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The enlarged machining capacity offered by the new Hartford machining centre and Hyundai-Wia two-axis CNC lathe supplied by Ward CNC is enabling Glasgow-based precision machinist, Well Machined, to buck the depressed trend in the global oil and gas sector and boost its order book by being able to take on larger components.

With the Blockbuster Pro 3150 double-column vertical machining centre offering an X axis capacity of three metres plus and the Hyundai-Wia L400LC slant bed lathe providing maximum turning lengths and diameters of up to more than two metres and 640 mm, respectively, the new machines have played a key role in enabling Well Machined to attract work on large (long) gauge carriers for down-hole tooling applications.

According to the company’s sales director, Paul Rafferty, the investment in the machines was really a case of “build it and they will come”, he says, “because the machines immediately attracted additional, larger capacity work, from our existing customer base”. He adds: “There’s no doubt that the global oil and gas market is suffering and certainly without these machines we would be finding it a much tougher business environment.”

Mr Rafferty’s considerable expertise in supplying high-precision workpieces to oil and gas customers prompted the desire to invest with Ward CNC, coupled with the fact that “the time was also right to replace a couple of older, unreliable machines”.

“In addition to being considered fit-for-purpose and excellent value for money, what really sealed the order for Ward CNC was the fact that both machines were immediately available from stock,” he says. “I could see that the oil and gas component machining market was going to be ‘squeezed’ and I knew that if we didn’t move quickly we would miss out. In addition, of course, my experience with machines from Ward CNC, and the company’s excellent levels of service and back-up, were also major considerations.”

Able to accommodate workpieces weighing 6,000 kgs on its 3,150 mm by 1,450 mm table, the 40-tool Hartford Blockbuster PRO-3150 has X, Y and Z axes travels of 3,060 mm by 1,560 mm by 780 mm (rapid traverse rates are 12 m/min on all axes) and up to 940 mm between spindle nose and table and its hardened and ground box guideways are another feature that promotes reliable heavy-duty cutting.

With a bar capacity of 117 mm diameter, the Hyundai-Wia L400 LC two-axis CNC lathe offers a swing over the bed of 725 mm and spindle speeds up to 2,000 revs/min from the 37/30 kW main motor. With up to 12 tool stations in a BMT-75 toolpost-type turret, plus box guideways and two-step gearbox, this machine is also ideally suited to heavy-duty machining.

The duo have been put to work successfully processing gauge carriers, which are used for measuring downhole temperature and pressure. Made from a various materials, including super duplex and Inconel, the carriers can measure more than 3 m long and up to 250mm outside diameter.

These represent just one part of the company’s oil and gas component workload that also involves, for example, downhole tooling assemblies, gauge and gas lift mandrels, pup joints and penetrator bonnets as well as orientation and helix sleeves.