Beginning operations in January 2018 will be a Bost VTL 68 CY 5,000 double-column vertical lathe with moving crossrail, moving table and hydrostatic guideways in C, X, Z and Y axes. Maximum turning diameter is 6,800 mm, powered by twin 64 kW motors producing up to 100 rpm. Maximum turning height is 4,000 mm and there is a 5,400 mm Y-axis as well. An interchangeable 63 kW vertical milling head offers maximum 4,000 rpm.
Scheduled to be operational in March 2018 is a Bostram 6000 floor-type boring and milling machine, offering 17,000 mm in X, 6,500 mm capacity in Y, and up to 3,000 mm in the RAM axis. The 225 mm diameter spindle rotates at up to 2,000 rpm, and feeds are up to 15,000 mm/min.
Preparatory works, including laying new reinforced concrete foundations for the machines, are currently underway.
James Tate, chief finance officer at Sheffield Forgemasters, who calls the project a “milestone investment for the company” says that it will create greater efficiencies for future projects as well as allowing for further advanced machining techniques.
He adds: “The company has placed inward investment high on its list of priorities since the management buyout in 2005 and we still invest significantly more in research and development as a percentage of turnover than most UK manufacturers. There is no doubt that Sheffield is a centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing and this investment will help us to deliver an increasing volume of milling and turning work for defence and power generation contracts using internal facilities to maintain high tolerances and manufacturing standards.”
The company secured £650,000 of funding from the Sheffield City Region's Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) towards the project.