Investing in Manufacturing
Hydro Components Ltd recently invested £9.6 Million in the refurbishment and re-opening of their manufacturing plant based in Bedwas – Wales. Adding 3 Mecal Kosmos 4-Axis Machining Centres and x1 Mecal Geos MDT 5-Axis Machining Centre, the first of its kind within the UK, along with restructuring of the entire plant. Fuelling this decision was an extensive contract for the supply of aluminium body components intended for manufacturers of zero-emissions vehicles aiming to tackle pollution levels on the streets of the UK.
Bringing production back
“At first, Hydro needed to outsource the CNC machining element as issues with their previously bought machinery meant they lacked the functionality to produce the parts themselves” recalls Mike Grogan, Addison Regional Sales Manager. “Hydro began to use a local subcontracting company operating 3 MECAL KOSMOS machining centres which were ideal for producing the required parts; However, it soon became apparent that bringing the operation back in-house would be more beneficial in terms of turn-around time, overall cost and allow for greater control over the manufacturing process.
After the successful installation of the Kosmos machines, Hydro’s production manager at the Bedwas plant was interested in setting up a single step automated production line, eliminating the need for their additional saws. And after in-depth discussions, Hydro placed an order for the new 5 Axis MC 302 GEOS MDT 8.6m CNC machining centre.
Addison Saws then flew key members of the Hydro production team out to MECAL’s factory in Italy to view the machine in action. Along with seeing the factory, the Management team were reassured knowing that the MECAL software could handle the bespoke programmes required for complex parts.
Valued technical support and guidance
Leading CNC engineer Ian Freeman from Addison Saws has been instrumental in the installation of all the Mecal machinery, which is now working to near-full capacity producing the 70 separate profiles required for one of Hydro’s current contracts.
Hydro’s Production Manager commented “Addison has been a great help all around, from selecting the right machinery to assisting in the program writing and ensuring we get the very best out of all our machines. They even supplied an engineer to assist us with machining centres bought elsewhere. We are very pleased with our choice; it’s enabled us to tender and win several similar upcoming contracts with major names in the automotive industry”.
Since installation, engineers from Hydro have flown out to Italy to receive one-on-one training from MECAL and this forms part of their strategy to ensure that the machines work to their full potential and that they have capable engineers in place who have in-depth knowledge and a full understanding of how they operate.
Looking to the future
In excess of 130 jobs will be created over the next five years at the recently re-opened Bedwas plant and their investment is backed by Welsh Government, who were keen to invigorate the area with the prospect of new jobs and increased industrial development.
Mecal MC 305 Kosmos TM-DPM Machining Centre
The Mecal MC 305 Kosmos machining centre is equipped to automatically machine, drill, mill, slot and prep both aluminium and steel extrusion bars. Providing immense flexibility, it is also well suited to new product development, while its high levels of accuracy and repeatability ensure minimal waste.
- TF version with manual clamps and laser pointer | DPM version with automatic clamps positioned by head | MMI version with automatic motorised vices
- A-Axis profile rotation +125◦ to - 125◦ to work 3 sides
- Full CAM-3D software and integration with external software
- Centralised 8 tool magazine
- Opens ends to allow machining up to 8000mm
- Encoded rotation to work intermediate angles
Mecal MC 302 Geos-5 MDT Machining Centre
For high-speed machining of Aluminium, Steel, Brass, Copper and PVC materials. The 5-Axis Geos can be used for machining slots, pockets, holes and custom shapes as well as end slotting, tapping, rigid tapping, drilling and flow drilling. The addition of a 400mm sawblade enables the user to cut pieces to length before machining.
- Compound machining angles using both A & C axis. A-axis 250° rotation for working on 3 sides & C axis 440° rotation for working profile ends
- Latest HSD liquid-cooled 12KW encoded spindle for rigid tapping applications
- Saw blade up to 400mm
- Optional angle drive unit to machine profile sides
- Pendular loading for seamless production
- Zero stops at each end to work multiple profiles
- Automatic tool magazine with 18 positions