A £1.8m investment in a custom-built finish machining facility at the Walsall factory of Chamberlin & Hill Castings Ltd will see the installation of three high specification Chiron Scherer Feinbau automated mill-turn centres, helping the company become the UK’s only fully integrated supplier of grey iron bearing housings for engine turbochargers.
Supplied by the Engineering Technology Group (ETG), the modular machining centres offer a fully integrated machining solution combining a Scherer Feinbau twin-spindle VDZ100 vertical lathe operating in tandem (via a robot and conveyor system) with a Chiron DZ15W twin-spindle, twin-pallet milling centre.
A major, long-standing customer is Borg Warner, which had earlier advised Chamberlin & Hill that it was seeking an “integrated supply” in order to streamline the company’s supply chain.
“Without investing in machining capacity, the customer made it clear that it would have to review Chamberlin & Hill’s position as a supplier,” states chief executive Kevin Nolan. “In contrast, if we did make the investment, we were probably going to become the most significant supplier of turbo bearing housings in Europe.”
The Chiron cells were chosen for two reasons: firstly, Borg Warner already had around 60 Chiron machines producing similar parts, thus lowering the risk. Secondly, having cast the net far and wide, the company discovered that Chiron machines were one of very few which were both cost-effective and capable of producing the parts in the required cycle times.
Three Chiron machining cells were ordered, two of which were commissioned in February 2017, with a third scheduled to arrive in November this year. The capacity provided by these three machines has already been sold, bringing about additional revenue worth several million pounds per year.
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