Established in 2008 during the worst recession of modern times, Rubitec Engineering Ltd has invested in a variety of machine tools to undertake everything from CNC milling and turning to 3D modelling, gear cutting, anodising and more. To meet the ever diversifying demands of industry, the subcontract manufacturer has recently purchased a Victor Vturn NP20 CNC turning centre from GM CNC Machine Tools.
With a facility near the centre of Hull, Rubitec has 28 machine tools, but the new Vturn NP20 CNC is the first Victor brand machine the company has acquired. Commenting upon the acquisition, Andy Shores, the Managing Director of Rubitec Engineering says: “We are very pleased with the acquisition from GM CNC. The machine has cut our runtimes down and it’s a nice feeling to have a level of support that ensures with just one phone call, we can have everything we need.”
The new Victor Vturn NP20 machine may be the first machine of this brand on the shop floor at Rubitec Engineering, but it’s not the first machine purchased from GM CNC. Alluding to whether this influenced the purchasing decision, Mr Shores has no doubt: “We have a history of buying used machines from GM CNC and this influenced our decision to buy the Victor machine. As soon as I found out that GM CNC was supplying Victor machines, there was no question when it was time to get a new CNC lathe, GM CNC was where I would go. They offer brilliant support and they are a great company to deal with. The maintenance costs with most machine tool brands are excessively high and there are very few that provide a good level of service, with GM CNC we have a company that provides service and support at a justifiable cost and this makes them a company we truly trust.”
Commenting on laying the foundations for the business, Mr Shores says: “We started the business with a 600sq/ft unit, a CNC mill and a lathe and within 5 to 6 years we had four units on the industrial estate. In 2015, we looked to bring it all under one roof and we acquired our current facility. We now have a complete machine shop that enables us to service the needs of customers in the oil & gas, military and white goods sectors. As a subcontract manufacturer, we do a lot of work for the offshore sector and this means we machine a lot of exotic and difficult materials, we don’t like to say no to customers.”
Commenting on why the company needed the Victor Vturn NP20, Mr Shores says: “We had an ageing turning centre of similar capacity and capability to the Victor, but it was unreliable and even though we service a lot of our machines, the maintenance costs were escalating. We needed a new machine with a compact footprint and Victor fitted the bill.”
Looking closer at the specifications of the Victor Vturn NP20, it has a 52mm through spindle bar capacity. However, with the innovative design and the slant bed construction, the Victor NP20 offers 650mm swing over the bed and this provides 320mm maximum turning diameter. When combined with the 520mm distance between centres, the compact NP20 packs a punch, especially with the main spindle that generates 7.5/11/15kW of spindle power. This compact machine with a spacious envelope is perfect for manufacturers that are challenged by floor area issues.
Alluding to this, Mr Shores says: “It’s difficult to believe, but the Victor Vturn NP20 is 1.5m shorter in length than the old machine with the same work envelope. The previous machine had a lot of wasted space on the Z axis and a bulky spindle head. The NP20 has the same Z axis and more power from a smaller footprint. Whilst we didn’t purchase the machine with a barfeed, we have just won several contracts that require batch quantities high enough to justify a barfeed. The floorspace being saved by the NP20 means that we can easily add a barfeed to this machine for running longer batches.”
Despite the compact area, the Victor NP20 has a total weight of 4 tonnes with a single piece meehanite casting that demonstrates its potential for improving precision levels and surface finishes for end users. Furthermore, this platform provides the opportunity for heavy material removal rates that can further enhance productivity levels whilst retaining this impeccable level of precision and quality that the Victor brand is renowned for.
Discussing this, Mr Shores says: “This machine has replaced an older machine that was getting to the point where it was struggling with surface finishes, especially on the exotic materials. This Victor machine has a lot of torque and it is very well constructed. We push our machines to the limit and we run them as hard as we can. We are machining a lot of duplex, stainless steel, inconel and hastelloy, and as a company, we don’t say ‘no’ – but this machine can take everything we throw at it, and for a machine with such a small footprint, this is impressive.”
Considering the attributes of the machine that influenced the selection, the compact footprint of just 1930mm wide proved a perfect fit for Rubitec. Within this area is a single spindle design with C axis capability and driven tools on a robust BMT tool turret. The sturdy tool turret has 12 mounted tooling stations that can index in less than a second to reduce non cutting times. The driven tooling has a spindle speed of 4200rpm as standard with up to 6000rpm as an option with up to 2kW of power.
With regards to the milling capabilities on the new Victor Vturn NP20 machine installed at this East Yorkshire business, Mr Shores continues: “We mill a lot of flats, hexagon’s, PCD’s and standard milling operations – and the machine is ideal for this type of work. The stability and kinematics of the Victor Vturn NP20 have increased productivity by at least 20% compared to our other machines. A major benefit is the improved tool life. The rigid tool turret and powerful coolant supply have improved the tool life on our milling tools by over 30%. The overall machine construction has also helped to increase tool life for the turning tools by 30%. We have 13 lathes of numerous brands and aside from one machine that is a lot bigger than the Victor Vturn NP20, none of our other machines compete with the NP20 on rigidity and tool life improvements.”
Supplied with the recognised FANUC CNC control interface with a manual guide for intuitive use, the Victor NP20 was supplied as standard with the 3 step warning light, hydraulic chuck and soft jaws, chip conveyor, tool holders, coolant flush on the Z-axis with fully enclosed splash guarding. From an optional perspective, the Victor NP20 is available with a manual tailstock with power quill, manual or automatic tool presetter, part catcher, power chuck, air conditioning for electrical cabinets, high-pressure coolant, oil skimmer, oil mist collector and much more. Concluding on the service from GM CNC, Mr Shores concludes: “On a score out of 10, I would certainly give GM CNC 10 out of 10. We trust GM CNC, its staff and levels of service implicitly. This trust has been build through many years of working together and witnessing a level of support that has not yet been met by other brands. Furthermore, the reputation of the Victor brand is outstanding and in the short period that we have owned the Vturn NP20, we can appreciate why.”