(Ward CNC) is enabling Glasgow-based precision machinist Well Machined to buck the depressed trend in the global oil and gas sector and boost its order book by being able to take on larger components.
With the Blockbuster Pro 3150 double column vertical machining centre offering an X axis capacity of 3m plus and the Hyundai-Wia L400LC slant bed lathe providing maximum turning lengths and diameters of up to more than 2m and 640mm respectively, the new machines have played a key role in enabling Well Machined to attract work on large (long) gauge carriers for downhole tooling applications.
Indeed, according to the company's sales director Paul Rafferty, the investment in the machines was really a case of: “Build it and they will come”, he says, “because the machines immediately attracted additional, larger capacity work from our existing customer base.”
He adds: “There's no doubt that the global oil and gas market is suffering and certainly without these machines we would be finding it a much tougher business environment.”
Mr Rafferty's considerable expertise in supplying high precision workpieces to oil and gas customers prompted the desire to invest with Ward CNC coupled with the fact that the time was also right to replace a couple of older, unreliable machines. A number of different machine brands were considered and contact was made with Ward CNC – a company that Mr Rafferty has successfully dealt with in the past as part of his role at another company.
“In addition to being considered fit for purpose and excellent value for money, what really sealed the order for Ward CNC was the fact that both machines were immediately available from stock,” he says.
“I could see that the oil and gas component machining market was going to be squeezed and I knew that if we didn't move quickly we would miss out. In addition, of course, my experience with machines from Ward CNC and the company's excellent levels of service and back-up, were also major considerations.”
Able to accommodate workpieces weighing 6,000kg on its 3,150mm by 1,450mm table, the 40 tool Hartford Blockbuster PRO-3150 has X-, Y- and Z-axis travels of 3,060mm by 1,560mm by 780mm (rapid traverse rates are 12m/min on all axes) and up to 940mm between spindle nose and table. It has a 26kW main motor that produces 6,000rpm at the ISO-50 spindle, and its hardened and ground box guideways are another feature that promotes reliable heavy-duty cutting.
With a bar capacity of 117mm diameter, the Hyundai-Wia L400 LC 2-axis CNC lathe offers a swing over the bed of 725mm and spindle speeds up to 2,000rpm from the 37/30kW main motor. With up to 12 tool stations in a BMT 75 toolpost-type turret, plus box guideways and two-step gearbox, this machine is also ideally suited to heavy-duty action. The duo has been put to work successfully processing gauge carriers which are used for measuring downhole temperature and pressure. Made from a various materials including super duplex and Inconel, the carriers can measure more than 3m long and up to 250mm outside diameter.
These represent just one part of the company's oil and gas component workload that also involves, for example, downhole tooling assemblies, gauge and gas lift mandrels, pup joints and penetrator bonnets as well as orientation and helix sleeves.
Mr Rafferty concludes: “The Well Machined management team has more than 60 years' combined expertise in machining products for the oil and gas sector and our philosophy is ‘intelligent machining with precise results'. With these two new machines we have undoubtedly already further enhanced our reputation in this field.”