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Qualiturn has selected the Hydrafeed Rota-Rack rotary part accumulator to improve the quality of components manufactured on its turning centres.

Qualiturn has been running its facility 24/7, 365 days a year, for over 18 years with just one production shift.

This dedicated production facility runs its 16 Star sliding head and two Miyano fixed head turning centres around the clock.

The company produces seven million parts per year with 17,000 hours of monthly capacity.

Since maximising its production capability and capacity, the Hertford-based business has been fully focused on added value.

This philosophy has seen the 24 employee subcontractor invest in Datatrack production software, Tesa metrology equipment, Mecwash aqueous component cleaning systems and most recently a Hydrafeed Rota-Rack rotary part accumulator.

A proportion of parts produced each year are made from soft materials such as brass and aluminium while other components are made from steel and can be heavier and larger.

The problem with these parts is that when dropping from the machine into the collection bins they are prone to marking when colliding with other parts.

As the company runs unmanned machining, a relatively large collection bin sits under each machine with parts dropping up to 12in into the bins.

This drop compromises component quality and this is why the ISO: 9001 registered company has invested in the Rota-Rack.

Qualiturn managing director, Nick Groom, said: ‘We produce a lot of components that demand high-quality surface finishes with tight tolerances and having them to fall into bins and get marked is unacceptable.

‘Some customers made comments on the surface finishes while some jobs were returned.

‘We have invested heavily in high-end machine tools and in equipment for cleaning and inspecting the parts.

‘However, there was an issue between production and inspection and the Rota-Rack was the answer.

‘We ordered the Rota-Rack in September and it was delivered in October, making an immediate impact.

‘As well as eliminating the damage to our sensitive parts, the Rota-Rack extended our hours of unmanned running and reduced machine dependence upon an operator.’ Machining average batches of 1,000 to 2,000 parts in varying lengths with diameters up to 42mm, the collection bins take differing times to fill and this was determined by the size of the component – a situation that needed regular monitoring by an operator.

The introduction of the Rota-Rack has eliminated the need for continuous operator intervention and observation and it allows Qualiturn to produce batch runs completely unmanned with high quality.

The Rota-Rack eliminates the process of parts dropping into bins and stops contact between components.

This is credited to the Rota-Rack’s ability to be programmed in sync with the cycle time of the part on the turning centre to ensure that it only rotates when a part enters the system from the machine tool.

Suitable for limited space environments the accumulator comfortably accommodates parts up to 254mm long with diameters up to 76mm, covering the majority of Qualiturn components.

The system has an adjustable height and it can be set at the left or right side of the machine.

‘These attributes enable us to quickly move the Rota-Rack between the Miyano and Star machines depending on where the sensitive and more demanding parts are being produced,’ said Groom.

‘The Rota-Rack is yet another investment in improving product quality, adding value for the customer and introducing new technology to our processes.’ Groom concluded that the benefit of this system is that while it improves quality it also enhances profitability by extending unmanned running.

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