Service team expanded at Rhodes Interform

Rhodes Interform, the Group Rhodes business which specialises in bespoke composite and metal-forming machinery, has expanded its team with the appointment of three service engineers to enhance customer service.

The starters – Gary Lymm, Nigel Hartley and Paul Lowden – are all experienced in either mechanical, hydraulic or electrical engineering, as well as servicing and repair.
Steve Jackson, technical sales manager for Rhodes Interform, says: “There has been growing demand over the past 12 months for our repair and maintenance services from the metal press industries, including aerospace, automotive, white goods and general sheet metal fabrication. Gary, Nigel and Paul will play a key role in expanding our service agreements with customers as we continue to demonstrate how we can reduce plant downtime and maximise operational efficiency through planned maintenance schedules.”
As well as producing presses, Rhodes Interform says it reconditions and upgrades existing machines at a fraction of the cost of buying new. This service includes complete machine refurbishments on all Group Rhodes metal-forming, materials handling, clay preparation and concrete working machinery, as well as refurbishment work on equipment of other makes. The company can also offer full PLC or CNC control system upgrades, supported by software designed to meet the individual requirements of each customer.
Group Rhodes recently showcased its bespoke composite and metal-forming machinery at the Advanced Engineering show in Birmingham. Composite machinery manufactured by the company is used to manufacture structural components for production road cars, as well as flight critical parts for a variety of aircraft. The company also offers a range of cold forming technologies for specialist metal-forming applications across a number of sectors.
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Bus part supplier installs tandem press brake

After using Haco Synchromaster press brakes in tandem (two ERMS 30250 models), a HSL3013 hydraulic guillotine shear and a Compact 40 ironworker, a supplier to bus manufacturer Ashok Leyland that specialises in the manufacture of truck cabin, cowl, front end structure (FES), fuel tank, load body and stallion load body systems, has invested in additional machines from Haco Kingsland.

This time, the South India based company has installed a further set of Synchromaster press brakes in tandem (two ERMS 36250 machines), along with another HSL3013 hydraulic guillotine shear and Compact 40 ironworker.
The customer is a well-known supplier of Ashok Leyland, which is the second largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India, the fourth largest manufacturer of buses in the world and the 12th largest manufacturer of trucks. In order to increase production capacity and provide more accurate components to Ashok Leyland, the customer decided to buy another 7.2 m x 500 ton tandem press brake.
After using one tandem press brake previously and enjoying impressive performances, the company has acquired two further Haco CNC Synchromaster press brakes that can be used in tandem as required. The Synchromaster is a well-equipped multi-axis CNC press brake with electro-hydraulic levelling, depth control and high angular and geometrical precision.
The company also bought another shearing machine for cutting 3 m long x 13 mm thick plates. According to the customer, it appreciates the European quality combined with competitive pricing. The new machines have already been installed at the factory and are in full production.
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Subcontractor upgrades press brake capacity

Bridport-based sheet metal subcontractor, Ackerman Engineering, has installed an Xpert 150-tonne, 3.1 m press brake from Bystronic.

The move adds to the six Bystronic models already on site, one of which dates back to 2001 and is badged Edwards Pearson, which the Swiss manufacturer acquired in 2002.
Managing director Graham Ackerman is particularly impressed with the latest Bystronic Xpert 150, for which he has bought a comprehensive suite of the manufacturer’s RF-A segmented tooling. He says it is twice as fast to set up compared with older style tooling, as the punch and die segments are automatically centred when loaded from the front and hydraulically clamped.
Moreover, the system is fully compatible with the Bystronic bending database in the machine control, and it is practically impossible to insert an incorrect tool due to laser beam recognition of its profile. Part quality is also improved, especially when bending long components, as there are no witness marks where the tool segments meet and there is no need for shimming.
Ackerman says: “Today we have 34 staff working at Bridport, including a fifth generation Ackerman, my son Edward. By the time he takes over the business, with our policy of constant reinvestment, we will have grown further. There is plenty of room for expansion on our current site. The purchase of highly productive production plant like the Bystronic machines will be key to our continued success.”
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Productivity leap for cam lobe manufacturers

Hatebur has developed and tailored its HOTmatic AMP 20N, a machine that is specifically designed for the manufacturing of forged cam lobes.

With this machine, the company aims to improve the efficiency and productivity of suppliers in the automotive industry.
“Almost all of the world’s forged cam lobes are produced on Hatebur machines,” states Thomas Christoffel, CEO of Hatebur. “With the development of the HOTmatic AMP 20N, we are reacting to new trends in the industry. We want to make our customers even more productive and strengthen our market leadership.
“The trend is heading towards thinner cam lobes in order to support the lightweight construction of engines,” he continues. “That is why the R&D division of Hatebur has started early with fundamental research on cam lobes featuring a thickness of 8 mm instead of 12 mm. The thinner cam lobes impose higher demands on the forming machine – in particular with regard to the shearing quality, pressing force and part transfer.
The HOTmatic AMP 20N offers a total press load of 1500 kN; the machine body has been reinforced to guarantee the necessary stability.
In three forming stations – and with a maximum of 200 strokes per minute – the AMP 20N produces cam lobes with an outer diameter of up to 48 mm out of raw parts with 24 to 217 g.
The up to 6 m long, almost 1200°C hot bars are brought exactly into position via four feeder rollers, powered by servo drives.
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Boosting output with electric tube benders

Two all-electric tube-bending machines from Unison are helping Ultibend Industries to increase the manufacturing productivity of stainless steel tube fittings for food and beverage processing systems at its manufacturing facility in Wellington, New Zealand.

Ultibend purchased two customised tube-bending machines to suit its proprietary manufacturing process; the machines from Unison automate the bending of tube-fitting shapes such as elbows and U-bends, in sizes from 25 to 100 mm in diameter. Manufacturing operations have demonstrated that the Unison tube-bending machines have significantly boosted Ultibend’s manufacturing speed compared with its previous hydraulic bending machines.
“We knew of Unison as we have had dealings with them in the past,” says Ultibend director Linc Turley. “We like that being software engineers, Unison can take our ideas and issues, and come up with a tailored solution in the form of a customer-specific machine. They’re also an ethical company whose values align with our own. This has been proved in our dealings with them, and the excellent support and prompt response to any issues we have.”
Describing some of the key advantages of Unison’s machines, he adds: “The Unison solution has been invaluable as opposed to our old hydraulic system; the all-electric servo-driven machines give us greater control over bend parameters and increased accuracy. All the data is captured and automatically adjusted to the correct position during set up as opposed to manual adjustments. This gives us the ability to put lower skilled operators on these machines, as doing set ups and making adjustments is more straightforward.”
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