Sheffield Forgemasters has installed the UK’s largest five-axis vertical turning lathe (VTL) – manufactured by Spanish company BOST – as part of a £6m upgrade to its machining facilities that will improve capacity and throughput for complex machining requirements.
Commissioning of the VTL was attended by delegates from Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, which helped to fund the VTL installation, alongside senior supply chain partners and officials from BOST and its UK supplier, McDowell Machine Tools.
David Bond, CEO, says: “The improvement to our machining facilities is of particular interest to customers in the defence industry as the VTL has superior accuracy and will significantly reduce lead times on delivery for crucial components, both for the UK and US submarine programmes. Our new VTL will also have significant implications for the machining of domed or cylindrical components, such as those required in the civil nuclear power market and pressure vessel sector.”
Weighing almost 250 tonnes, the BOST VTL required the removal of 6000 tonnes of earth and 3400 tonnes of concrete to create a foundation. The machine has a maximum machining height of 4 m, maximum swing diameter of 8.5 m, table weight capacity of 100 tonnes and embraces the Industry 4.0 strategies of process control, adaptive control and real-time interactive maintenance protocols.
Stuart McDowell, managing director at McDowell Machine Tools, says: “BOST hydrosphere machines offer the key benefits of being extremely heavy, rigid and powerful, yet are still capable of the highest levels of accuracy. This technology is a significant investment for Forgemasters and gives the company capability unrivalled in the UK and matched by only a handful of companies throughout the world.”
For further information www.sheffieldforgemasters.com