Hurco DCX32 with 3200 x 2100 x 920 mm has been installed QED Sales...
The largest model in Hurco's range of machining centres, the twin-column, bridge-type DCX32 with 3,200 x 2,100 x 920 mm working volume, has been installed in the Huntly works of oil and gas equipment manufacturer, QED Sales, to help fulfil a new contract for producing large plate H-links.
Having a field life of over 30 years, they form part of a 5-tonne steel assembly used to connect polyester rope to large chains used in deep-water mooring systems. Within the last 12 months, QED has manufactured over 100 similar products for the offshore industry for the North Sea, West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico.
Stuart Murray, QED's managing director with 25 years' experience in the oil industry, said, "We based our selection of the DCX32, and of a Hurco VMX64 installed mid-2010, on their value for money and reliability.
"We have a 1986-built MD3 machining centre from the same supplier on the shop floor that is still in daily use.
"Its twin-screen Ultimax CNC system goes back to the cathode ray tube era, unlike Hurco's modern flat-screen controls. However, we have been very impressed with the conversational system's user-friendliness for programming and producing one-offs and small batches, which is the norm here.
"There is nothing wrong with the old machine mechanically and we still produce tight-tolerance work on it."
In 2010, InterMoor developed the Inter-M-Swivel, a multi-purpose, deeper-water, longer-term mooring swivel that can join chains of the same or dissimilar sizes while allowing complete rotational freedom under tension. Approximately 50 have been sold in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and the North Sea. QED won a contract to manufacture parts for the device and needed the Hurco VMX64 with its 1,625 x 864 x 762 mm capacity to accommodate them. A fourth axis was supplied to enable milling operations on these and other components that are previously turned on CNC lathes.
Both the DCX32 and VMX64 have been purchased with 50-taper spindles to cope with QED's tough machining requirements. Drawing tolerances are generally ± 0.025 mm, which the Hurcos easily achieve. Activity is high in the oil and gas industry at present, including in the North Sea, so shifts have been extended at the Huntly factory to 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Established in 1995, QED has gained a global reputation for providing a complete subcontract service to the oil and gas industry and more recently the renewable energy sector, including design, machining and fabrication at the top end of the capacity range.
It also manufactures its own products, such as WAG Mill for grinding within cuttings slurrification systems, and the SRS swarf removal system for extracting metal swarf, large pieces of cement, pieces of casing and other debris from the circulating fluid used during casing milling operations.
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