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Flextraction Helps Wire Thread Insert-Maker

When Flextraction installed two TEKA Cartmaster PF dust extraction systems, each with four post mounted Fumex 75mm extraction arms for use on horizontal grinders in the tool room at Armstrong Precision Components Ltd (APC), they had limited space in which to install the equipment and it had to be done so as not to impede the operators workspace. And because of the intricacy of some of the components being manufactured, it had to work effectively without reducing the operator's view of each component.

APC, a member of the UK owned €1.1 billion steel and engineering products Caparo Group has a modern 3,250m2 automated manufacturing facility in Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire. They design and manufacture wire thread inserts and associated tooling, threaded fasteners in ferrous and non-ferrous materials as well as specially designed nuts and lock nuts to UK and International standards for a multitude of industries, including aerospace, automotive, defence equipment, rail and power generation.

In addition to the Cartmaster extraction systems, a TEKA Strongmaster BGIA-approved mobile fume extractor type UBF-BIA class W3 with a 3,000m3/hour extraction capacity and a 3m. long, 150mm diameter hose type arm, was supplied for general use around their manufacturing facilities. Before the installation of this equipment, 10 very old dust extraction units with ductwork and hoods, one to each grinder were used, but this did not cover all areas, so personal protection equipment was also used.

As Andy Sallis, Safety, Health and Environment Engineer, APC explained: "The old equipment did provide extraction of fumes and dust, but had seen better days and a new more effective system was required. The new Flextraction system has given us a greatly improved working environment, with very little or no evidence of dust around the operators work area."

Each 415V 3-phase 50Hz Cartmaster, which re-circulates the air back into the workplace at 3,000 m3/hour, has 4 extraction points with a maximum of three being used at any one time. The arms are fitted with dampeners, so they can be closed when not in use to allow greater velocity in those being used. The hoses in the arms made of spring steel coil embedded in PVC coated polyamide fabric, are very manoeuvrable allowing the operators to reach awkward areas that the company's processes require. Visually the complete installation is appealing, in that all the spiral ductwork, stanchions and arms provide make for a good working area.

Andy continued: "The Flextraction system has had a large impact on the operators' morale, due to the cleaner atmosphere in which they work, whilst the Strongmaster has given us more scope to improve the working environment for less used processes that previously had no extraction system in place. Because our grinding processes are very intricate and as much natural light as possible is required, the adaptability of the arms to reach awkward areas was paramount. The large area filters in the systems have just reached the 1,000 hour cycle and on inspection they have coped well, with automatic cleaning being a real bonus as it removes the human factor for remembering to clean them."

The performance of this new equipment helps APC, meet the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (CoSHH) Regulations 2004.

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