Adding capacity, capabilities, floor space.
In the case of Strucmac, the company has built a job shop business based on flexibility and breadth. It’s a business designed to handle parts, sub-assemblies or complete products for its clients. The company offers a multitude of metalworking services and disciplines that makes it hard for a client to look elsewhere. Founder and CEO Andre Hattingh’s attitude of ‘multitasking’ for the client has paid dividends over the years, and the increased services that have either been implemented in the last few years or are already past the planning stage, have put the company in a unique position.
The latest project that is currently being implemented at the Elandsfontein, Gauteng-based company is the installation of a second horizontal boring mill that can machine large workpieces.
“Originally, much of our work came in for machining small to medium size components. This still accounts for a large portion of the business and hence the continuing investment in the latest CNC equipment. However, with most of our clientele in the mining and construction industries we were getting more and more requests to manufacture and refurbish larger workpieces and components that in some cases can weigh many tons,” explained Strucmac’s owner and founder Andre Hattingh.
An example of the Fermat WFT 13R horizontal boring mill that is being installed at Strucmac. The machine has five linear axes and a rotary B-axis, travels in the XYZ are 10 100mm by 3 500mm and 700mm respectively, with its W and ram travel V-axis having travels of 800mm and 700mm respectively. The machine has been equipped with two tables, one with a load size of 40 tons and the other with a 20 ton capacity, complete with Siemens 840Ds, 53/77kW spindle motor, a 60 position ATC for the tools and a full house of Renishaw probing systems
“Large-part machining presents different challenges. You can define large-part machining as any component that is too heavy or bulky for a single human being to move the part to another location quickly, or too large to fit within the work zone of the most commonly available CNC machine tools. Parts such as these could apply to almost any industry, though aircraft, construction, power generation, mining and oil drilling are ready examples of industries that commonly have a need for very large machined parts. In large-part machining, much of the challenge has to do with performing as much of the work as possible in a single setup. Today 5-axis or 3+2 machining is often required to let a machining center reach many of the features of the part in a single setup.”
“We invested in our first ‘large’ CNC machine in 2009 – a Sanco SDM 4225 L, a bridge type CNC double column machining center, supplied by WD Hearn Machine Tools. The machine has a table size of 4 000mm by 2 000mm and can take a load of 12 tons. This was followed shortly by another large Sanco CNC machine, but this time a horizontal boring machine. The table size on this machine is 1 400mm by 1 600mm and it can take a load of seven tons.”
“In 2014 we went big. We invested in a new Skoda FCW 140 horizontal floor borer that came with a Siemens 840DSL control and an additional 3 000mm by 3 000mm rotary table, that can take a load of 60 tons, for full simultaneous machining.”
“The working range of the Skoda FCW 140 horizontal floor borer includes a spindle diameter of 140mm, which is large by any standards, a 10 000mm X-axis travel and 5 000mm Y-axis travel, but Skoda can build to customer requirements. The Z+W axis is 1 700mm, the Quill (W-axis) is 800mm and the Z-axis (RAM) is 900mm.”
Strucmac have added extra floor space to accommodate the Fermat
“Large components such as a gearbox housing for a drag line are now machined on the Skoda. This is just one example. We have machined track frames, turbine housings, mining buckets, ball crusher flanges, cone crusher bodies, conveyor booms, rack arm pedestals, cutter drums, all components or products that are bulky and heavy and require precision engineering. And it is not just new components we also recondition, repair and remanufacture, where necessary.”
Fermat WFT 13R horizontal boring mill
“The success we have had with the Skoda has prompted us to make a sizeable investment in a new Fermat WFT 13R horizontal boring mill that is being installed by the WD Hearn Machine Tools team.”
“Fermat Machine Tools, based in the Czech Republic, is one of Europe’s leading boring machine tool builders. They launched the WFT 13R CNC horizontal boring mill at the EMO 2017 exhibition in Hannover, Germany. Fermat describes the new universal horizontal boring mill as representing the latest technology in table-type horizontal borers currently available. The machine combines power, the ability to absorb high axial forces and has the most precise table configuration in its category.”
The WFT 13R has five linear axes and a rotary B-axis. Travels in the XYZ are 10 100mm by 3 500mm and 700mm respectively, with its W and ram travel V-axis having travels of 800mm and 700mm respectively.
The T40 table size is 3 000mm by 3 000mm with a load of 40 ton and the T20 table size is 1 800mm by 2 600mm and has a 20 ton load capacity and both incorporate zero-point work clamping system, incorporates two planetary gearboxes, two servo motors and two pinions that operate in a master and slave relationship that prevents backlash and limits issues such as the effects of stiction. A fully servo-controlled rotary table option enables continuous B-axis rotation for simultaneous contouring in synchronisation with X, Y, Z, V or W axes.
The headstock contains the 130mm diameter spindle which is powered by a 41kW drive. During metal cutting the rigid, stress-relieved and high rigidity column adopts Z-axis movement and the workpiece is clamped on the rotary table that travels in the X-axis. The Y-axis ballscrew is 80mm diameter to further contribute to precision and rigidity.
At least 2 000 cubic metres of soil had to be removed and water table issues had to be overcome
Tool change is carried out through the Fermat Robotics 105 system that enables tools to be exchanged quickly and directly into the working spindle or to a pre-defined position when an automatic milling head is in service.
Large workpieces up to 40 ton
Recently appointed Managing Director of WD Hearn Machine Tools Graeme Cooper continues: “From the outset, Fermat Machinery has benefited from the solid professional ethics of family and friends to guide its excellence. Through strong growth and strategic acquisitions in the Czech Republic and the United States, Fermat has become a leading manufacturer of the most powerful and accurate horizontal boring and milling machines and cylindrical grinding machines, providing machine tools for all major markets worldwide.”
“Towards the end of last year we completed the installation of an Emco Mecof Dynamill-S 5-axis gantry style mill, one of the largest 5-axis machining centers to be installed in South Africa, at Ford South Africa’s Silverton Assembly Plant. While that was happening our next mega project was well underway, the installation of an absolute monster 12m horizontal floor borer for Strucmac. We signed off the machine via Zoom, and the Fermet WFT13R left the Czech Republic and recently arrived in South Africa and we have begun installation,” continued Cooper.
“The machine has been equipped with two tables, one with a load size of 40 tons and the other with a 20 ton capacity, complete with Siemens 840Ds, 53/77kW spindle motor, a 60 position ATC for the tools and a full house of Renishaw probing systems. There are so many options and features on this machine it’s hard to list them all, however we are particularly keen to see the functionality from all the additional heads and the auto head changer, purchased with the machine. A big thank you to Andre Hattingh for putting his trust in us again,” explained Cooper.
Celebrating 25 years
“Last year the company celebrated its 25th anniversary. From starting off with 100m² of factory space and five employees we have now graduated to 14 800m² of space and 170 employees,” said Hattingh proudly.
“Strucmac, a name which comes from the words structural and mechanical engineering, was established in 1995 as a general engineering machine shop when we purchased a second hand turret lathe. We were a jobbing shop and were prepared to take on anything that came our way, or we sourced. This has changed now because we have specialised to a certain extent but not in a particular metalworking discipline. We still believe in being able to offer a client a complete one-stop service so that he does not have to take his components or products elsewhere to have them finished. I give my own example whereby I have to rely on someone else for my laser cutting services.”
More than machining
“While I have focused on the machining side of the Strucmac business, simply machining is not what the business is all about. Metalworking is traditionally divided into two main types of job shops. There are machine shops and fabrication/service shops. Increasingly, job shop customers are looking to work with fewer companies. They are driving a move toward integration of these two processes. To satisfy this trend, many machine shops subcontract with fabrication shops and vice-versa to keep clients happy. While that works well for some, a few shops have abandoned sub-contracting in favour of putting machining and fabricating under their own control.”
Plate, sheet and beam cutting and profiling
“Our sister company Bono Steel was initially established in 2006 to satisfy the machining company’s own needs. Such has been the growth of this standalone company involved in the processing of a range of materials that it now does not operate on a one-client basis anymore. The company has also increased its metal cutting and bending services that it offers and boasts a whole host of independent clients not related to its sister company.”
“There are so many options and features on this machine it’s hard to list them all, however we are particularly keen to see the functionality from all the additional heads and the auto head changer, purchased with the machine.”
“In the last few years we have added a Trumph 6kW fibre laser with a 6 000mm x 2 500mm pallet changing bed that cuts from 0.5mm to 25mm mild steel and stainless steel to the company capabilities.”
“We then purchased a 120amp plasma machine that has a 10m by 2.5m bed and can cut mild steel from 5mm to 16mm thick.”
“This was followed by the purchase of a Voortman V630 drilling system with V1050 bandsaw combination for automatic cutting, drilling and marking. It can cut beam profile section 1 130mm by 500mm by 13 000mm long, drill three sides simultaneously and mark four sides simultaneously.”
“This was followed shortly afterwards with the purchase of an Ermaksan Power-Bend Pro 6-axis press brake with a hydro mechanical crowning system, a bending length of 4 100mm and a stroke of 600mm and is prepped for a tandem press brake to be installed alongside.”
“This year we have added a new 1 000amp submersible welding station that will be used to weld low and medium carbon steels, low alloy high-strength steels, quenched and tempered steels and many stainless steels, all materials that we work with.”
“We can now profile cut up to 300mm thick, laser cut up to 20mm thick, plasma cut
up to 50mm thick and bevel edge up to 150mm. This is besides all our machining and fabricating services.”
“We have had to add extra floor space to accommodate the Fermat and to do this we have probably removed at least 2 000 cubic metres of soil and overcome the water table issues. However, we have added capability and capacity. We believe we must be one of the most widely equipped general engineering companies in South Africa offering a wide selection of services and processes.”
For further details contact Strucmac on TEL: 011 822 2399 or visit www.strucmac.co.za