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RK International has delivered GBP250,000 worth of equipment, accessories, service, support and training to Farnborough College of Technology.

A recent GBP6.7m investment by the college in its Aerospace, Automotive Academy has created a training establishment that can deliver further education in engineering up to BSc Honours in aeronautics, manufacturing, motor vehicles, electrical, electronic and aircraft maintenance.

Here, apprentices from industry and full-time students taking further and higher education courses can learn their trade.

The machine shop is located on the first floor above a motor mechanics training area fitted out with garage and maintenance equipment, set alongside a separate sheet-metal area.

Altogether, in the 35 x 10m machine shop, RK International supplied and installed seven Colchester Student 2500 and one Triumph VS 2500 1250 centre lathes, a Harrison Alpha 1350 XS electronic flat-bed lathe, a Fanuc Robodrill T21IC vertical machining centre (VMC) with a full range of control and software options, plus three of its Europa Milltech 2000 universal knee and column milling machines with digital readouts.

As part of the contract, RK’s installation engineer had to re-site two existing VMCs in the new facility as well as two grinding machines: a Jones and Shipman 540 surface grinder and 1310 cylindrical grinder, which were reconditioned by RK.

In addition, a couple of power saws and vertical bandsaws, off-hand grinders, tooling, accessories and vices were also sourced for both the machine shop and the sheet-metal workshop.

In the sheet-metal workshop RK sourced and installed folders, bending rolls, saws and drill spindles that are sited among the multitude of nesting box-style welding bays.

For RK International, the college set a target of 4 January when the first students would begin using the equipment for machining exercises as part of their studies.

Due to the building developers clearing site, delivery dates of the various pieces of equipment and sourcing of accessories, RK’s installation team had a window of one week to deliver, install and commission before Christmas.

However, the project was not just a ship, drop and wire in.

There were numerous meetings onsite with the building contractors and the college and as the machine shop was sited on the first floor, Stuart Murray, head of engineering at Farnborough College, worked closely with RK to ensure floor loadings and electrics complied.

They also had to ensure that building was fully protected when machines were off-loaded, lifted to the first floor and passed through an access door at one end and then finally positioned.

In addition, RK had to provide risk assessment, advice on health and safety issues and provide training for programming and operation of the machines.

‘Positioning of each machine was very important not only for visual layout and operation but also to enable discussions and presentations to be carried out that would not cause disruption to other students, compromise safety or restrict others from working,’ Murray said.

RK International Machine Tools

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