Okamoto CNC grinder makes an impact at CoorsTek
The Okamoto 818 CNC situated in the surface grinding cell at CoorsTek in Crewe
Following 12 months of trouble-free operation at the Crewe manufacturing facility of CoorsTek, a leading global manufacturer of engineered ceramics, an Okamoto 818 CNC surface and profile grinder has been rapidly integrated as a core part of the company’s specialist surface grinding operations.
The machine was one of the first to be supplied by Jones & Shipman Hardinge, Okamoto’s sole distributor in the UK. As a long-standing Okamoto and Jones & Shipman user, CoorsTek considered another CNC purchase from the company.
CoorsTek’s Crewe manufacturing plant produces high precision and complex components such as extreme duty seals for use in sectors like oil and gas, chemical and energy. Various high-quality material properties allow ceramic components to endure the harsh and corrosive environments experienced by producers in these industries, but they also present challenges when machining.
Needing an updated, flexible and reliable surface and profile grinding machine as a replacement for an older unit, CoorsTek engineers had trust in the Okamoto brand with four machines already in operation at the facility.
“In the surface grinding cell, we are precision grinding ceramics typically to tolerances of ±10 micron on form radii with down to 5 microns on flat surfaces. It is a complex process with slow feeds and speeds and can take its toll on machines and wheels alike,” explains Tristan Weller, production manager at CoorsTek, Crewe. “Inherently it is a time-consuming task so sustained machine integrity and stability are all important.”
Sitting on a very compact footprint, the Okamoto 818 CNC features a 450 mm x 200 mm table area with the machine based on a compact moving saddle design. The ISO type programming menu is delivered through a Fanuc CNC control with other key features being automatic lubrication to guides and slideways to optimise reliability and prolong maintenance free operation. All the core machine castings exhibit high static and dynamic stiffness and are fully damped. Scraped V slideways with low friction turcite coatings are standard.
Crewe plant manager Harry Hodgson and production manager Tristan Weller comment: “The Jones & Shipman overall commitment to quality and exceptional after sales technical support convinced us to invest in Jones & Shipman supplied equipment.”
Hardinge, Inc. is the trusted global provider of high precision, computer-controlled machine tool solutions for critical, hard-to-machine metal parts and advanced workholding accessories. With over 125 years of experience, Hardinge offers the largest variety of metal-cutting turning machines, grinding machines, machining centres, collets, chucks, index fixtures, repair parts, standard and specialty workholding devices, and other machine tool accessories. Hardinge’s solutions can be found in a broad base of industries including aerospace, agricultural, automotive, construction, consumer products, defence, energy, medical, technology, and transportation. Headquartered in Berwyn, PA, the company designs, manufactures, and distributes machine tools in over 65 countries across North America, Europe, and Asia.
New base, new direction for UK Jones & Shipman Hardinge operations
Jones & Shipman Hardinge UK managing director Mike Duignan (right) outside the company’s new UK headquarters in Clifton Dunsmore, Rugby, accompanied by Alan Fisher, regional customer service manager, Hardinge Europe
Following the acquisition of its parent Hardinge Inc. by Privet Fund Management LLC during the summer of 2018, a restructuring of the group is being implemented which has resulted in a number of changes at the headquarters of its UK Jones & Shipman Hardinge operations.
The company has relocated from its long-established Leicester headquarters and factory to a new administration, distribution and demonstration facility on the Europark at Clifton Dunsmore, just outside Rugby.
Its sister grinding companies in the group: Kellenberger, Hauser, Voumard, Tschudin and Usach, now include the Hardinge identity and are represented under the new Hardinge global umbrella website as distinct brands.
“It’s a means of clarifying what’s on offer from the significant resource we have within Hardinge Inc.,” explains UK managing director Mike Duignan. “For example, Hauser Hardinge is recognised as the leader in jig grinding, so the Hauser name will become associated with that process, whereas Kellenberger Hardinge will be the ‘go to’ for general purpose universal and cylindrical machines and so on for all the different group brands.”
In another development, the UK company will in future be responsible for machine sales and product support across Ireland and similarly for sales of the acclaimed Hardinge Super Precision machines with their capability for sustained high tolerance machining as either a single machine or within a multi-cell environment.
There will be no change to the relationship with the UK company and the acclaimed Okamoto brand, which Jones & Shipman Hardinge represents and supports exclusively in the UK and France.
“This has proven to be a very worthwhile partnership,” adds Mike Duignan. “Okamoto machines cover a wide spectrum, but we have developed the market for their surface grinding machines and have installed a number of machines in UK manufacturers. Customers have been impressed with the quality and robust build standards of the machines and they complement the capability we offer from within the group.”
In a move that will ensure continuity, all key aftersales, applications, sales and support staff made the move from Leicester to the new facility where plans are well advanced for a new demonstration area.
An applications engineering facility has also been established, supported by an in-house workshop. Larger and bespoke projects will be supported by Hardinge grinding experts from across the European operations.
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