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Flying high with ITC

ITC Tooling : 19 January, 2007  (Company News)
The continual challenges of the aerospace industry are nothing new to Hudson Engineering of Nailsea near Bristol; since its inception in 1980 the company has worked in the aerospace sector producing components for a number of companies.
Hudson has always strived to remain at the forefront of technology, utilising CNC technology since the early 1980's. The eight employee company works with a host of manufacturers including Smiths Aerospace, Page Aerospace. It has also acted as a second-tier supplier to BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin, to name a few.

Hudson manufactures mechanical components for altimeters, engine displays, glass panels and numerous cockpit parts as well as parts for the prestigious Apache helicopter project. Such is the emphasis upon aerospace work; the company has implemented the aerospace quality standard AS9100 to accompany its TS157 issue four and ISO9001 status.

Despite specialising in the aerospace sector, Hudson also conducts work for the medical, telecommunications, electronics and general manufacturing industries with customer products ranging from weather systems for oil rigs, wave guides and support brackets for the satellite industry. The company has also worked with the local university on development of a test project.

The diversity of the work sees Hudson machine aluminium, stainless steel, copper and brass plus a complete range of plastics and epoxy resins in quantities ranging from one-off's to batches of several hundred. The company employs six machine tools, which includes an array of Bridgeport VMC's with various bed lengths.

General Manager Mark Goessens says: 'The aerospace industry has been through some turbulent times of late, and we havemaintained our business by providing exceptional service and product quality.'

With regards to the GBP 400,000 turnover company maintaining exceptional product quality, tooling supplier ITC of Tamworth has played a significant role. Goessens continues: 'We have been predominantly using the 2041 Cyber series cutter since its introduction. The cutter has been excellent; and on aluminium in particular, it has saved the need for a separate rougher and finisher, as it performs equally well as either.'

Hudson uses the 12mm diameter 2 flute solid carbide cutter with a 55 degree right hand helix as a multipurpose cutter throughout its facility. The 12mm 2041 cuts aluminium at depths of 12mm running at 10,000 rev/min with a feed of up to 5m/min. The 2041 has significantly reduced cycle times throughout Hudson Engineering.

'The 2041 cutter is very versatile; it provides us with at least 70+ hours of cutting; despite it being specifically for aluminium, we have recently used it on a number of copper and brass workpieces with considerable success. We have also utilised the Hanita miniature range on copper components as ITC was the only supplier capable of providing us with the required cutter,' continues Goessens. One particular component, a copper heat sink required several slots 2mm wide by 10mm deep, which caused considerable concern for surface finish and cutter life. Hudson used the 7N22 Hanita extra long neck 1.9mm diameter end mill from ITC. The cutter which ranges from 0.4mm to 3mm in 0.1mm increments is necked to provide clearance when cutting. Incrementally cutting at depths of 2mm, the clearance proved invaluable when measuring surface finish. ITC has also provided Hudson with a necked back version of the 2041 and the 2031 series, which are available with a range of corner radii. The 2031 series is necked as standard and takes advantage of the same geometry but is longer with a shorter length of cut.

Both cutters have proven invaluable when Hudson produced a nickel plated aluminium component with the heat sink machined into the part. The 2041 cut the slots at 10,000 rev/min. Hudson utilises a compliment of solid carbide tooling from ITC, including drills, taps, and a multitude of cutting tools. Solid carbide tooling is a necessity for Hudson as a considerable amount of its work is with epoxy resins, a material that contains glass.

'Our customers demand exceptional quality; we have been able to enhance our quality further by the surface finishes and tool life provided by ITC cutters. Before the introduction of ITC tooling and its 2041 cutter in particular, we were using cutters at 4,000 rev/min with feed rates of 1m/min. The ITC cutters have dramatically increased our speeds and feeds, which has undoubtedly enhanced our productivity,' Goessens continues.

'Service levels are also a major concern to us, and the level of service provided by ITC is exceptional. The sales engineer is vastly experienced and works with us to provide a solution to any problems or queries that may occur. We get great technical assistance as the engineer has an in depth knowledge of our work,' concludes Goessens.

The company makes extensive use of the Cyber tooling range from ITC.
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