Adding value to performance metals

22 Jan 2019

Engineering capacity news posted by Andy Sandford

Specialist materials supplier voestalpine High Performance Metals UK has boosted its machining capability for value added services with the addition of three new machine tools.

The company supplies specialty metals to the demanding sectors including, Oil & Gas, Aerospace, Power Generation, Automotive and Motorsport.

“Whilst our core activity here at Oldbury is the sale and distribution of high-performance metals as either cut steel, billets or blocks, we have had a limited machining capacity onsite for many years. The decision to expand our machining facility was taken just over 12 months ago, enabling us to increase the onsite services we provide to our customers,” says Stuart Brown, Value Added Services Manager, voestalpine High Performance Metals UK.

“Our ambition is to achieve a 50-50 split between material supply and the value-added services we offer, our investment in machining capacity is part of that strategy. The more we can do for customers in terms of pre-machining of material adds significant value to the products we are selling, whether that is simply blocking material to a specific size, or more intricate machining work.”

The first XYZ machine to arrive on-site was a ‘Super Heavyweight’ XYZ 2010 vertical machining centre. With a table load capacity of 3000 kg and a table size of 2200 by 1000 mm, the XYZ 2010 is ideal for processing large blocks of material for customers in the toolmaking and medical sectors. “We can load a variety of parts onto the machine table with multiple blocks accommodated at the same time, which greatly improves efficiency,” says Stuart Brown. “

With the initial large capacity milling taken care of, attention turned to smaller components and the arrival of an XYZ CT 65 (Compact Turn) turning centre. This is being used for a variety of work from machining tensile test pieces for voestalpine’s own use, to processing customer material prior to dispatch.Machining capacities are a maximum swing of 400 mm, maximum turned diameter of 220 mm and maximum turned length 260 mm with a 65 mm spindle bore, making it ideal in subcontract situations where work can change from day-to-day.

The third machine was an XYZ 1100 HD vertical machining centre from the newly created XYZ Machine Tools Heavy-Duty range, making it one of the first in the country. “We were again attracted by the table size of this machine along with its solid construction. Prior to having the XYZ machining centres most of the blocking out work was done on some old mills and special purpose machinery, these were slow and in-flexible. We are finding that with the XYZ machines we can improve metal removal rates and surface finish and, while we will initially be using the XYZ VMCs for blocking out work, their capacity and capability opens up many more opportunities for us to expand our value-added services.”     

The work that Stuart Brown has undertaken at the Oldbury Value Added Services department is being watched with interest across the Group, as he shares his experience with colleagues in other group companies across Europe. “We have seen improved lead times, quality, and efficiency with the introduction of the CNC capability from XYZ, as we look to expand our value-added services further we know that the XYZ machines are the right machines to take the group on that journey.”