Machine component manufacturer Precision Separators bought six computer numerical control (CNC) machines from machine industry company Hurco to manufacture and produce components for private company Klydon’s medical isotope facility MoF6.
“These components will be used at MoF6 as part of Klydon’s aerodynamic separation process, which separates components of a gas mixture or different isotopes of a specific gaseous compound based on the mass difference of gas components or isotopes,” explains Precision Separators production manager Christo Green, adding that these isotopes are used in the diagnostics of cancer research.
Green explains that more than 65 000 general engineering components – manufactured from stainless steel, aluminium, brass or plastic – need to be manufactured within 24 months, from the start date of the project to the delivery of the components and then to the separation plant.
Precision Separators – a subsidiary of Klydon – also aims to produce and manufacture high-quality parts in set time frames, to maintain security of the parts as well as to provide support for isotope plants similar to MoF6.
Hurco regional manager Christo Moolman explains that there is a huge gap in education and skills development for the machine tools and engineering industry, with most of the older-generation tool, mould and instrument makers retiring.
Moolman notes that the programming of Hurco machinery makes it easier for somebody with fundamental, but limited knowledge of machining to be trained faster to start operating and program the machines.
This skills gap, therefore, creates the need for new skill sets in the market, says Green.
“We can’t employ people who don’t have the adequate training and knowledge. This is also why each person who works at our machining plant is vetted before working on the machinery to complete the manufacturing process.”
Meanwhile, Green also explains that to start the component machining for MoF6, Hurco suggested a package that enabled Precision Separators to stay within the company’s project budget and timeously provide Precision Separators with the required machinery to begin operations in January, earlier this year.
“The starting tools for the facility were supplied by Hurco’s tooling partners industrial equipment supplier Multitrade and metalworking manufacturer Guhring,” says Moolman.
He enthuses there was no need for Precision Separators to incur additional costs for software programming of the CNC machines.
“From day one, Hurco’s operational and technical support has been exceptional,” Green reiterates.
Machines used at Precision Separators’ manufacturing plant include Hurco’s VM20i and VMX42Ti – with a maximum of five controls – on the milling side, Hurco’s TM6i – with a maximum of four controls – and TM8i, as well as the TMM8i live tool lathe, with a maximum of five controls.