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Toolspec Manufacturing is a supplier of specialist parts that involve precision manipulation and welding during their manufacture, with its particular expertise being in the production of complex welded sub-assemblies manufactured from hollow section and tubular materials. Typical products include under-chassis cross body braces for cars, complex door assemblies, fender stays, safety cages, cab and window grab handles for heavy-duty vehicles such as tractors and earth-moving equipment, together with hydraulic brake pipes and coolant pipes for a variety of vehicle types. Until recently, the company favoured

hydraulic tube benders, however with these it was typically taking its tube bending specialists over an hour to get a machine ready for producing a complex part, which then demanded multiple trial runs and readjustments before a part could be produced that met specification. In addition, process variables such as hydraulic fluid temperature and pressure can vary during a work shift, making it challenging to maintain bend consistency throughout a production run. Following investigation into alternative tube bending technologies, the company

decided that all-electric represented the best way forward and so turned to machinery designer Unison. The two new all-electric tube benders supplied are 50mm Breeze models,

equipped with multi-stack tool heads designed for fast, easy tool changeover. Unison has also fitted these with its laser-controlled springback correction system, designed to accurately measure bend angles as they are produced and automatically apply any necessary correction to compensate for the tendency of tubes to spring back slightly after being bent. Furthermore, the machines have been networked to Toolspec’s CAD facilities and to a ROMER portable coordinate measuring machine (CMM) that is used to ensure consistent production quality. The bending machines can either be programmed manually or by importing data from CAD models that are created by Toolspec or supplied by the customer. Data obtained by the CMM from the first manufactured part is used, if necessary, to correct any errors and to automatically adjust the bending machine so that the second and all subsequent parts are manufactured correctly. Howard Dean, Toolspec’s operations director, commented: “On the Unison machines, set-up time for a new part is minimal – and tool changeover only takes us about 10 minutes – compared to hours with our hydraulic tube benders.” Of additional benefit, operators do not need specialist tube bending skills. Toolspec is now able to produce prototype parts to customer specification within

about 30 minutes, and can handle volume production of parts with tolerances as tight as 1mm, demanding bends that are accurate to within 0.25 of a degree. One immediate result of this new capability is that the company has secured a

major contract from a prestigious agricultural vehicle manufacturer for tractor rear window grab handles.


Technology from Curtis Instruments has resulted in the development of electric racing bikes that are not only clean and green, but are reliable. The company’s customer is Derby-based ARC EV Engineering. Its two principles, Brendan Rice and Matt Bagshawe, combined their love of motorbike racing with an interest in encouraging zero-carbon growth globally, resulting in the creation of a high performance superbike suited to racing championships on the Isle of Man TT circuit and the MotoE European Championship Cup spread over five events at circuits across Europe. For this, Curtis provided its E Series AC motor speed

controllers for the two High Performance Electric Motors from American company HPEVS (ARC is the European dealer). The two 1239E 500 amp controllers provide energy efficient control of AC motors performing vehicle traction drive duties, which are mounted onto a specially made water cooled base plate which


helps with heat dissipation. The huge 170V battery pack sits just in front of the rider and they curve their body around it when they’re riding the bike – at speeds of up to 160mph. The superbike operation is monitored by Curtis’

enGage VII colour LCD instrument panel. This on-board CAN compatible dash display seamlessly integrates with speed controllers and input devices to show high resolution vivid colour details of core functions like battery charge, wheel position, fuel and temperature levels. The ARC EV bike, ridden by Richie Welsh, won

at Silverstone in the final stage of the 2014 MotoE European Championship Cup.

Curtis Instruments

T: 01604 885201 Enter 202


Needing durable and high performing sugar cane loader machines to meet the demands of Egypt’s short cane harvesting season, Sugar and Integrated Industries Company (SIIC) turned to El Masry, an Eaton system partner. The existing loaders had insufficient torque to cope with the rough ground, so the drive unit was replaced with a new solution, including Eaton’s 74318 hydrostatic transmission drive and a hydrostatic drive gear. SIIC then asked for additional modifications. The key issue

was the long travelling distance needed to reach the cane farms; SIIC wanted a high-speed mode to cover distance quickly, but a low-speed high torque mode for manoeuvring within cane fields. The loader, however, needed to also be efficient and reliable. The main criteria for the new sugar cane loader included high levels of hydrodynamic system stability, effective contamination control, increased cooling capacity, improved condition monitoring, and the ability to rescue and move a disabled vehicle. El Masry proposed a solution that offered two-speed motor

control while addressing SIIC’s other requirements. The overall solution comprised two components: a hydrostatic transmission system for propulsion, and a hydraulic open-loop system for lifting. Components from Eaton’s medium-duty transmission product family were selected. The hydrostatic propulsion system was built around a tandem closed-loop variable displacement pump supplying a pair of medium-duty hydrostatic piston motors, each in turn driving a final hydrostatic drive gear for 26in rim wheel mounting. The Eaton variable-displacement piston pump is used in

closed-loop control systems. Oil is circulated by the pump to the motor and then returned. An internal charge pump is used to supplement the closed loop system with oil. Customised valve plate designs and porting plus improved swash-plate design reduce noise, vibration and swash-plate moments, while a tapered trunnion bearing arrangement further reduces noise and vibration as well as improving neutral return thrust load capabilities. A strengthened mounting flange reduces requirements for additional support brackets, and a square input control shaft eases the assembly of a customer-installed control lever. For the boom on the sugar cane loader, an Eaton V20 series vane pump was selected.

Eaton Enter 201

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