The catastrophic failure of a five-axis machining centre, coupled with a requirement to continue supplying 12 aircraft seat-tray table assemblies per day that it was producing, is a nightmare scenario for any subcontractor. However, this situation was exactly that being faced by Dorset-based FGP Systems.
A solution was quickly found, however, namely the acquisition of a new Hermle C400 machining centre, which was supplied by sole UK agent Geo Kingsbury in a lead-time of just two weeks. After commissioning and training, the five-axis, vertical-spindle machine was producing parts within three weeks from time of order. Three months later, the supplier moved it to a new, permanent location in the company’s Weymouth facility over a period of just four days prior to Christmas.
Simon Griffiths-Hughes, director of engineering at FGP, says: “No other potential source of a quality five-axis machining centre could react so quickly. Around 14 to 16 weeks is a normal lead-time from a factory if a machine is built to order, but Geo Kingsbury had the Hermle C 400 in stock. As luck would have it, the machine was perfectly specified for our requirements with spindle nose probing, laser tool setting, HSK 63 tools, an extended 87-station magazine and an 18,000 rpm spindle for aluminium machining.
“Before we placed the order we spoke with several UK users of Hermle equipment, from blue chip firms to small subcontractors, and all endorsed the brand,” he adds.
FGP says that the C 400 has excelled, especially in respect of the surface finish being achieved on machined components. Many hours of manual polishing were previously needed to remove cutter marks. Now, components go straight from the Hermle to anodising without any further work.
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