Turning centre addresses skills gap

Hartlepool-based JJ Hardy is investing in a new Mazak QTE-200 SG turning centre as a way of plugging the skills gap for CNC machinists in the northeast. The new machine will help the company to introduce an unmanned shift and keep pace with growing demand.

Managing director Andrew Pailor says: “Our plan is to get more out of what we have. We’ll use technology, including new machine tools and, in time, additional automation, to increase our capacity with one manned shift and one unmanned shift each day. The new QTE machine is an affordable solution that will be equipped with a Hydrafeed barfeed, a parts racking system for finished components and an automatic tool eye for inspection. Most importantly, we’ll also have the ability to monitor work online while it runs unmanned.”

With an eight-strong machine shop, JJ Hardy concentrates on automotive and energy work, as well as the rail sector, for which its manufactures components such as bogie parts, hangar bolts, shackles, suspension links and impellers.

Says Pailor: “We have an older Mazak turning centre that has been a good solution for us and has outperformed some of our more expensive competitor machines. However, it doesn’t have some of the equipment we need to get it running unmanned.

“The new QTE is equipped with Mazak’s latest Mazatrol innovation, SmoothEz, a touchscreen CNC,” he adds. “It’s now so easy to program that we can put CNC operators with much less experience on the machine. They can be running it, unsupervised, very quickly.”

Described as a simple and compact machine design, the QTE is equipped with a high torque spindle and 12-position drum turret, along with capacity for 12 different tools.

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