Product Details Supplier Info More products

Totnes subcontractor Vire Engineering has purchased a used Traub lathe from Geo Kingsbury Machine Tools.

Vire Engineering specialises in the manufacture of hose and pipe end fittings for brake, fuel, oil and coolant assemblies used in the motorsport and defence sectors.

Janet Vincent, Vire’s managing director, said: ‘We succeeded in obtaining business from a UK company supplying fittings to a US customer that wanted aluminium fittings of a larger diameter than our existing lathes could accommodate, so we needed a new machine.

‘The difficulty we faced was the low unit cost of the fittings, which led us at the outset to install a relatively inexpensive, new lathe so that the investment was proportionate to the profit margin.

‘However, the machine proved to be unreliable and service was poor.

‘We already had two Traub CNC lathes from Geo Kingsbury, which heard of the trouble we were having and undertook to keep its eyes open for a good-quality, used mill-turn centre of a larger capacity that would meet our budget and reliability requirements,’ she added.

A suitable machine was found in Germany; it was a Traub TNC65 twin-spindle, twin-turret turning centre fitted with an LNS Quick Load Servo automatic bar magazine.

The total cost of the machine was GBP165,000 – around half of the price of a new lathe.

The Geo Kingsbury engineer that vetted the machine at the German user, a subcontractor specialising in machining aluminium, was impressed with the condition of the lathe and recommended it to Vire.

After refurbishment by Geo Kingsbury at its Gosport technical centre, the machine was installed at Totnes in mid-2009 and has run 24/7 ever since, improving the production of titanium, stainless-steel, mild-steel and aluminium fittings measuring up to 65mm in diameter.

The Traub TNC65 machine runs uninterrupted throughout the night.

The mill-turning capability of the machine allows some parts to be finished in a single cycle, whereas previously they required a second operation.

One-hit machining also reduces handling damage, helps to keep track of jobs more effectively and enables the faster deliveries of non-stock items.

At the outset, when all parts produced on the machine were new and required programming, the speed of the TNC65 could be a problem for Vire’s operators.

With batch sizes tending to be smaller these days, it was sometimes difficult to prepare the program for the next production run before the previous batch was finished.

This is less of an issue now that a significant proportion of throughput is repeat work.

Traub’s WinCNC software running on a PC is used for offline programming from customers’ drawings.

Geo Kingsbury provided a week of training as part of the package, as the TNC65 is the subcontractor’s first twin-turret machine.

More than 200 programs were written by Vire in the first six months, although this is less than 10 per cent of the total number of fitting varieties produced at Totnes.

Geo Kingsbury Machine Tools

View full profile