Patience pays off for Standfast

03 Jan 2019

Engineering capacity news posted by Andy Sandford

Aptly-named subcontractor Standfast Precision decided to hold its ground when the oil and gas market fell away and resisted to temptation to downsize. When work started to return it was well placed to take advantage of increasing demand and has now updated its turning capacity with the latest TC400 models from XYZ.

Standfast Precision Engineering Director Malcolm Fraser said: “Most of our work is in the oil & gas sector, mainly providing parts for instrumentation and logging systems. When we bought the business in 2000 we started without any work whatsoever, then one customer appeared with a wad of drawings and told us to ‘crack on’. Which we did, and we have not looked back since. That customer has stayed loyal to us throughout and it was relationships like this that gave us the confidence to work through the latest downturn. This is the third oil and gas sector slump we have experienced, meaning we knew that things pick up eventually, so it was a case of take it as it comes while maintaining the skills that we had.”

Prior to the cooling off of the market Standfast had looked at further machine investment, but delayed that until this year, replacing its existing two XYZ TC 250 turning centres with the latest TC 400 models. “Working with materials such as Super Duplex and Inconel we needed a substantial machine and while the TC 250 machines coped well, the TC 400 has improved things considerably. The machines may look similar but the construction of the TC 400 is more substantial and their added rigidity means it can handle bigger cuts in these materials, while holding tolerances for longer, our tooling consumption has also reduced.”

Behind this performance is the XYZ TC 400 turning centre’s solid-ribbed Meehanite cast base, with hardened and ground Turcite coated box slideways combined with a 43 hp (32 kW) spindle motor with up to 3300 revs/min available, and a spindle bore of 91 mm giving a bar capacity of 78 mm. The maximum swing and turned length are both 600 mm and with a maximum turned diameter capability of 400 mm, the TC 400 can handle a wide range of workpieces.

“We work on some tight deadlines with extremely short lead-times and having a second machine was important to have capacity available at short notice. Therefore, when it came time to upgrade to the XYZ TC 400 machines it made perfect sense to bring two in at the same time, with XYZ taking the old machines away in part exchange.