High machinability delivers competitive edgeA leading manufacturer of flow control equipment for the petrochemical, oil and gas industries and nuclear power plants, Astava Instrumentation Solutions in the Netherlands produces instrument valves and manifolds for uncommonly demanding applications.
Component quality must be superior in every way, including type of base material. And in a very competitive industry, high levels of productivity and efficiency are critically important.
Faster machining, longer tool life
To meet those demands, Astava turned to Outokumpu high machinability Prodec bars. Provided by IMS, exclusive distributor of Prodec in the Benelux and Europe, Prodec has already made an impressive impact at Astava in a six-month trial.
“I read about Prodec’s faster machining speeds in a magazine article,” says Rob Gasthuis, Astava Operations Manager, “and we decided to give it a try. Our production efficiency has improved by 10 to 15%.”
One component the company makes contains more than 25 small parts. “It would normally take 2 minutes, 38 seconds to produce,” Gasthuis says. “With Prodec, it’s down to 2 minutes, 10 seconds. We’ve seen real time savings. Turning is faster, feeding is faster, everything is faster.”
Additional efficiency is anticipated as the Astava trial advances. In an upcoming visit from an Outokumpu Prodec expert, Astava equipment will be fine-tuned to maximize efficiency. With an infusion of technical expertise from Outokumpu, parameters and tooling will be adjusted to achieve optimal results.
Prodec also delivered cost savings in tool life. “We’re producing more product with the same tooling,” Gasthuis notes. That experience is supported by outcomes from V15 machining tests conducted in 2016. In those tests, Prodec achieved machining speeds of up to 300 m/minute, resulting in a doubled tool life compared to competing materials.
It’s not just about speed
Protecting the environment is a key concern in the oil and gas and nuclear power industries. Customers like those rely on Astava for high quality products formed from high quality materials. Prodec is an essential part of that formula. Machining at higher speeds helps to avoid built-up edges on inserts, and leads to a better surface quality and tolerances. In that way, Prodec delivers cost savings and quality.
And that’s why Astava is considering a big change. “As it stands now, we’re going to begin using Prodec exclusively,” Gasthuis says. “Between the cost savings and the improved tool life, it’s really making a difference in our operations.”