Bromford reaches for the sky with MSC
As part of the Bromford Group, Bromford Industries Ltd in Leicester is a Tier 1 manufacturer that specialises in the Industrial Gas Turbines (IGT), power generation and aerospace sectors. As a Tier 1 supplier to the world’s most demanding industry sectors and OEMs, the Bromford Group has to balance the delicacies of continuous improvement, innovation and of course, the scrutiny of year-on-year ‘cost-down’ pressure. That is why the prestigious company has a long-term contract in place with MSC Industrial Supply Co., a leading, national distributor of metalworking and maintenance, repair and operations supplies known for providing high levels of service and engineering expertise.
As part of the long-term consumable supply contract with MSC, the experts in cutting tools focused on a goal to achieve a minimum turnover percentage of year-on-year ‘cost down’ improvements. MSC has an extensive product range that is often a necessity for making significant factory-wide ‘cost down’ gains at OEM and Tier 1 businesses as they consolidate their extensive and poor service supply chain. With its access to thousands of brands and hundreds of thousands of product lines that are all supported by technical experts, MSC has continually driven impressive ‘cost down’ results and productivity improvements for each of the four Bromford Group sites in the UK.
With integrated vending stations, continuity of cutting tool supply is guaranteed; but MSC never rests, its service to its customers goes beyond just supplying a product. It is always striving to innovate and improve performance at Bromford. Sometimes, this commitment is pushed beyond the bounds of convention with the Bromford Group competing on the global stage for new projects, as global aerospace primes push capacity and innovation from one continent to another.
MSC steps up to the challenge
To manufacture the initial batch of four Inconel 718 aerospace engine components for one of these prestigious customers, MSC applied its technical expertise, drawing from the industries largest team of application engineers, to ensure the complex components could be manufactured to specifications, and on time. With cutting tool datasheets from the US being obsolete due to the tools being unavailable, the MSC experts started from scratch and identified 14 different cutting tools from a variety of suppliers to undertake the three operations and meet the specified deadlines. Machining the four components on a Doosan Puma 12L turning centre, the MSC solution succeeded in meeting the Bromford deadline for the initial tests.
Continuous improvement strategy
With the initial batch complete and the competency to machine the parts proved, MSC application engineer Rob Smith knew better results could be achieved. With the second batch of eight parts pending, the MSC technical expert re-visited the engine components, the cutting tools and respective machining strategies. The recommendation was a switch to ceramic cutting tools for the rough turning and grooving operations.
Rob Smith says: “At the start of 2020, MSC formed a relationship with world-leading Japanese ceramic tooling brand NTK and we knew the different physical properties of ceramic tooling would yield impressive results on heat resistant aerospace grade alloys. By nature, ceramic tooling is more brittle and susceptible to breakages if not managed with the correct machining strategy but, on the other hand, it can machine at speeds and feeds 10 to 15 times higher than carbide tooling. We collaborated with Simon Huxtable from NTK and the proposed strategy was to first remove the CNMG and SNMG carbide inserts and replace them with a round RNGN insert from NTK’s SX9 portfolio. The SiAlON grade that combines silicon nitride ceramic and alumina ceramic is claimed to be perfect for machining heat-resistant alloys at parameters way beyond carbide, so we put it to the test.”
“We chose to partner with MSC six years ago and ever since they’ve been an extension to our business. Because continuous improvement is important to us, we are always looking to make our processes better. With MSC, we know their engineers have the knowledge and expertise to help us achieve our goals. Having witnessed on-site trials in which cost-savings are documented and seeing how they utilise their extensive network of suppliers, assures me that MSC will always recommend the most efficient processes and tooling. This project is one of the many ways MSC has worked with us to seek innovative opportunities for improvement; they are a supply partner who wants us to succeed as much as we do,” says Andrew Moore, engineering and product quality manager at Bromford Industries Limited
After Increasing the surface speed from 43 m/min to 250 m/min with a feed rate increase from 18 m/min to 106 m/min, the results soon followed. Rough turning the face and diameter of the 150 mm diameter workpiece, the NTK SX9 RNGN insert not only replaced two previous carbide tools and eliminated the respective tool changeover, but it also slashed cycle times from 180 minutes to 27 minutes for the roughing operation. While the previous carbide tooling method delivered a significant improvement on the original parameters from the overseas plant, the application of NTK’s SX9 ceramic inserts made a huge step forward from the method initially instigated by MSC.
As Rob Smith continues: “At MSC, we conduct extensive benchmarking analysis and we have calculated that Bromford would require 312 SX9 inserts to complete a run of 312 parts compared to a requirement of 470 CNMG carbide inserts and an additional 78 SNMG inserts. The NTK insert is achieving a tool life at least 2.5 times better than the previous carbide grade whilst accelerating cycle times to levels never before seen at Bromford.”
As the MSC national account manager for the Bromford Group, Lewis Evans says: “Our engineers have demonstrated both our extensive portfolio of available solutions with the recent inclusion of NTK, but also the technical expertise to integrate relatively new brands into MSC accounts where they will make significant impacts.”
“We have completed the initial batches of 4, then 8 and now 41. On the batch of 41 parts, we have created a significant 5-figure financial saving for Bromford and this has arrived by reducing annual tooling costs by 67 percent, machining costs by 85 percent and tool changeover costs by 34 percent. Whilst these statistics are hugely impressive, one of the most stand-out points is that we have reduced machine hours for this single part by 85 percent from 1060 hours to just 158 hours. This gives the customer additional machine capacity for undertaking other projects.’’
Advanced Engineering leads the industry charge into 2021
The UK’s largest annual gathering of engineering professionals, Advanced Engineering, will return to the NEC, Birmingham on November 4 and 5, 2020. Here, the UK’s talented and vast engineering industry can come together again to begin generating business for the new year.
Bringing together thousands of attendees, Advanced Engineering incorporates all aspects of engineering from design, test and measurement, to inspection, materials and production, within the aerospace, automotive, marine, medical and many more industry sectors.
In 2019, over 15,000 professionals from the manufacturing sector attended Advanced Engineering. 70 percent of visitors reported that they planned to place orders resulting from the relationships formed and an impressive 93 percent of exhibitors reported that they achieved their objectives at the show.
Advanced Engineering offers a great opportunity to meet suppliers, partners and generate business leads for the first time in several months. It is clear that the engineering industry is keen to showcase its innovations before the year ends, with new exhibitors still registering at an impressive pace.
“With the current situation restricting how companies do business, we’re looking forward to maximising our time at Advanced Engineering as our chance to set ourselves up for a successful 2021,” comments Jonathan Archer, general manager Renishaw UK Sales Ltd.
The show offers a diverse range of exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their expertise to a primed audience of motivated and ready-to-buy attendees, interested in sourcing products and solutions. It is more important than ever to hit the ground running in 2021. Advanced Engineering’s exhibitors will have the opportunity to pre-load their business pipelines right from the start of the year. However, it’s not just during the show that exhibitors have the chance to increase their brand awareness.
Every exhibitor package includes access to Advanced Engineering’s extensive marketing tools to increase exposure pre, during and post event. Especially now, it is important for exhibitors to feel confident that they can reach their target audience in the lead up to the show. For this reason, Advanced Engineering exhibitors will have access to additional marketing tools, free of charge, from the moment they register, to the day of the show and beyond. This ranges from personalised postcard invites for exhibitors to send to clients or to attach to invoices or other printed communications, to personalised banners and unique links to track who has registered to visit a specific stand at the show.
Free marketing support encompasses mentions on social media and promotion in show guides. Exhibitors also have the opportunity to submit their own press releases ahead of the show, which are then made available to all key media partners.
On top of this, exhibitors get free access to AE Connect, the matchmaking service that allows you to arrange onsite meetings with potential customers. Last year, £320,000 of deals were secured through the platform.
“To fully maximise the success of every exhibiting investment, Advanced Engineering works closely with its exhibitors to ensure that their ideal visitors attend the show,” explains Jeremy Whittingham, head of Community and Content at Advanced Engineering. “Exhibitors will have access to Advanced Engineering’s expert telemarketing team, who can contact up to 100 of every exhibitors’ top clients by phone, inviting them to the show on their behalf.”
In these unprecedented times, it’s important for the engineering industry to look to the future and continue to market themselves to ensure success following the COVID-19 crisis. Whether you’ve exhibited at Advanced Engineering before, or if you think the show could be the perfect place for you to forge new relationships and build on existing ones, get in touch with our team to discuss our exhibition options.
Trelleborg supplies Boeing with component for 3D-printed face shields
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, an established provider of solutions to Boeing’s aircraft, is supplying a face shield component to the aerospace manufacturer as it joins the urgent effort to assist medical workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Boeing approached Trelleborg at the end of March 2020 to manufacture and supply an elastomer strap needed for the adjustable headband of 3D printed face shields. The Trelleborg Sealing Solutions dedicated aerospace facility in Northborough, Massachusetts, supported a 48-hour turnaround of prototypes using methodologies including 3D printing. The following week, the site was able to ramp up production to 5000 straps per week.
Quinn Collett, air frame manager, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions Aerospace, says: “In these unprecedented times, it’s imperative everyone plays a role that might not be in line with the one they are used to. We were fortunate to receive the call from Boeing to support this effort and leverage Trelleborg’s expertise to quickly address the need.”
Boeing plans to produce face shields using its additive manufacturing machines at various sites across the US. Boeing is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on this effort. FEMA will determine where the face shields are most needed.
The elastomer straps provided are manufactured from aerospace grade silicone. After a few fit trials, Boeing and Trelleborg were able to lock in the final released design.
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions is one of the world’s leading developers, manufacturers and suppliers of precision seals, bearings and custom-molded polymer components. It focuses on meeting the most demanding needs of aerospace, automotive and general industrial customers, including those from the pharmaceutical industry, with innovative solutions. Its network extends to over 25 production facilities and more than 50 marketing companies globally. The business area accelerates the progress of its customers through outstanding local support, an unrivalled product range including patented products and proprietary materials, a portfolio of established brands, unique process offerings, its ServicePLUS value chain solution and ‘Ease of Doing Business’ philosophy.
Trelleborg is a world leader in engineered polymer solutions that seal, damp and protect critical applications in demanding environments. Its innovative solutions accelerate performance for customers in a sustainable way. The Trelleborg Group has annual sales of about SEK 37 billion (EUR 3.46 billion, USD 3.87 billion) and operations in about 50 countries. The Group comprises three business areas: Trelleborg Industrial Solutions; Trelleborg Sealing Solutions; Trelleborg Wheel Systems, as well as a reporting segment Business Under Development.
Export boom lands Queen’s Award for Arrowsmith Engineering
Left to right: Jason Aldridge and Steve Jackson, CNC programmer at Arrowsmith Engineering
A Coventry-based aerospace supplier that has pivoted to supply critical parts for ventilators is celebrating after it received the Queen’s Award for International Trade.
Arrowsmith Engineering, which employs 76 people at its Bayton Road factory, secured the prestigious accolade after it recorded a 996 percent increase in export activity over the last three years, supplying precision components to global manufacturers including Rolls-Royce, GKN, ITP and Siemens.
The company’s parts are used in aerospace engines, landing gears and air frames, with recent wins seeing sales rise to £7.6 million and investment in the latest CNC robotics paving the way for 10 percent growth in 2020.
Bosses at the firm believe the Queen’s Award will play an important role in further expansion in Brazil, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States.
“This is the highest honour a company can achieve and is a fitting tribute to the strides we have made to become a global aerospace supplier,” explains managing director Jason Aldridge.
“To be able to display the Queen’s Award logo on our letterhead, in marketing material and across all of our communication channels will be a massive boost to our business and will definitely generate new opportunities in overseas markets.
“Importantly, the award is a massive thank you to our staff, who continue to go above and beyond in meeting the exacting standards of the aerospace sector, and in recent weeks, the NHS ventilator push.”
Arrowsmith Engineering, which is part of the Aero Services Global Group, has been lending its manufacturing expertise to support the frontline fight against COVID-19 after being invited by Rolls-Royce Control Systems and Rolls-Royce in Derby to join their ventilator supply chains.
Despite having 25 percent of shop floor staff self-isolating, the company responded immediately to the nationwide effort by creating a dedicated team to produce prototype and production parts for the Smiths ventilator assembly line.
In total, more than 60,000 ventilator components have been delivered and a further order has now been placed to manufacture prototype parts for a new type of ventilator currently undergoing testing.
“Our team are working two, 12-hour shifts every day and night to deliver the volumes expected, with all of the initial parts now supplied and being assembled,” continues Jason Aldridge, who is also chairman of the Coventry & Warwickshire Aerospace Forum (CWAF).
“This has been a phenomenal effort by everyone involved and we have successfully been able to transfer our precision aerospace engineering knowledge to create the necessary tooling and tolerances required for life-saving parts.
“All of this has been carried out with the Government’s social distancing measures in place, hence splitting the shifts in two and ensuring that 85 percent of office staff are set up to work from home. Our staff are fantastic and we have to protect them as well as supporting the NHS.”
Arrowsmith Engineering is a specialist in precision turning, milling, thread rolling and grinding, providing components to aerospace tier 1s and primes in titanium, nimonics, stainless steel, exotic metal and engineering plastics.
The company has also recently been awarded the ADS SC21 Silver Award for delivering world class manufacturing performance, with ‘On Time in Full’ at 98.5 percent and quality running at 99.95 percent for the past twelve months.
Best-in-class 5-axis machining
Photo courtesy of Schunk GmbH
Walter GB and Schunk Intec combine to provide aerospace specialist with innovative wing rib machining solution
Tooling expert Walter GB joined forces with workholding specialist Schunk Intec to host a customer innovation day to showcase best-in-class 5-axis aerospace machining at the Knowledge Transfer Centre in Sheffield.
A packed audience of aerospace production specialists not only learnt about how the companies’ new tooling and workholding innovations could bring substantial benefits to the machining of aluminium wing ribs, but they could also see the results for themselves in the adjacent AMRC with Boeing Centre where a demonstration part was machined on a Starrag Ecospeed machining centre. (The Ecospeed is one of eight Starrag machines in-situ at the AMRC and the accompanying Nuclear AMRC.)
Jim Dale, Walter’s component manager, Business & Application Development, outlined the distortion and machining challenges presented when producing one-hit finishes and tight corners, for example, on such aluminium workpieces with wall thicknesses that may be only 1.5 mm thick and corners with 6 mm radii.
“Developing and supplying ‘pre-set’ tooling packages to suit many different machining platforms and processes is one of the strengths of Walter’s Engineering Kompetenz strategy,” he says. “In terms of our aerospace customers, it is successfully being applied globally to titanium and aluminium structures, as well as to engines and landing gear programmes.”
The sample wing rib, measuring 1,500 mm long, 280 mm wide and 80 mm high, with pockets up to 50 mm deep, was jointly designed by Walter and Schunk Intec to specifically show the ability of the companies’ tooling strategies and workholding technology in overcoming these difficulties in a controlled manner.
Jim Dale continues: “In addition to applying a number of new Walter milling cutters, including an innovative three-flute cutter and inserts with a newly-developed coating for extended tool life, together with Schunk Intec’s Vero-S Aviation system, we have arrived at the ideal solution.”
The Vero-S (a) pneumatic system enables all component stresses to be relieved between machining operations by simply releasing then re-clamping the workpiece in-situ without the need for separate setups. “Importantly, we wanted to achieve similar cycle times as if we were using a ‘fixed’ clamping system,” adds Jim Dale.
As a result, Walter has arrived at a ‘toolbox’ specifically to suit the Ecospeed and the workpiece in question, with pre-set feeds and speeds for the tooling to match the machine’s impressive 120 kW/30,000 revs/min spindle and the capabilities of its Sprint Z3 machining head.
“Developing and supplying ‘pre-set’ tooling packages to suit specific machining platforms and processes is one of the strengths of Walter’s Engineering Kompetenz strategy,” explains Jim Dale. “In terms of our aerospace customers, it is successfully being applied globally to titanium and aluminium structures, as well as to engines and landing gear programmes.”
Walter GB’s business development manager, Neil McKinnell says: “The event was a great success, taking into account we were addressing a niche part of the aerospace manufacturing industry.
“There is significant movement in the aerostructure machining sector, with regard to establishing best practice in line with projects aimed at next generation aircraft and we were able to show that we are fully aligned with these OEM and Tier One initiatives.
“We have received very positive feedback and significant interest in the machining strategies and tooling that were demonstrated.”
Likewise, Schunk Intec’s general manager, Marcel Machado, also comments favourably: “We couldn’t be happier. The event was a great opportunity to show a complex technology performing live. Attended by a highly technical group representing all the main names in the aerospace industry, the event was a true reflection of the work being performed at the AMRC.”
The demonstration wing rib in place on a Starrag Ecospeed, showing Walter tooling and the Schunk Vero-S Aviation system
Walter GB Ltd SCHUNK Intec Ltd
Tel: 01527 839450 Tel: 01908 611127
SIC Marking continues to grow internationally
SIC Marking has announced the acquisition of Italian company ZANIBONI s.r.l, an expert in tailor-made laser marking and traceability solutions. The new name for the company will now be SIC ZANIBONI.
Established in 1977, ZANIBONI is located near Turin. The company specialises in design, manufacture and sales of customised marking and laser traceability solutions for the automotive and mechanical sectors. As early as 1994, Zaniboni began introducing laser technology into its marking and traceability solutions, becoming a pioneer in the integration of this technology. In over 40 years, Zaniboni has succeeded not only in establishing itself as a reference in Italy and Internationally but also in establishing strategic partnerships with international groups such as SKF, for which it has delivered several hundred solutions around the world.
“We are very satisfied with this new acquisition in Italy”, says Jean-Manuel Pauchet, general manager at SIC Marking. “It will allow us to strengthen our position not only in Italy, where we will now have around thirty people, but also in several key accounts and internationally. I must say that we were very impressed by the Zaniboni team’s know-how. They are true experts in the design and manufacture of tailor-made marking and laser traceability solutions. We are now looking forward to starting our collaboration to be able to propose new offers and services to our Italian customers and then to the world.”
Francesco Zaniboni, CEO of SIC Zaniboni, states: “In order to ensure our future growth, it was essential for us to join an international group specialised in marking and industrial traceability and that was complementary in terms of offer. The choice of SIC Marking seemed obvious to us. What attracted us was their capacity for innovation, their customer-centric culture, the wide services portfolio, and finally their international footprint. The fact that SIC Marking has gone for growth for several years has also been a factor of decision because it is not the result of chance and is obviously due to talented people.”
SIC Marking is an expert in marking and traceability for the automotive, aerospace, mechanical and energy sectors. The company has more than 300 employees worldwide with a turnover of € 55m. It operates in more than 50 countries and has nine subsidiaries. Its offering consists of standard and customised solutions in laser, dot-peen and scribing technologies as well as various associated services (customer support, spareparts, training, retrofit, maintenance contracts). SIC Marking has a customer-oriented culture and promotes operational excellence to enhance the customer experience.