27 Jun 2012
High-performance transmissions from Xtrac
Since its inception in 1984, Xtrac has grown rapidly to become one of the world’s leading motor-sport companies, supplying Formula One, World Rally Championship, IndyCar, Sports Prototype/GT and Touring Cars with high-performance transmissions and advanced components. The Thatcham-based company also has interests outside of motor-sport, supplying the automotive, aerospace, marine and special-projects sectors; it is also involved in ‘green’ projects related to hybrid vehicles and energy-recovery systems.
Given the nature of Xtrac’s products, and their demanding dimensional accuracy and surface finish specifications, the quality of the company’s grinding operations are of paramount importance.
To help guarantee the continued quality, performance and reliability of Xtrac’s transmissions, more than 80% of the company’s grinding functions are now entrusted to a line-up of Studer CNC grinding machines (www.studer.com). These are used for both cylindrical and internal grinding where C-axis operations can also be performed for either off-axis grinding or where profile grinding is required.
Following the purchase of S20 and S40 CNC grinders in the mid 1990s, Xtrac has regularly added to its array of Studer external, internal and universal machines. With the recently installed S33 universal grinder, Xtrac now has 12 CNC grinders from the Swiss manufacturer; and because the machines share a common easy-to-use control system, operators can easily move from machine to machine.
Xtrac’s grinding department manager, Steve Bowley, says: “Now fully operational, our new Studer S33 is delivering the kind of precision and quality of surface finish we have grown to expect from Studer, while also maintaining impressive stock-removal rates. Ideal for our small-batch work, the quick change-overs between jobs offered by the S33 maximises productive machining time and helps us to meet our often challenging deadlines.
“The nature of the business we are involved in means that we not only have to achieve extremely demanding dimensional and surface finish tolerances, but also achieve these on exotic metals, some of which are unique to Xtrac.”