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Valve maker cuts production time 40%.

When Rodney Hunt Co acquired the Allis-Chalmers line of valve products, strategic planning dictated a move of manufacturing operations to its Orange, MA, facility where an established foundry, fabricating, engineering, and CNC machining capabilities were ready and waiting.

The acquisition rounded out Rodney Hunt Co's line of valve products to include Rotovalve cone valves, Streamseal circular and rectangular butterfly valves, and Howell-Bunger fixed cone valves for energy dissipation. The company, which specializes in prompt delivery of both standard and special products used in municipal water and waste water treatment plants, sluice and slide gates for canal locks, and control valves for the hydroelectric power generation industry, depends on precision machining to solve its customer's problems.

Acquisition of the valve line led directly to the purchase of a TOS Hulin CNC VTL (vertical turret lathe) from Omnitrade Machinery, Carlstadt, NJ, explains Leon Lefebvre, machining manager at the Rodney Hunt plant. The machine was selected because of its ability to complete all required facing and OD and ID turning, and then continue with milling, drilling, and other operations without having to move the part.

The TOS Hulin CNC VTL features a 78" dia, 84 hp vertical turret lathe with a controlled C-axis (the table), 15-tool ATC, 18 hp through-the-ram "live" spindle capability, and Siemens CNC control.

"Machining the valve components requires the ability to handle components that can be five feet or more in diameter, several feet in height, and weigh as much as several thousand pounds," explains Mr Lefebvre. "Being able to perform multiple machining operations on one machine tool without refixturing for a second setup is a distinct advantage. And accuracy is a must, as bolt holes and assembly detail work must be precisely machined for proper mating of components."

A typical job assigned to the VTL is components for butterfly valves that run from 24" to 84" in diameter. As an example, a 3-ft-dia by 2-ft-high flanged butterfly valve body arrives from Rodney Hunt's foundry as a high quality, 1300 lb iron casting rated at 180 Brinell hardness. After chucking the part to the four-jaw face plate, the operator locates the center of the valve body.

"That's all the referencing he has to do," says Mr Lefebvre. "All the bolt hole patterns are dimensioned from this center, as well as the turning, boring, and facing operations."

All programs are downloaded to the VTL via Rodney Hunt's machining DNC network. The engineering CAD department is located in another building on the site and will be tied into the network within the year.

Most of the tooling on the VTL incorporates titanium nitride coated carbide inserts for turning and facing, with "live" tooling comprising indexable insert drills and high-speed steel twist drills. The company is trying to eliminate the twist drills wherever possible because of the higher speeds and longer tool life attainable with indexable insert drills, says Mr Lefebvre.

In machining operations, the mass of the TOS Hulin machine, which is constructed of iron castings, is credited with the kind of rigidity needed to handle heavy roughing cuts and produce accuracy in finishing cuts.

"Instead of the 0.005" finishing cuts needed previously, Rodney Hunt is able to take 0.03" finishing cuts and be right on the money," says Mr Lefebvre.

Significant savings have resulted from the combination of productive rough cutting, accurate finishing, and multi-function machining on one machine in one setup. The machining of a 36" dia butterfly valve body has been reduced from 8 1/2 hours to 5 hours on average.

"The reduction in production time of 40% has made us a major international player in the hydro-power valve business," he says.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Rodney Hunt Co.
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Previous Article:Getting to the bottom of deep holes.
Next Article:Setting standards of manufacturing excellence.

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