Quality has been described as an on-going process of building and sustaining relationships by assessing, anticipating and fulfilling stated and or implied needs. Never has this definition been more appropriate than when applied to Aldershot based FT Gearing Systems Ltd. In addition to establishing long-term relationships with its customers, the renowned manufacturer of gear technology and high-precision components also enjoys enduring associations with a small number of carefully chosen machine tool suppliers.
Since the company’s inception in 1978, to ensure the efficiency and premium quality of its output, and to further expand its range of proficiencies, the business has pursued a policy of regularly investing in the best available manufacturing technologies. This prudent strategy has helped FT Gearing to earn an excellent international reputation and enabled it to broaden its customer base. In addition to its principle, global aerospace and defence industry customer base, FT Gearing now serves an increasing variety of businesses across several equally challenging, diverse industrial sectors.
When involved in the production of premium quality gear technology and high precision components, two of the most important technical prerequisites are, the ability to achieve demanding dimensional tolerances and to impart the required surface finish characteristics to workpieces. To ensure that FT Gearing Systems consistently delivers in each of these challenging areas, and to maintain maximum levels of efficiency, the company has developed close relationships with the Swiss Grinding Machine manufacturer Studer and the company’s UK agent, Advanced Grinding Supplies Ltd.
Over several years, FT Gearing Systems’ continuous expansion has led to regular additional investments in the Swiss machines, resulting in the company now operating 16 Studer CNC Grinders – the largest collection of Studer Grinders owned by a single UK company.
To further improve production efficiencies, the business has established five satellite production units that are co-located to its Impressive HQ. Each facility is dedicated to a separate manufacturing function. FT Gearing Systems’ most recently opened production unit specialises in high-precision grinding. The advanced, temperature controlled facility houses the company’s 16 Studer CNC Grinders.
Explaining the company’s loyalty to the Studer brand and the reasons for the new Grinding facility, FT Gearing Systems’ Managing Director Graham Fitzgerald said: “In addition to other challenging customers, we manufacture and supply both domestic and overseas defence and aerospace companies with a wide range of safety critical components, such as gears, miniature gearboxes, fuel pumps, engine controls, wing surface actuators and instrumentation.
“Given the sectors we deal with, quality is in the very DNA of FT Gearing Systems and permeates every aspect of our work. A major part of our quality philosophy is to provide our highly skilled staff with the best available machine tools and to maintain close relationships with our machine tools suppliers.
“A perfect example of our use of premium quality production aids is our use of our range of advanced Studer CNC Grinders. These technically superior machines are able to consistently deliver levels of accuracy and repeatability that conventional grinding machines are unable to achieve. For instance, through the use of Studer technology we are able to accomplish sub-micron total cylindricity results on 35mm diameter gear journals, we can also achieve 0.08um levels of surface finish and gear flatness to 3 light bands.
“To enable grinding to sub-micron dimensional tolerances we recently installed our Studer CNC machines in a new, temperature controlled grinding facility. To guarantee the highest possible levels of quality and productivity, we also use the best available grinding consumables and accessories. Therefore, as well as purchasing our Studer Grinders from Advanced Grinding Supplies, we also rely on the company for items such as Diamond Dressing Tools, Precision Centres, Abrasives / Grinding Wheels, Coolant Filter Media and Air Filtration Systems.
“Our Studer CNC Grinders provide excellent levels of precision, surface finish and reliability, they also deliver outstanding levels of production. Even though we have always been delighted with the performance of our Studer machines, mindful of the possibility of technical developments made by other manufacturers, in the past we have considered other brands. Although, each time we have been able to specify a Studer Grinder that perfectly meets our needs and that outperforms the alternatives.”
The Swiss business, Fritz Studer AG was established in 1912. Now an acknowledged leader in its chosen sector, the company manufactures premium quality grinding machines for the internal and external cylindrical grinding of small and medium sized work pieces. Studer’s core strength lies in the production of machines for the efficient grinding of single, small and medium sized production runs.
Peter Harding of Advanced Grinding Supplies concluded. “As exclusive sales agents for Studer Grinding Machines in the South of England and in South Wales, we have established a strong working relationship with FT Gearing. In cooperation with FT Gearing Systems’ Managing Director Graham Fitzgerald, I have been pleased to assist in specifying each new Studer machine so that it exactly meets FT Gearings demanding needs.
“In addition to the staff of Advanced Grinding Supplies being available to offer technical assistance to FT Gearing Systems, we also provide the business with a full range of additional equipment. These consumables, including tooling, help the company to maximise the performance its Studer Grinders.”
Kennametal Introduces HiPACS for Aerospace Fastener Hole Drilling and Countersinking in One Step
Kennametal has introduced the HiPACS drilling and countersinking system for aerospace fastener holes. Designed to drill and chamfer holes in one operation, the high-precision tool meets the aerospace industry’s stringent accuracy requirements, while delivering increased tool life in machining composite, titanium and aluminum aircraft skins.
“Most fastener hole tools used today are complex made-to-order tools with long lead-times,” says Georg Roth, Product Manager, Kennametal. “HiPACS uses standard, off-the-shelf components for quick delivery and low cost per hole, by allowing the drill and chamfer insert to be indexed independently from one another. What’s more, it’s the only indexable drilling and countersinking system on the market that can hold the aerospace industry’s required fastener hole chamfer tolerances in just one operation.”
Three simple components eliminate the need for custom tooling
Designed to be clamped in a standard hydraulic chuck, the HiPACS modular system consists of three components that are fast and easy to assemble:
-A reducer sleeve with a built-in high-precision pocket seat. In conjunction with a standard hydraulic chuck, this component provides ultra-secure clamping and a runout of no more than 3µm, significantly increasing tool life and hole quality.
-A PCD countersinking insert. This eliminates the need for expensive custom solution step drills, reducing manufacturing costs while meeting the industry’s accuracy requirements.
-The two series of solid carbide drills —both diamond-coated and PCD-tipped—covering all material combinations found in a typical aerospace assembly. In addition, the straight shanked tools allow for length adjustments in increments of 10mm.
The new HiPACS drilling and countersinking system can be utilized on all machines typically used for aerospace applications. In less stable conditions such as robot end effectors, the diamond coated carbide drills offer excellent tool life and hole quality. PCD-tipped drills, on the other hand, excel in stable conditions such as gantry machines.
With an industry standard interface, HiPACS can be utilized on any CNC machine, and is suitable for a variety of drilling and countersinking applications.
Performance, precision, sustainability – The New Platform 6
New linear motors and tried and tested hydrostatic guides in the 6S and 6L grinding machineseries open up new potential. Higher speeds, various detailed improvements and optimized ease of maintenance result in shorter cycle times, maximized quality and cost savings. The expanded modular concept for the table assemblies makes the platform 6 grinding machines fl exible and adaptable.
High-performance linear drives along the X- and Z-axes allow high travel and acceleration values alongside reduced assembly space. Hydrostatic round guides for the X-axes enable maximum dynamics, dampen vibrations and prevent sticking or slipping by producing minimum friction. The latest measuring technology (such as in-process measurements combined with the latest control technology) helps to produce good parts from the very beginning of the grinding process.
Table assemblies, such as workpiece spindles, tailstocks or steady rests, are installed on standardized universal construction boards, which can be positioned for various workpieces either automatically or manually. The modular concept stands out thanks to a highly fl exible component arrangement of table assemblies on guide rails in the working area, and allows adaptation to future grinding tasks.
The entire concept of the grinding machine revolves around easy access to all components in and on the machine plus optimized setup. Increased accessibility and serviceability reduce maintenance effort and costs. The complete cover for all guides and motors makes the grinding machine suitable for either oil or emulsion coolant.
The polymer concrete machine stand impresses with its outstanding damping performance and high torsional stiffness. The optimized machine bed rinsing makes maintenance easier, and piping for the media feed integrated into the machine stand allows for future machine upgrades. Decreased machine size also reduces overall transportation costs.
Innovations in the fi eld of cooling, pumps and pressure regulation enable the removal of cooling media harmful to the environment and health. These environmental improvements along with increased energy effi ciency reduce maintenance requirements and round off the developments on the new platform 6.
Precision production for the perfect ride
Triumph is a well-known name among motorcycle enthusiasts. The reliability and lasting value of the bikes is thanks to their high-quality production. Triumph uses the Lean Selection cam high-speed grinding machine from JUNKER to grind its camshafts.
“The models in the Modern Classics line are currently our most popular motorcycles – for example the Thruxton or Bonneville,” said Jack Sellers, Production Engineer at Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. in England. The Modern Classics line is made up of new motorcycles with current technology in a timeless design. These classic bikes make for reliable companions, both on the roads where adventure lies around every corner and on leisurely rides where the rider can enjoy the synthesis between man and machine.
What’s more, as of the 2019 season, Triumph Motorcycles are now the exclusive engine supplier to the FIM Moto2™ races, bringing their many years of experience in high-end engine building to the table.
JUNKER meets the highest quality requirements
The high-quality finish of the camshafts for the engine plays a key role. To achieve this, Triumph uses four Lean Selection cam machines from JUNKER across the Group. In addition to its headquarters in England, Triumph also has production sites in Chonburi, Thailand. The motorcycle manufacturer produces around 56,000 bikes each year at both locations and has had a positive experience with the Lean Selection cam for high-speed grinding. Jack Sellers said: “It is very important to us that the machines are reliable. The camshaft quality must always meet the high requirements that Triumph expects of its components. Thanks to the tried-and-tested Lean Selection cam we can maintain a high level of quality.” And this can also be achieved in three-shift operation, seven days a week.
He goes on to mention an example of rapid support for unusual requirements: “We grind very small concave radii on the camshafts. Due to a ﬂange positioned in the center of the workpiece, we had to come up with a solution to ensure that the spindle housing did not collide with the workpiece. JUNKER supplied an integrated turning station – a clever, custom-made solution.”
The Lean Selection cam from JUNKER is the right choice for companies that require ﬂexible production. The available grinding operations include cylindrical and non-cylindrical grinding. Cylindrical, convex, concave, polygonal or elliptical workpiece geometries can be ground – with chamfers or radii if needed. It is particularly important for the motorcycle manufacturer that cams and bearings can be ground on the same machine in a single clamping set-up.
Quick changeover for new workpieces
Triumph has stringent requirements when it comes to flexible production. Technical improvements to components mean that the grinding process needs to be constantly re-adjusted. The Lean Selection cam makes it quick and easy to produce this wide range of high-quality parts. Small series require rapid machine changeover, which is where the machine’s easy operation proves itself. “Our setup engineers who work with the Lean Selection cam can change over the workpiece and associated program,” said Jack Sellers.
He goes on to mention an example of rapid support for unusual requirements: “We grind very small concave radii on the camshafts. Due to a flange positioned in the center of the workpiece, we had to come up with a solution to ensure that the spindle housing did not collide with the workpiece. JUNKER supplied an integrated turning station – a clever, custom-made solution.”
Extremely pleased with the service
JUNKER assists with the integration of new machines. Triumph employees completed training for programmers so that the new machines would be up and running right away. Jack Sellers said: “The trainers from JUNKER were highly motivated, capable and explained everything. This meant that we had a good understanding of the machines right away.” The Production Engineer is also highly satisfied with the service in England and Thailand. “If we have any inquiries, JUNKER is quick to respond and suggest solutions. As a whole, we have had a very positive experience with JUNKER Service.”
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