Achieving a fine finish at Dutton Engineering

Bedfordshire-based sheet metal sub-contractor takes pride in the visible finish of its stainless-steel products

Posted on 03 Sep 2018 and read 1006 times
Achieving a fine finish at Dutton EngineeringThe installation of a new Timesavers deburring, edge-rounding and finishing machine at Dutton Engineering is delivering significant cycle time reductions, along with improved and consistent quality when it comes to deburring and graining punched, lasered and water-jet cut parts.

The company — based in Sandy, Bedfordshire — is a specialist sheet metal sub-contractor.

The focus over its 40 years has been stainless-steel sheet; and with customers in the food-processing, medical and architectural sectors — among others — attention to detail, premium finish and quality are essential to maintaining good customer relations.

With a turnover of £3 million and 40 employees, Dutton Engineering prides itself on the quality of its work, most of which is visible in the finished product.

Andrew Read, the company’s managing director, said: “We pride ourselves on the quality and on-time delivery promises that we keep; and with our production focused mainly on the use of high-value stainless steel, the parts we produce must reflect the material’s inherent visual quality — and be safe to handle.

“For these reasons, we place significant emphasis on deburring and graining.”

Dutton Engineering aims to be more than just a ‘supplier of parts’. Indeed, the company encourages customers to visit its premises, so that relationships can be built.

Visits also allow them to draw on the expertise available at Dutton Engineering, whether the need is for just sheet-processing capacity or a full design-for-manufacture solution.

Machine variety

The company has a comprehensive machine portfolio that includes punching, laser cutting, water-jet cutting, bending and forming, as well as milling and turning capabilities.

Dutton engineering pic 2It also has two Timesavers finishing machines for surface graining and finishing operations — plus the recently installed Timesavers 42-1350-WRb machine, which was bought to undertake a new contract for parts (featuring multiple slots) that had to be guaranteed burr-free.

Supplied by Christchurch-based Ellesco Ltd (, this latest Timesavers machine features a wide-abrasive-belt head and an eight-brush rotary head that undertake both deburring and graining operations in a single pass.

The inclusion of a vacuum table adds greater versatility, as the machine can process parts just 50 x 50mm up to 1,350mm wide x 4,500mm. Moreover, parts up to 150mm thick can be accommodated.

Mr Read says: “The benefit we are getting with the new Timesavers machine is the ability to generate a consistent edge on components, which is something we now use as part of our sales proposition to customers.

“When compared with manual deburring, we have not only gained in terms of quality but also processing times, which are typically 75% less.

“This is a major bonus, as removing any burrs is important for us, especially with the work we do for customers in the food-processing sector, where there is the need to eliminate any risk of personal injury or contamination.”

The ease of use of the Timesavers 42-1350-WRb is also a big plus for Dutton Engineering, only requiring an operator to feed and remove parts, thereby allowing Dutton Engineering’s polishers, who used to be involved in manual deburring, free to do the work their skills are best suited to.

Furthermore, the size of the machine table allows multiple parts to be processed simultaneously.

Easy operation

Mr Read said: “With just 30min training, we were up and running; and with the addition of the rotary brushes for deburring, the new machine provides much greater flexibility, giving us the ability to process punched and lasered parts, as well as those that have been cut using our water-jet machine.

“While the latter parts may not have burrs, they do have sharp edges that need to be rounded off; these can be on external edges, or internal edges such as holes and slots.

“Due to the importance of the finished product in visual terms, we can also deburr sheet that still has its protective plastic coating applied.

Dutton Engineering pic 3“In addition to deburring, the Timesavers 42-1350-WRb also creates consistent edge radii, a process simplified by the easy-to-use control system, which allows operators to set the machine in minutes with a minimum of training.”

Timesavers 42-series machines can be configured in multiple ways to suit a variety of applications, with customers able to choose machines with multiple abrasive belts or combinations of abrasive belt, rotary brushes or stationary brushes.

Machine widths can be 1,000, 1,350 or 1,550mm, with table speeds ranging from 0.2 to 10m/min. The machine’s functions are controlled from a panel that includes a graphic interface to show details of the parameters that have been set.

A wide range of materials can be processed, including stainless steel, mild steel, aluminium and copper.

Vincent Simonis, Ellesco’s managing director, said: “It is always satisfying when a customer returns for additional machines — and particularly reassuring when the reasons are the quality and performance of the product and the levels of service that we provide.

“We have worked with Timesavers for over 40 years, so we have been party to the development of this finishing technology. We know the designers, and we particularly know the capabilities of the machines inside out.

“This means we can quickly assess a customer’s requirements and ensure that they have the right solution for their particular needs.”

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