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Technology in Action


According to Parr, local applications support was a criti- cal factor because “Hardrock had no machine tools, no machinists and no idea where to start in establishing a manufacturing division.” Hardrock’s first machine was a Mazak Integrex e-420H-


II multitasking machining center. Te shop then added a Quick Turn Nexus (QTN) 450-II M CNC turning center with multitasking capability. Te Integrex e-420H-II gives the shop turning, milling, boring, drilling and other operational capabilities for complete part processing in single setups. Te machine stores up to 40 tools and features a 40-hp (30-kW), 4000-rpm turning spindle with full C-axis contouring, and it has a 40-hp, 12,000-rpm milling spindle with a travel of -30 to 210° in 0.0001° increments. Te QTN 450-II M packs a powerful 50-hp (37.3-kw),


2000-rpm integral turning spindle that generates 1760 ſt-lbs (2386 N•m) of torque, with full C-axis capability. With a 10-hp (7.5-kW), 4000-rpm rotary-tool milling spindle, the machine also allows for both milling and turning so that Hardrock can again process parts in single setups.


Zach Daniel, Hardrock’s machine shop supervisor, relies on a turning center capable of multitask- ing to machine challenging bent sub components.


rock such as granite or gneiss, as opposed to the costly alterna- tive of going around it. Te system also eliminates the need to cut paths across highways or run piping over rivers and makes it possible to drill around historical buildings and other surface structures that must remain undisturbed.


Learning the Manufacturing Drill For Hardrock’s first 11 years—the company was founded in


2002—other manufacturing companies built and sold its hori- zontal percussive-hammer drilling system as well as its other system innovations. As a result, all the fruits of Hardrock’s extensive R&D efforts and new inventions became readily available to anyone in the directional drilling business. Plus, there were problems with quality, delivery and other such is- sues typically associated with products manufactured offshore. In 2012, Cary Cooper, Hardrock’s founder and owner,


decided to manufacture the systems in-house and gain control over production operations. However, the plan required a criti- cal capability that Hardrock lacked: advanced CNC machining. Enter Travis Parr, current director of research and develop-


ment at Hardrock Directional Drilling Products and its new Hardrock Machine Shop. At the time, Parr was working for a CAM soſtware company, and Hardrock asked for his advice as to the type of machines he would recommend for producing its particular parts. Parr suggested Hardrock contact Mazak (Florence, KY)


at its Southeast Regional Headquarters and Technology Center in Suwanee, GA, which is not far from Winder.


38 Energy Manufacturing 2014


Putting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together Soon aſter the acquisition of the two Mazaks, Parr joined


the Hardrock team to bring together all the pieces of its fledgling manufacturing department puzzle. With the Mazaks, he and his team established a successful in-house production operation. And now, the Mazaks provide Hardrock with short machining cycle times, tight tolerances to ensure part qual- ity, high levels of repeatability and advanced part processing versatility. But most importantly, the shop can produce parts using fewer machine tools and do so at a much lower cost per part than could its former suppliers. About 32 individual parts make up a complete hammer sys-


tem, and all the shop’s part materials, such as 4150, ETD 50 and 4140, are hardened to at least 35 to 40 Rc


. Te shop’s total amount


of machined parts is split evenly between its two Mazaks, and cycle times can vary from 15 minutes to a few hours. Machining operations involved with producing parts for


hammer systems encompass front and back work milling, turning, boring and drilling. Te shop produces the vari- ous hammer system components in batches of 20 or so, and the machining department, with only two people, produces about 10 complete percussive hammer systems per month. “Our parts present some real challenges when it comes to


machining,” said Parr. “For one, the materials we use are hard and oſten have scaling as result of the casting process. Tese factors alone can really tax our machines and tooling. Ten, on top of the material toughness, we face part features—such as 3" [76-mm] diameter holes 30" [762-mm] deep, threaded 2° angled 9" [229-mm] OD part ends and multiple-angled holes in dome-shaped part surfaces—that further push our machin- ing limits. But the Mazaks handle it all with no problems.”


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