New grinding technique

Corus Northern Engineering Services (CNES) has successfully built and installed a large grinding machine for Wyman-Gordon, a manufacturer of process pipework.

Supplementing the company’s original grinding machine, it will help to reduce lead times for process pipes. It measures 19m in length by 2.5m wide and 4.5m high and weighs approximately 70 tonnes. It will be used to grind the outside diameter of seamless pipes, which vary in length from 5m up to 12m, with diameters from 200m up to 1,200m. The technique grinds the outside casing to give a smooth, flat finish to the pipe.

Wyman-Gordon manufactures a range of Class 1 rotating parts for military, civil and industrial gas turbines applications. These products include gas turbine engine shafts, structural and landing gear forgings for military and civil aircraft, as well as manifolds, sphere tees, valve bodies and seamless pipes for the offshore oil and gas industries.

The Livingston plant employs around 275 staff and the new grinding machine is part of a capital investment expansion project at the site. The plant also boasts one of the world’s largest ‘clam shell’ furnaces, which is used to heat treat the seamless pipes.

CNES business development manager John Backhouse said: ‘Our engineers had to manufacture the new grinding machine from the original drawings. The existing grinding machine at Wyman-Gordon includes both metric and imperial components and so we also had to cope with a mixture of original imperial drawings and new metric ones in order to build the new machine.’

CNES received the contract from Wyman-Gordon in May 2007 and the machine was built and ready to ship in November 2007. It has since been placed inside an acoustic chamber at the plant and has just completed commissioning.

Wyman-Gordon’s senior plant engineer Chris Morris added: ‘The new grinding machine should cut lead times considerably for process pipe.’