NCMT Limited

Lantek Sheet Metal Solutions


Established in 1856, Hartlepool subcontractor JJ Hardy & Sons, which specialises in supplying the rail, oil & gas and energy sectors, is continuing its policy of upgrading the capacity on its shop floor to enable it to serve an ever-growing customer base. At the end of 2018, it replaced an ageing lathe with a Genos L3000e turn-mill centre built by Okuma, Japan, supplied through sole UK and Ireland agent, NCMT.

The first job on the machine, which involved turning and milling a batch of parts from brass bar, resulted in each component emerging from the lathe 26 per cent faster than previously. 

More recently, at the end of March 2019, a batch of 400 components turned and drilled from 40 mm diameter, mild steel bar coincidentally showed an almost identical saving. Each part previously took 225 seconds to produce and is now completed in 165 seconds on the Okuma. The one minute reduction per part translates into more than six and a half hours saved, an economy that allowed the subcontractor to hold the price for the customer.

Andrew Pailor, JJ Hardy's managing director since 2002 commented, "With material costs going up all the time, purchasing new machinery to bring cycle times down is helping us to increase our competitiveness and win new business. 

"We identified a requirement for another turn-mill solution and recognised Okuma as the leading manufacturer of machinery to fill that need. We did not think we could afford one, but NCMT's help made it possible.

"The supplier's professional service included the allocation of an engineer to lead the project, a site survey at the outset and a week's on-site training after the machine was delivered. The relationship has developed really well."

Behind the ability of the Genos L3000e to shorten cycle times so much are the design and power of the machine. It has box sideways in X and Z to support heavy cutting, while the NC tailstock runs on a linear guide. The 12 live tools in the turret have up to 7 kW of power for prismatic metalcutting in conjunction with the C-axis spindle, which itself delivers up to 20 kW for highly efficient turning.

Mr Pailor explained that in the case of the first brass component and the mild steel part transferred to the new lathe, the programs were written in the same way as previously. The 26 per cent cycle time savings were purely down to higher speeds and feeds as well as increased depths of cut. 

Maximum turning diameter is 300 mm, although the machine has been equipped with a Hydrafeed MSV65 bar magazine having programmable bar size capability. With a spindle liner and collet chuck, bar capacity is 65 mm, although 70 mm is possible with a three-jaw chuck, a stock size JJ Hardy rarely exceeds.

A suite of options in the proprietary Okuma OSP control enables extensive functionality, such as chatter suppression, to be progressively harnessed as the subcontractor becomes familiar with the machine. A customisable, multi-touch panel and improved rendering result in intuitive graphical operation. 

Mr Pailor concluded, "The Genos L3000e is an operator-friendly machine that simplifies cleaning, filtration and maintenance. It is a one-saddle lathe that is strong and compact, ideal for cutting a wide range of exotic materials with ease. 

"The integral spindle motor provides high machining capacity, while rigid guideways absorb powerful cutting forces. Additionally, the lathe's thermo-friendly construction automatically compensates for temperature changes on the shop floor to maintain tight tolerances."

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