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‘Grinding out precision’ in the West Country

Precision machining firm enhances its capabilities with a new Kellenberger universal grinder

Posted on 09 Jun 2021 and read 670 times
‘Grinding out precision’ in the West CountryThe expression ‘Jack of all trades’ could have been coined to describe Yeovil-based PDQ Precision Ltd, especially if the phrase is further qualified by the addition of ‘master of many’. The company was established in 2012 by its managing director, Martin Thrower, after the company he then managed was sold by its owners.

With the help of local machine tool company YMT Ltd and the support of several local engineering businesses, Mr Thrower quickly established the foundations of what is now a ‘comprehensively equipped’ manufacturing company.

Over the past decade PDQ’s philosophy of offering a ‘cost-effective end-to-end’ range of precision machining services has resulted in the ISO 9001:2015-registered company enjoying significant growth, particularly in the aerospace, medical, motor-sport and packaging industries.

In addition, PDQ has gained approvals from multi-national businesses such Leonardo Helicopters, which is also based in Yeovil.

Precision grinding is one of PDQ’s key strengths, and the company is equipped to undertake centreless, universal, fine grinding and surface grinding. The latest addition to PDQ’s range of grinding machines is a recently installed Kellenberger CNC universal grinder supplied by DF Precision Machinery Ltd, based in Lutterworth, Leicestershire.

Mr Thrower said: “Although PDQ has expanded over the past 10 years and now counts several multi-national businesses as customers, we still adhere to our founding principles of helping customers to solve their problems, even if this means producing precision parts that most companies would turn down. We also offer overflow single-operation machining to other engineering companies, as our staff have access to a wide range of high-precision machine tools.”

Enviable reputation

Mr Thrower added: “Although we have earned a reputation as a comprehensive ‘one stop shop’ machining facility, if we have a speciality it is in the area of precision grinding. Indeed, our finish-grinding capabilities are known throughout the South West — and increasingly beyond. Moreover, we are used as a sub-contract grinding facility for many engineering companies.

“To enable our grinding section to keep pace with ever-increasing demand we recently searched for a universal CNC grinding machine that was able to undertake particularly high-accuracy work; and as we generally grind relatively small volumes of components, we looked for a flexible machine that was quick to set up.

“Although a couple of the universal CNC grinding machines that we looked at satisfied certain aspects of our needs, it was the Kellenberger that fulfilled all of our requirements. It is now delivering on all the promises made and producing the required volumes of high-quality precision components.”

PDQ’s Kellenberger universal CNC grinding machine is optimised for the highly efficient grinding of small to medium-size batches, having been configured for use in situations where high levels of adaptability, speed and precision are required.

The machine’s Z-axis movement uses traditional guideways to ensure a high level of damping, while the X-axis movement uses roller guideways for positioning that is free of ‘stick-slip’. Heidenhain high-precision nano-resolution linear scales are used for both axes.

Flexible operation

This Kellenberger machine was designed with two external grinding spindles and one internal grinding spindle, selected via a programable B axis. The machine’s swivelling workhead is suitable for both grinding between centres and for chucked work, with further flexibility being provided by a manually operated swivelling upper table.

DFPFurthermore, the machine’s wheelhead is said to offer ‘excellent thermal stability characteristics’, thanks to the use of ‘optimised spindle bearings’ and liquid-cooled motors; and to minimise the negative thermal effects of coolant, the machine’s coolant tray is separated from the machine bed.

Control is via a Fanuc 0i CNC system designed to enable straightforward operation via the use of ‘user-friendly menu-prompting’, while ease of manual loading and unloading is ensured by the machine’s low base height. Quick set-ups are facilitated by the use of a ‘travelstick and handwheel’ arrangement.

The entire Kellenberger grinding machine range, along with other Hardinge grinding products — including Voumard, Hauser, Tschudin and USACH machines — are exclusively available in the UK and Ireland through DF Precision Machinery Ltd, which is also the exclusive UK distributor for Okamoto.

This Japanese manufacturer offers an extensive range of surface and profile grinders, as well as internal, cylindrical, vertical and rotary grinding machines — plus polishing products.

DF Precision Machinery is also the official global supplier of Jones & Shipman spare parts, service, and support. The company holds the original J&S records, BOMs, construction drawings, software and ‘the largest stock of J&S spare parts in the world’. The management and staff of DF Precision Machinery are ex-employees of Jones & Shipman.