From AW Precision’s (AWP) humble beginnings in 1972, as a one man, single machine operation, the company has grown into a globally renowned high-tech business. From AWP’s inception, company founder Geoff Whitworth pursued a policy of manufacturing high-quality, cost-effective punches and dies and providing customers with a prompt efficient service. Now employing 121 people in an impressive 55,000 sq. ft. manufacturing and admin facility based in Rugby, AWP remains committed to upholding its early values.
Continuous investment in the best available machine tools, the employment of a skilled workforce, an ever increasing product range and the expansion of its subcontracting services, has allowed AWP to develop into a business that posted an impressive turnover of £8 million in 2014. Illustrating the company’s reputation, besides being awarded many other prestigious accolades, AWP was included in the inaugural publication of London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’.
Andrew Whitworth Operations Director explained. “In addition to AW Precision’s reputation for the quality of our products and services, much of our success can be attributed to the substantial expansion of our punch and die range and the fact that we serve a wide range of industrial sectors in the UK, Europe and North America. This high level of diversification means that when a particular sector or country experiences a down-turn, customers involved in other, busier industries or geographical areas keep us busy.
“In both our domestic marketplace and overseas, we now supply both standard and bespoke punch and die products to many leading companies involved in the automotive, rail, nuclear and general heavy engineering sectors as well as a growing number of electrical and white goods manufacturers. More than 75% of our sales are now made into highly competitive European markets, including France, Spain and Germany.”
To further improve the company’s subcontract capabilities and to enhance its high-precision proficiencies, the company recently invested in a Studer S33 Cylindrical Grinder.
Andrew Whitworth continued. “As we remain a family-owned business with 3 generations of the Whitworth family currently involved, we are able to react quickly to market-place challenges and opportunities. Ever increasing demand for high-precision, complex subcontract work, recently prompted a decision to further develop our capabilities and capacity in this area by investing in a high-quality cylindrical grinder.
Having briefly considered other options, mindful of the reputation of Studer Grinders and prepared with our list of requirements, we spoke with Mark Maurice, the owner of Studer agent - Micronz. Together we were able to specify and negotiate a price for a Studer S33 cylindrical grinder that not only met, but also exceeded our current needs. As the advanced capabilities of the machine also made it ‘future-proof’ and able to handle all foreseeable work, we were happy to place an order.”
“After receiving in-depth training at Studer’s HQ in Switzerland, our 3 skilled Studer operators have found the new grinder easy to operate and the Studer software to be extremely intuitive. Given the Studer S33’s high specification and the fact that it is now installed within a dedicated, temperature controlled department, we are now able to meet customers’ most challenging specifications in terms of dimensional accuracy and surface finish.
“Our on-going commitment to investing in the best available machine tools and our ability to manufacture around the clock enables us to respond rapidly to our customers’ urgent needs and to satisfy demanding lead times. Our new Studer S33 is now turning out high volumes of premium quality work and has enabled us to expand into additional areas and to meet the growing demand for ultra-high precision subcontract services.”
With distance between centres of 650mm and 1,000mm the Studer S33 CNC Universal Cylindrical Grinding Machine is ideal for the precision grinding of medium-sized workpieces in both individual and series production.
A solid Granitan S103 machine base provides excellent dampening properties that aid workpieces surface quality and help extend grinding wheel life. The thermal characteristics of Granitan also mean that temperature fluctuations are efficiently compensated for, leading to first class component dimensional accuracy.
The machine's longitudinal and cross slide, V and flat guideways are moulded directly onto the machine base and are treated with a non-abrasive Granitan S200 slideway coating, whilst the patented knobbed structure of the guideways largely eliminates the slip-stick effect or the floating of slides that can occur in conventional arrangements.
Rapid changing from the use of centres to live spindle grinding is achieved by withdrawing the tailstock to its park position to free up space for internal grinding. Reference points from grinding wheels to dressing tool and workpiece can be registered quickly with the help of Quick-Set, Studer's software-controlled set-up device.
Studer's turret wheelhead, with two motor spindles and an internal grinding attachment, enables the grinding of more complex workpiece geometries in a single clamping. The high-quality motor spindles that contribute to grinding accuracy are manufactured entirely in-house by Studer. Thanks to the machine's geometry, the entire distance between centres can be traversed with all grinding wheels.
The S33’s universal workhead enables both live spindle grinding and grinding between centres. All low-maintenance workheads are equipped with roller bearings and feature excellent roundness accuracy figures. The machine can also be fitted with a specially designed chuck workhead for chuck applications. Fine adjustment allows for taper corrections within the 1um range throughout live spindle operations.
If required, the S33 tailstock can be equipped with a hydraulically actuated barrel retraction for workpiece changeover, whilst a pneumatic lifting process facilitates movement during set-up and resetting. As with the S33 tailstock, the machine's workhead is also equipped with a pneumatic lifting device to facilitate movement during set-up and resetting.
The Studer S33 uses a Fanuc 0i-TD CNC control with integrated PC and 15in touch screen. All controls are clearly and ergonomically arranged, while an important role is played by the manual control unit, which facilitates set-up close to the grinding process. The user interface, Studerwin, plus the software modules of Studergrind, create a stable programming environment and contribute to the overall efficiency of the machine.