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WARD CNC MACHINE PORTFOLIO MEETS GE OIL & GAS QUEST TO MAINTAIN GLOBAL EQUIPMENT SUPPLY LEAD

GE Oil & Gas, a world leader in advanced technology equipment and services for the oil and gas industry, has invested in a portfolio of machining solutions from T W Ward CNC Machinery (Ward CNC)

to not only ensure it can continue to provide the capacity to meet the rising demand for producing increasingly larger workpieces, but also to maintain its position as a cost-effective manufacturer of a wide range of exploration and production equipment

At its sites in Montrose, Scotland, the company has installed, at the Brent Avenue manufacturing facility, a large-capacity Soraluce FR-11000 travelling column, floor-type milling centre with live spindle, plus a Soraluce KB150 boring machine. It also has an additional trio of KBW150s on order. The Charlton Road service facility has implemented a Hyundai-Wia HS630 twin-pallet horizontal machining centre, a Hankook 9NC two-axis CNC lathe, a Hartford PBM-115 CNC horizontal boring and milling machine, and a Hankook VTC-160 vertical boring and turning centre with C axis and driven tools.

Brent Avenue provides the company’s global customer base with a wide range of solutions – for drilling (land, offshore and subsea), as well as for enhanced oil recovery, power generation, refinery, gas storage and pipeline. It was, however, to meet the increasing demand for subsea valve blocks that the large-capacity Soraluce FR-11000 was installed, according to Jim Spark, the company’s Global Machining COE Leader for Subsea Trees Manufacturing.

He explains how manufacturing forecasts identified the pending need for increased capacity. “Combined with our desire to simplify complex set-ups, this led us towards Ward CNC, the exclusive UK agent for Soraluce."Our initial discussions led to a period of extensive technical reviews and meetings with both Ward CNC and Soraluce technical engineers,” says Mr Spark. “Of course, machining capacity – and accuracy - was paramount, and the 150-tool FR11000 satisfied those needs with its X, Y and Z traverses of 10,000 mm by 3,600 mm by 1,900 mm, plus a W axis (quill cross traverse) of 1,000 mm and, of course, the best-in-class linear guides (Heidenhain scales) and the innovative Dynamic Ram compensation functionality. “But we were equally impressed by the attention to detail by both Ward CNC and Soraluce, plus the crucial fact that Soraluce could also provide a number of additional technology features that other suppliers couldn’t.”

In terms of the 71/88 kW Soraluce, GE specified a range of attributes to complement the machine’s impressive machining capabilities that included a fourth-/fifth-axis rotary/travelling table of 2,500 mm by 2,000 and able to accommodate loads of 40, 000 kgs.

These included a fixed pick-up station for automatic changing of the machining heads: a 2,500 revs/min H342 automatic indexing stepless head (0.001deg by 0.001deg); a 2,500 revs/min 180 mm modular quill; a long (1,050 mm) 1,500 revs/min boring head with 2.5deg rear indexing; Cogsdill adaptor and ZX900 head; and a Gerardi angular head.

Installed simultaneously, the 46 kW, 60-tool Soraluce KB150 T-type boring machine – which features traverses of 4,000 mm (X axis), 3,200 mm (Y) and 2,000 mm (Z), plus a W axis (boring spindle) of 800 mm – also has a rotary/travelling table, of 2,000 mm by 2,500 mm and able to handle loads of 20,000 kgs.

A number of enhancements were also made to this machine’s ‘standard’ specification, notably quill support and universal milling head and stock block system on the quill for the Sandvik ejector drilling, along with the upgraded features necessary for this - coolant/refrigeration, increased torque of 2,750 Nm, increased thrust in the W and Z axes via different ballscrews.

For the trio of KBW150s on order, GE has specified a host of enhancements, based on its experience with the existing KB150. These include the use of robot toolchangers and, importantly, a machine operation based on the combination of ram- and quill-type machining “to ensure optimum performance on components on every size” processed by the machines’ expansive axes capacity.

The quartet of Ward CNC-supplied machines at GE’s Charlton Road site was made to replace existing, older machines of similar capacity and, says Ward CNC, the four-machine package was derived from in-stock machines readily available for supply to Scotland.

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