Double Column VMC Makes a Dynamic Impression

The installation of a new Hartford Infinity twin-column vertical machining centre has not only provided Steel Dynamics UK with the enlarged capability and capacity that it needed, but the machine is also producing cycle time reductions of at least 30% compared with previous routines.

Andy Berry

The installation of a new Hartford Infinity twin-column vertical machining centre has not only provided Steel Dynamics UK with the enlarged capability and capacity that it needed, but the machine is also producing cycle time reductions of at least 30% compared with previous routines.

“And with improved fixturing methods plus enhancements to the tooling being used, we fully expect to further improve on those machining time savings in the near future,” according to the Blackburn-based company’s operations director Andy Berry.

Supplied by TW Ward CNC Machinery (Ward CNC), Hartford’s exclusive agent in the UK and Ireland, the Infinity HSA420 has X-, Y- and Z-axes travels of 4,000mm x 2,000mm x 1,000mm and, capable of accommodating workpieces weighing 12,000kg, the machine is outperforming Steel Dynamic UK’s two existing, older vertical machining centres for both speed and capability, Mr Berry advises.

“It’s the largest machine we’ve ever installed,” he continues, “and while so far it has largely been used on a relatively new nuclear-based contract – involving predominantly milling operations on prismatic stainless-steel workpieces – it has complemented our existing manufacturing capabilities perfectly. These include waterjet, plasma and laser cutting, as well as radial arm drilling and vertical boring to 1,350mm diameter.”
Steel Dynamics UK is an established supplier of a wide range of components to customers in varied industry sectors ranging from architectural and oil and gas, through to food and beverage processing and petrochemical, and in materials that also include duplex, nickel and carbon alloys, aluminium, copper and brass.

Its new Hartford machining centre is ideally suited to handling all these materials, with a solid construction based on a one-piece heavy duty cast iron bed that provides high accuracy and stability.

Linear guideways permit impressive feed and traverse rates – up to 12,000mm/minute and 20m/minute in X (18m/minute in Y and 16m/minute in Z), respectively – while, as standard, the 22kW spindle motor is complemented by a 20-station automatic toolchanger.

For Steel Dynamics, however, Ward CNC was not only able to provide the machine on a very short lead-time to satisfy the customer’s urgent need to update its capability – but it also supplied a machine with a higher specification main motor (26kW) and larger capacity toolchanger (40 tools) again to meet Steel Dynamics’ specific demands.

“The HSA420 is the first machine we’ve purchased from Ward CNC,” adds Mr Berry, “and it was a case of us finding the right machine with the right capability and exactly the specification we needed for the right price. Ward CNC was able to provide all this and supply a machine in a very short delivery timescale.”