Johnford ST130 at Xcel Superturn

It’s always pleasing to hear a ‘good-news’ story in the UK machining industry and just such a ‘good-news’ label can certainly be applied to the latest news emerging from X-Cel Superturn, the Yorkshire-based global manufacturer of precision machined components. X-Cel Superturn specialise in producing precision machined components and predominantly support the petrochemical (including down hole drilling, surface, and subsea applications) and power generation industries.

Recent exponential business growth has been experienced to the point that 40% cent of the company’s turnover today is driven through exports to Brazil, Asia and the US and this has, in turn, encouraged the group to invest in new state of the art CNC Machinery to supply its ever growing and flourishing customer base. Currently the group has over 100 employees spread across three sites in Yorkshire (X-Cel AMP, X-Cel Atlas, and X-Cel Precision) and one in Houston (X-Cel USA) supplying precision engineered components to the oil and gas industries.

With their USA base located strategically close to most of the Oil and Gas OEM’s in Houston, X-Cel Superturn have ready access to clients who are eager for their ‘Down Hole Tools’ for drilling in oil wells and gas fields. These ‘Down Hole Tools’ are manufactured from high nickel content materials which can be tough to machine due to the nature of the material. At their manufacturing facility in Sheffield they have a wide range of machines for the manufacture of these tools, including VMCs and HMCs and both small and large turning centres.

Recently X-Cel Superturn decided to invest in a new lathe and they turned to regular supplier, Chorley, Lancs, based Design & Technical Services Ltd (DTS) for advice to help them make that purchase. X-Cel Superturn MD Andrew Taylor had already carried out his own market research and was considering purchasing the Johnford ST 130 equipped with a 3 metre bed length that would enable his business to turn larger and longer parts between centres.

As part of the evaluation process, DTS arranged that they accompany Andrew and travel over to Paris to observe an end-user working with a similar machine, in order that Andrew could gain unbiased, first-hand input on the capabilities of the machine. Upon his return Andrew placed an order for the Johnford ST 130 – having been convinced it was ideal for their manufacturing plant.

Andrew comments, “The Johnford ST 130 machine was extremely well built and this is really important to us as we can take heavy cuts on difficult materials when turning our ‘Down Hole Tools’. The trip to France proved to me that this machine was just right for us.

It was also a contributory factor in reaching my decision that DTS were to be our supplier, as we’ve bought Correa bed mills from them in recent years and been extremely impressed with not only the product but the DTS support and back-up too, which we’ve always found excellent. We did compare and contrast the Johnford ST 130 lathe with other manufacturers before we ordered but ultimately felt that the technical capabilities and the cost of the Johnford machine far outweighed all other competitor products”.

In conclusion and on a lighter note: – it’s not always about ‘drilling’ for profit for Andrew Taylor and X-Cel Superturn, on the odd occasion they get a chance to be charitable too. In August 2102 they were approached by TASTE, a charity that works to give rural communities access to safe drinking water. Andrew Taylor explains further: “TASTE approached us to see if we had any used drill bits that we could donate to them. Once they’d explained what the charity was about and how they help communities in Nigeria, we found what they do so interesting and worthwhile, we decided it would be better to provide three new drill bits instead. One of these drill bits will bore up to six 30 metre holes, as each of these boreholes provide water for around 2,000 people, the collaboration looks set to improve the living standards of thousands of families in Nigeria”.

Ben Udejiofo, chief executive of TASTE said: “We are so grateful that a significant company like X-Cel Superturn is keen to work with a small charity like TASTE, but through similar partnership with other companies, TASTE could help many more communities thousands of miles away”.

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