The last 14 years have seen a growth unrivalled in the sector with the number of laboratories in the UK and worldwide having increased from 13 in 1994 to 107 today.
Bodycote provides a full range of mechanical testing in each laboratory's dedicated machine shop. Preparing the specimens is often the slowest part of the process and to counteract this, Bodycote continuously invest in the state of the art equipment. This responsibility rests with Andrew Stevenson, Engineering Manger - Europe, based at the company's recently opened test facility at Eccles near Manchester. He says, "Preparing materials for testing is critical to our services and the initial sawing out of the specimen is vital. You only have one chance to extract the required size of piece which has to be cut precisely so the specimen can be accurately finished and machined. When we purchased our very first machines in 1992 we only had 4 laboratories, little did we realise how much the reliability of the Mega saws over time would help to produce the mutual growth of both our companies."
The Eccles facility undertakes work for companies in Lancashire and surrounding counties, certificating materials for products as varied as oil wellhead valves and jet engine turbine blades. It tests a wide range of steels, cast irons and ferrous and non-ferrous alloys. Samples of sawing come in a variety of solid and hollow section shapes in sizes ranges from 25mm square to 1200mm long.
Pat Stokes, European Marketing Manager, comments that testing is a vital activity for many industries. It provides a means of validating products, controlling quality and ensuring specification compliance.
The use of the latest sawing and test house equipment allows customer to outsource non-core but vitally important testing requirements giving direct access to state of the art technology and a skilled and experienced workforce.
Mr Stevenson placed great stress on the technical and service back up provided by Prosaw's experienced team. The facility to call Prosaw's experienced technical back up team, should a problem arise, was particularly useful and he estimated that in at least 60% of the times, Bodycote were able to get machines up and running without the need for a visit by a Prosaw engineer. Having used local contractors, Bodycote now take advantage of Prosaw's annual service contract facility which Mr.Stevenson has found to be the most cost effective solution.
He continues, "The machines are rugged, have the flexibility to operate over a wide range of materials from mild steel to the super alloys and with the cutting envelope of up to 760x450mm represent a large capacity for the money. Our success with the initial purchase of machines persuaded us to invest in a further 50 Megas for our other UK and worldwide laboratories which with tooling and other services, represent a total investment approaching £750000."