Unicut Precision

August 15, 2014

Discipline: Turning
Machine Type: Fixed-head Lathes
Manufacturer/Model: Index C200 with Fanuc control
Materials: Carbon Steel
Client Type: Subcontractor
Sector: Hydraulics

Background

Hertfordshire turned parts subcontractor, Unicut Precision, won a contract from Eaton Hydraulics, potentially worth £5 million, that quadrupled the number of valve cartridge bodies to be manufactured over four years starting September 2014.

The Challenge

To win the contract, Unicut had to demonstrate to the customer that it could manufacture 66 different carbon steel parts cost effectively and deliver them in a two-week lead-time to meet Eaton’s just-in-time, critical supply-line requirement.

The Solution

Two fixed-head, twin-spindle, triple-turret INDEX C200 bar automatics were purchased to fulfil the contract, working alongside a pre-existing sliding-head lathe and another fixed-head turning machine. They operate 24/5 and at weekends, with the INDEX machines producing mid-range hydraulic valve bodies that are required in the largest volumes. In all, around 400,000 components will be produced from 28 mm up to 64 mm bar.

Outcome

Cycle times are 35 per cent quicker on the INDEX lathes than on other fixed-head turning machines used by Unicut to machine the same parts, significantly lowering production costs. Moreover, the shorter cycles are solely a result of faster axis movements reducing idle times – feeds, speeds and tooling have been kept the same, as they were already optimised for the job.

“The INDEX lathes wipe the floor with cycle times. The 35 per cent saving is down to their ability to minimise the amount of time needed to travel from one cut to the next. Chip-to-chip times between successive operations in a program are around half those on other fixed-head lathes and the C200s are even faster than sliders.”

Jason Nicholson, Managing Director, Unicut Precision.

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