Founded only five years ago, Grayline Engineering Ltd is a subcontract machine shop located in Woodbridge that typically reflects the general subcontract sector, manufacturing ‘anything and everything’ according to Managing Director Graham Chattenton.
The majority of work undertaken by the Suffolk company generally comprises of small dimension batch and production runs of turned parts with a mix of larger parts in small quantities. The plant list at the East Coast company includes several machining centres, sliding head turning centres and fixed head lathes. Central to the company’s growth is a strategy to invest in machine tools from South Coast machine tool specialists Dugard.
When asked why the company started purchasing machine tools from Dugard, Managing Director Mr Graham Chattenton says: “I had worked with Dugard machines before when I worked at other companies and they have always been helpful, and I have dealt with them for many years. If there has ever been a service issue or a problem with the machines, Dugard has stepped up to the mark and I have always been really happy with the results. When it comes to other machine tool suppliers, you don’t always get the answers you want. So, at this company, buying Dugard has been a ‘no-brainer’ for me.”
It is for this reason that when Grayline was set up, it invested in two Dugard 32 machines. As Dugard’s previous sliding headstock CNC offering with a twin spindle, twin-turret Y-axis configuration with 11 driven tools and nine turning tools, the machines have performed impeccably. Despite the Dugard 32 machines performing with distinction at Grayline, as they do for Dugard customers nationwide, the Brighton-based machine-tool industry leaders recently added the Hanwha range of high-performance sliding head lathes with guide bush capability and bar capacity from 6mm up to 45mm. Compared to the previous Dugard 32 series, the Hanwha machines are a leap in performance, productivity, capability and technology, all whilst retaining a cost-effective price point that is built upon the foundation of an extremely robust machine platform.
When it came to investing in additional turning capacity to complement the company’s current Dugard 32 sliding headstock machines, this small subcontractor naturally turned to Dugard once again.
The majority of the machines on the shop floor at Grayline Engineering Ltd are now Dugard. As Mr Chattenton continues: “The Dugard machines have been brilliant and I can’t knock the company in any way.” Taking a closer look at the latest addition to the company’s plant list, the SMEC SL2000ASY turning centre with a Hydrafeed 65 barfeed unit, Mr Chattenton states: “I spoke to engineers that I have known as friends from many years and asked them what machines they would suggest. They give me a range of different machines, but they all reported the same thing with regards to the SMEC brand, it’s a great machine that never goes wrong – and as a small business, that is exactly what you want; machines that never go wrong and are extremely reliable. I bought the SMEC SL2000ASY machine, I’ve had it for two years and it has never missed a beat.”
From a specification perspective, the Dugard SMEC SL2000ASY is sub-spindle turning centre with Y-axis machining capabilities. With a swing over bed of 650mm, a maximum machining diameter of 395mm and a maximum machining length of 450mm, this 8-inch chuck machine with a Hydrafeed 65 bar feeding unit provides exceptional rigidity, performance, capability and flexibility. The machine is the perfect complement to the existing Dugard 32 sliding head turning centres. With a larger machining capacity than the sliding head machines, the SMEC SL2000ASY has a powerful 11/18.5kW spindle motor with a maximum spindle speed of 4500rpm and a 5.5/7.5kW spindle motor on the sub-spindle. Offering impressive material removal rates with effective swarf removal from the slant bed design; this is complemented by the driven tooling unit on the SMEC SL2000ASY that achieves a spindle speed of 5000rpm from the 3.7/5.5kW continuous live tooling motor.
Continuing on the purchase of the SMEC SL2000ASY slant bed machine, Mr Chattenton concludes: “The staff at Dugard are always quick to come out to see us to make sure that we are getting everything we need to do the job. We can pick up the phone and get all the answers we need. Overall, I think the Dugard machines are brilliant.”