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Machining a range of gear and screw pump bodies in cast iron, steel, stainless and bronze, Albany Pumps has witnessed a gradual increase in the size of bodies being ordered by its client base in the global oil and gas industry. This, says Mr George, was putting more strain on the existing 500 mm by 500 mm pallet machining centre which, being 30 years old, was starting to prove unreliable.

“We needed to replace this tired machine and at the same time increase our capacity to meet rising demand for larger workpieces,” comments Mr George, “and ideally with a machine having 800 mm by 800 mm pallets.

“However, the situation was compounded by the fact that we are very tight for space here, so we had to ensure we purchased the most compact machine we could find but one that would, of course, also offer the necessary capacity to enable us to machine in-house the pump bodies of every required size.”

He continues: “We investigated the market and found a number of different brands that offered the required pallet size but they also had relatively large footprints compared to the twin-pallet Hyundai-Wia. The Ward CNC machine occupies a floorspace of just 5.5 m by 3.2 m.”

Machining rigidity/accuracy also came into the equation. “We perform on each body a number of ‘routine’ boring, milling and facing operations to tolerances measured in ‘thous’ rather than microns but machine construction and reliability is vitally important to us.”

Today’s typical four/five-hours machining routine on a pump body involves machining feet and skimming faces before going onto the horizontal machining centres for the facing of both ends, flange machining and the production of two central screw bores before coming off the machine finished.

Having enjoyed the benefits of Ward CNC-supplied machines for more than 10 years with two machining centres (a Kia V90 vertical and a Kia KH63G horizontal), plus the fact that the Hyundai-Wia is of one-piece heavy duty cast iron construction with heavy-duty hardened and ground box guide/LM guide combination, Mr George adds “we were confident that an additional Ward machine would produce a similar consistent performance”.

With 800 mm by 800 mm pallets able to accommodate loads of 2,200 kgs each, plus travels in X, Y Z of 1,250 mm by 1,000 mm by 850 mm and a 22/26 kW spindle offering 4,500 revs/min, the new machine offers everything that Albany requires, including a 80-tool automatic toolchanger that covers all eventualities in terms of pump body machining.

It sits alongside a host of machines at the 80-employee company, which has a rich heritage in the manufacture and refurbishment of standard, customised and special positive displacement pumps from 5 litres/min to 500 M3/hour - external gear, twin screw and rotary lobe pumps.