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As part of its long-term strategy the Kenard Engineering Group, one of the UK’s leading privately owned precision engineering companies, has built up a broad mix of customers, across a variety of industry sectors. This diversity, particularly in terms of the materials being machined, placed extra demands on the metalworking fluids being used so it turned to Jemtech (UK) for assistance.
Kenard’s production operations are divided over two manufacturing sites. The head office and original manufacturing facility is located in Dartford, Kent and it specialises in machining round and prismatic parts for the aerospace, oil and gas and sub-sea communications sectors. At the Group’s Tewkesbury facility, Kenard focuses solely on prismatic parts in the aerospace, marine and defence sectors. Business is extremely buoyant at the moment across all of these sectors, particularly commercial aerospace, where Kenard is working on three complex machined parts as a supplier to a major UK aerospace OEM.
“Since the company was formed in 1964 it has always tried to develop a varied customer base, which has helped to smooth out the peaks and troughs when one area of business may be busier than others,” says Matt Cornford, Kenard’s Operations Director. “However, working across so many industries does bring its own challenges, not least the management of metalworking fluids.” Kenard was finding that the sump life of its metalworking fluids was not matching the promise made by its existing supplier. In fact they were only managing six months, or less, between sump changes and the cost of this, along with the inconvenience, drove Kenard to look for a more pro-active partner for its metalworking fluids.
Selecting a new supplier for cutting fluids was based on several things, first the recommendations of service engineers and maintenance staff, who were working on the machine tools at Kenard, and also the requirement for supplier approval from some of its biggest customers for any changes to the machining process. “When we asked the various service engineers that visited us, the general consensus was that we should talk to Jemtech. A process that we initiated about two years ago. During those discussions it became obvious that Jemtech, along with Blaser, could provide the kind of support that we were looking for,” says Matt Cornford.
In addition to guaranteeing extended sump life with its Blaser BC 25 MD fluids, Jemtech also worked in partnership with Kenard to gain approval from a major UK aerospace customer to use its cutting fluids in the machining of aero-engine parts. Jemtech also committed to provide a weekly service visit to monitor coolant strength and condition, with every machine being checked, with top ups of sumps made as and when required. “This support removed a lot of the concerns that we had and also freed up valuable time of our people, allowing them to concentrate on manufacturing components, not worrying about cutting fluids.”
The sump life issue is now a thing of the past for Kenard, with the quoted two-year between changes now a reality, and as a result of switching to Blaser BC25 MD the company is also finding health and environmental benefits as well. In addition to supplying the metalworking fluids Jemtech (UK) has also worked with Kenard to improve the working environment by installing Cleanmist mist extractors and filtration systems to each machine tool as well as FeoL skimmers in each of the machine sumps. The former removes unwanted and hazardous vapour from the machine tool, while the skimmers eliminate the problem of tramp oil in the sump.
“With our previous coolant we did experience some instances of skin problems, but since the change and the addition of the extractors and skimmers, the lack of any complaints from the operators is a significant indication that these problems have disappeared. Not only that, it is quite apparent that the working environment is a much nicer place to be, with a lack of smells from the metalworking fluid and machines,” says Matt Cornford.
The combination of Blaser Swisslube metalworking fluid technology and the service, support and applications knowledge provided by Jemtech (UK), working in partnership with Kenard, is proving both financially beneficial to the Darford-based sub-contractor as well as providing productivity benefits from reduced downtime for machine servicing and increased tool life across a range of materials.
“Prior to switching to Blaser, Kenard was achieving a sump life of between 4 and 6 months, and when the number of machines they operate is taken into account, this added up to a considerable amount of downtime each year. On top of this was the cost of disposal and replacement of the waste fluid, along with the biocides that were required. The savings being realised since the switch the Blaser MD25 product, due to extended sump life generated, reduced downtime, increased tool life, and lower consumable costs, are significant,” says Matt Cornford.