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March

Sheffield Forgemasters invest in latest milling equipment

17 March 2009

Sheffield Forgemasters' project management company, Vulcan SFM, has invested a six figure sum in new milling equipment to expand the business' pattern making portfolio.

Vulcan SFM, a subsidiary of SFIL established in 2006 and specialising in design, manufacturing and project management, has been working to create a modern manufacturing base at Sheffield Forgemasters. 

The new 25ft x 35ft Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling machine, which is based on the River Don site, is part of an ongoing investment project by Vulcan to install new plant and equipment and help to refurbish existing machinery.

Under the leadership of engineering director Steve Smith, the Vulcan team secured the new £160,000 high-performance Italian built CNC milling machine which can create complex three dimensional wooden patterns, which are used to form the sand moulds for Forgemasters' world famous castings.

The investment sees new skills being transferred to the SFIL workforce with fully qualified pattern maker Andrew Harnston undergoing a training programme on the new machine. 

Andrew will learn to use the complicated computer programmes to first create a mesh image of the pattern on a computer screen, which will then be converted into a full size model carved by the milling machine from a wooden block or composite material. 

Geoff Spriggs, pattern shop manager at Sheffield Forgemasters said: "The new machine will significantly improve the capacity of the company to handle smaller, more specialised jobs as well as the traditional huge patterns we currently make.

"Historically the company has used traditional patternmaking skills to make our patterns. This investment will allow us to use this brand new process to increase our patternmaking output, particularly on the smaller size patterns." 

Vulcan has already helped install a new £250,000 Italian-built bandsaw for the south machine shop, completed the re-design and rebuild of a large 1960's lathe, extensive repairs to forge cranes and the manufacture and installation of a snow grinder in the melt shop. 

It is also working on the ongoing installation of Forgemasters' brand new 4,000 tonne open die forging press which has seen a further £6m of inward investment at the historic site.