Dugard is Key to Success for Subcontractor


As a general subcontract manufacturer, Cannock based Key Precision Ltd attended the Southern Manufacturing Exhibition earlier this year to investigate new technology to help drive the business forward. The company found the Dugard stand and the Hanwha range of sliding head-turning centres, and an order soon followed.

The subcontract manufacturing company showed a particular interest in the Dugard Hanwha XD38II sliding head turning centre – a robust and sturdy sliding head machine with a bar capacity that is particularly large for the machine footprint. When asked why the company purchased the machine, Greg Jackson from Key Precision says: “We were looking to expand our turning capacity by purchasing something with the flexibility of a sliding head machine but the capability of a fixed head machine as well. We saw the Hanwha machine at the Southern Manufacturing exhibition, and we were impressed, so we went for it.”

Discussing what attracted Key Precision to the Dugard Hanwha machine at the Southern Manufacturing exhibition, Greg says: “It was the relatively small footprint for the size of machine that attracted us, and also the size of the bar that we can machine. The machine is made from a very solid casting and a lot of the design has been well thought out. The swarf conveyor has been integrated by the manufacturer, so there are no oil or swarf traps in the machine and there are no leaks. As a company that is limited for space, this is a great compact machine.”

Looking at the type of parts the company is manufacturing on its new Dugard Hanwha XD38II sliding head turning centre, Greg continues: “At the moment we are doing parts at 35mm+ diameter, but we are a typical subcontractor, so we make parts for cars, planes, trains and at the moment we are doing quite a lot of work the agricultural industry. This involves machining harder steels such as EN19 and EN24.”

The rigidity of the new machine is already creating savings at Key Precision and some of these savings have been identified in the reduction in cutting tool consumption. Alluding to this, Greg says: “That has been a nice surprise for us. A lot of the jobs we produce are repeat jobs that we have machined many times over and, on these jobs, we have seen a tool life saving of 25% and even 35% when we machine them on the Hanwha XD38II. With costs continually rising, this is a welcome result that has made a big saving for us.”

Incorporating the facility to work with or without the guide bush, this option on the Hanwha XD38II adds further benefits for Key Precision, as Greg states: “The big benefit on shorter components is the saving on the bar. Steel prices have tripled in the last two years, so any extra parts that you can get from the bar makes a very big difference. On a part that we are currently machining, it is a 35mm diameter bar and the part is 10mm long – with the option of working with or without the guide bush we can get an extra 15 parts per bar. This is where it really starts to pay back.”

Looking at one specific part being made on the new Hanwha machine, Greg says: “We are producing 10,000 banjo parts per month for fluid transfer systems using carbon steel – and it’s a nice easy job for a slider. The benefit of the Hanwha machine is its power. We are putting a 24mm diameter U-drill down this particular component and that is a large U-drill for a sliding head machine, but the machine has 32mm sleeves which help us with our tool management. The machine also has five powered tools and on the banjo component, this helps us for cross drilling into a bore. The rigidity of the machine makes the job simple, and it is completed in 3-4 days.”

Discussing another component, the company manufactures that is somewhat more complicated, Greg says: “This job is perfect for a slider as half of the machining is at the front end and the other half is at the back end of the part. The component consists of heavy turning on the front end and some milling work on the back end of the part. We machine the part from EN24T and this can create stringy swarf on a slider, but the Hanwha machine has the power to chip the swarf whilst reducing our tooling consumption – it’s been amazing. The bar is 40mm in diameter and we are turning it down to an M18 thread. We are doing this in two passes, taking off 4mm per side with our roughing pass at a 0.35mm feed – and the machine doesn’t make a sound. The tool life is brilliant and it makes a difference when you can chip the material so well. This helps us to machine extremely quickly.”

Concluding on the installation, Greg says: “The machine has now been in and working for six full weeks. It has been running day and night and even over the weekends. It hasn’t missed a beat yet and we are pleased with the machine.”

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