Probe, an Acteon company, operate some of the latest CNC machine tools in the world, as well as conventional machines, in order to manufacture quality equipment in the shortest possible lead times. Since moving to a 50,000 sq foot purpose-built facility in 2015, the company has seen significant investment in both plant and stock. The purchase of a Toshulin Powerturn vertical turning centre and a Doosan axis boring/milling machining centre added to the firms already impressive portfolio.
The machines are the heart of Probe, and keep the momentum pumping through the everyday operations. So how do Probe’s extensive range of machines set them apart from their competitors? In this blog Steven Blake, Operations Manager, gives a tour of the shop floor.
Steven begins by talking about Probe’s machining centres, an area which has seen recent investment. Probe are proud to operate four vertical boring/horizontal milling machines. Steven says “the nature of the requests from our clients require high accuracy and sometimes we need to machine large workpieces. The Toshulin vertical turret lathe (VTL) allows us to combine a series of operations such as milling, drilling and turning plus additional functions which allow us to create bespoke pieces. One of the benefits of the Tosulin VTL is the reduction in operational processes which means less room for error.
“Our Doosan 130 horizontal boring machine centre has a 15-tonne load table which is ideal for some of our larger scale products. Our experienced engineers operate this machine using high-precision numerical controls. The machine is equipped with high-speed, heavy-duty spindles for optimum cutting performance – something which is essential when producing oilfield equipment.”
Probe has seen significant expansion of its CNC machine portfolio since purchasing its first Mazak Slant Turn 50 lathe back in 1987. Steven continues “our CNC lathes are essential for manufacturing the ‘off the shelf’ products that we offer, such as API-16A Clamp assemblies. They are also an integral part of our refurbs and upgrades offering, something we have seen greater demand for in recent years with the ageing of many offshore structures. Our range of Mazak CNCs includes an Integrex, two slant turn 80 hollow spindle lathes and a quick turn 35 lathe. Client’s needs are always evolving which means we need to manufacture with extreme versatility, speed and accuracy. We rely on these machines and our highly qualified staff to meet the detailed manufacturing requirements.”
Steven moves on to the welding plant, where a member of the team is using the automated T.I.G machine to apply an Inconel corrosion resistant inlay to a spool. He says “one of our most demanding services is to protect and futureproof our products against wear and tear from harsh environments. Applying Inconel or stainless-steel cladding and overlays can offer significant cost savings for clients as opposed to producing the whole product in solid alloy. Our computer-controlled furnace then ensures that post weld heat treatment of our products is compliant to our third-party approved weld procedures.
“Client owned equipment often comes to us in a bad state of repair. We are fully equipped to offer an in-house refurbishment and upgrade service which is reliant on our welding plant and technicians.”
Steven concludes the tour by saying “we will continue to develop our plant and stock to meet the evolving needs of the industry and our clients. We are proud to operate state-of-the-art machinery from our modern facility in East Anglia which produces onshore and offshore equipment for clients all around the world”.
Watch Probe’s machines in action on their YouTube channel. To find out more about Probe’s manufacturing capabilities and how they have delivered bespoke solutions client requirements download the Manufacture Requirements case study pack.