levels across the complete production portfolio that the new machines were sourced, to complement a battery of semi-CNC models. In addition, the company operates a quality assurance management regime that aligns with ISO 9001:2000 and an online reporting system that provides customers with 24/7 access to product progress reports.

The Hankook Protec 9NC, a two-axis lathe with 4,000 mm between centres (with the option of up to 8,000 mm), is proving extremely popular with Ward CNC's oil and gas industry customers.

Constructed of a double-walled and ribbed one-piece meehanite cast iron bed with induction hardened and ground precision slideways for maximum stability and accuracy, the twin-chuck machine has a large spindle bore of 254 mm diameter a 950 mm swing over the bed and 630 mm over the carriage, Other models in the Hankook Protec range offer up to 1,300 mm swing over the bed, 940 mm over the cross slide and spindle bore up to 440 mm diameter.

"In addition to being impressed by the technical knowledge and assistance provided by Ward CNC, the machines were also selected above any others for their cost-competitiveness," adds John Tulloch.