"This was a very high specification job," said Fred Pain, General Manager at Acro. "In fact, every steel bar was first inspected and certified using ultra-sonic testing prior to machining, to ensure the material was free from cracks or internal defects. We also had to undergo a quality inspection of our equipment and workshop in order to win this business. We have now delivered the 7,000 components required and have been invited to quote for similar projects with this customer."
Acro have been in business for over 30 years. Initially their work was focused on supplying the growing North Sea oil and gas industry but in recent years Acro have been supplying turned components into industry sectors such as automotive, medical, defence, construction and hi-tech. Using a broad range of CNC sliding head, multi-spindle and multi axis milling machines, Acro have established themselves as a capable and reliable supplier of turned components. Using 24 hour unmanned machining technology, Acro strives to compete on a worldwide basis, providing both high volume component manufacture as well as prototype work and low volume specialist components. Acro have also recently undertaken projects using their SolidCAM 3D machining technology that enables them to machine even the most complex of designs.
"The EN26 material is very tough to work with," said Fred. "It's not a material that we'd want to run unmanned. The major problems are extensive wear on the cutting tips and thread rolling heads. For this project we had to change each of these after machining every 60 pieces. The tool wear can be colossal when working with such materials, but to deliver turned components that will reliably operate in extreme conditions, this kind of tooling cost is unavoidable."
Acro has also undertaken parts for the oil industry, machined in titanium. Although titanium is very expensive, it is very strong in comparison to it's weight and has proven ideal for the aerospace and automotive sectors also.
"Titanium is a hard material and we've found that we have to machine it using neat cutting oil, but the real concern is that it has a low flash point and can catch fire very easily. Its swarf burns with an intense bright white flame," said Fred. "We've found that we cannot run machines unmanned with this material and it is also advisable to have an automatic fire extinguisher fitted to the machine as well as an automatic broken tool detector. Having said this, titanium gives a nice finish and the components perform well in the field. We've found the titanium work very rewarding. Working with these harder materials such as Titanium, Stainless 316 and Monel used to be quite a challenge, however, we now track the latest cutting technologies and have also developed a number of new techniques to be able to deliver production volumes quickly and of a consistent quality."
About Acro Precision Technology
With over 30 years' experience in the machining of precision engineering components, Acro are one of Europe's leading suppliers to the engineering and technology sector. Acro offer specialist low volume prototype development as well as high volume manufacturing and are equipped with a broad range of modern CNC [Computer Numerically Controlled] machinery: -
· CNC lathes with live tooling and 24 hour unmanned production
· Swiss type sliding head automatics
· 3D SolidCAM CNC milling
· Conventional turning/milling/finishing
Customer projects have included components for sports cars suspensions, bomb disposal robots, hospital beds, forecourt petrol pumps, the London Underground, equipment for off-shore oil exploration and production and components for the construction industry.
Acro Contact :
Fred Pain, General Manager
Tel: 01692 583444