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The installation of a Hartford vertical machining centre is “exceeding all expectations” at Lodge Engineering, says managing director, Richard Evans ...

by, for example, “reducing machining time on one job alone from 4.5 hours down to just two hours”! Supplied by T W Ward CNC Machinery (Ward CNC), the UK’s exclusive distributor for Hartford machines, the HCMC 1682 single-table, open-fronted machine was installed by the Doncaster-based precision engineering firm because of its robustness, among many other attributes, he adds.

According to Mr Evans: “The heavy metal cutting on the primary job in question – a 700 mm diameter by 120 mm thick EN19 sprocket – was ‘testing’ our existing milling machine, which featured linear guides. We knew we had to invest in an appropriately robust machining centre, one with hardened and ground box guideways, to handle this component.”

He continues: “While these components are processed in relatively small batches, they incorporate a lot of machining and any mistakes would obviously be very costly – hence the need to use a machine that is best suited to such work. We found just what we needed when we saw the Hartford.”

Having surveyed the market, Mr Evans and colleague Dave Stokes compared three different makes of vertical machining centres, and they chose the Hartford because:

[] Its high quality construction endears rigid, robust and reliable performance – plus the BT-50, 26 kW, 6,000 revs/min spindle is also ideally suited to heavy machining;

[] Its table size (1,750 mm 820 mm) was bigger than the alternative machines; and

[] It was available immediately from stock from Ward CNC’s Sheffield headquarters.

“Overall,” adds Mr Evans, “Ward CNC won the deal based on the complete package and level of customer service offered. Indeed, Ward CNC knew we needed the machine quickly and it responded.”

The 32-tool Hartford HCMC 1682 has an X, Y and Z capacity of 1,600 mm by 820 mm by 660 mm and the machine is being put to good use on a wide range of components.

“Indeed, since its installation, the machine has generally improved machining times on every workpiece by at least 20 per cent,” concludes Mr Evans.