A niche UK supplier to the aerospace industry of nickel alloy, titanium, stainless steel and aluminium aero engine ring components and assemblies including seals, shrouds, segments and casings, was awarded an additional contract last year to supply a complex rotating fan seal for a large civil aircraft engine programme.
Additional capacity was needed at Silcoms’ Bolton factory to cope with the increased workload. While researching and installing the new equipment, managing director Jim Hill took the opportunity to develop a new process route to speed production of the rotational titanium parts while maintaining the tight tolerances needed.
The new method of manufacture hinges on the use of a German-built Hermle C 50 UMT 5-axis machining centre fitted with a torque table for carrying out in-cycle turning operations. The machine, supplied by Kingsbury, the sole sales and service agent in the UK, Ireland and Middle East, now performs three operations in two set-ups that previously required five operations on three different machines. Floor-to-floor time is drastically reduced and fewer set-ups mean that the risk of accumulative tolerance error is minimal.