WNT (UK) first announced plans to recruit field-based applications engineers in late 2014. At the time, Tony Pennington, its managing director, said: “Applications support will form a vital component in our quest to remain at the forefront of customer support in the cutting tool sector.”

He continued: “By adding this additional level of support, we will be able to work closer with customers and develop machining processes with them that will help them to maximise their productivity and make considerable savings.”

That strategy must have proved successful, because now, 18 months on, three more field-based staff are being recruited: one each in the north west, south east and Midlands areas, supplementing its 32 other sales employees, five of which are applications sales.

Adrian Fitts, WNT (UK) business development manager, says: “The existing team of applications sales engineers is already making a significant difference for customers by working with them to develop machining projects, and with this dedicated support team we can provide customers with the time and expertise that they require.”

He concludes: “This latest round of expansion of our customer-facing team is a vote of confidence in the UK engineering sector. We envisage continued growth and with that an increased demand from customers for more detailed engineering support, which these applications sales engineers will provide.”

For example, at the company’s Sheffield Tech Centre, project sales engineer Tony Gale is supporting a special client. As part of the corporate sponsorship of the Team WNT F2 powerboat team, the Tech Centre – and Gale – were made available to produce components that will help to reduce weight and improve overall performance.

Recently, the boat’s transom bolts holding the engine to the hull, originally steel, were substituted by Grade 5 (Ti6Al4V) titanium replacements in an effort to save weight; doing so removed 600 g. The replacement transom bolts were machined by Gale using a selection of standard tools from the WNT catalogue.

He explains: “There are two styles of bolts, one 90 mm long and one 110 mm long, and both feature a mix of threading, drilling and milling, which allowed us to make use of a variety of tools and apply cutting data directly from the information in our catalogue.”

The main turning element was completed using a WNT DNMG 150608 M34 HCN 5110 for titanium insert at a surface speed of 80 m/min and feed of 0.25 mm/rev, with the thread generated in seven passes using a 1.5 mm pitch threading insert, plus one relief pass at 40 m/min surface speed. Hexagon flats were machined using an 8 mm Ti Mastertool end-mill with 1 mm radius running at 80 m/min and a feed of 0.04 mm/tooth. The final operations of boring the relief in the head of the bolt and drilling the holes for the retaining wire were achieved using WNT’s solid carbide Eco-Cut Mini boring bar and a 1 mm diameter HSS Uni Drill.

Tooling catalogues such as WNT’s, whose latest edition came out on 1 June 2016 with 6,500 new products, offer a rich source of supporting technical information.

This article was first published in the September 2016 issue of Machinery magazine.