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Home arrow Case Studies arrow BFW delivers very large header pipe drilling SPM to BHEL
BFW delivers very large header pipe drilling SPM to BHEL Print E-mail
Written by Satish   
Friday, 22 May 2009
BHEL was in need of header pipe drilling machines to machine a wide range of header pipes. The wall thickness of a typical header pipe ranges from 40 mm to 120 mm. The diameter varies from 200 mm to 600 mm. The pipe, up to 5,000 kg in weight, is generally made of stainless steel, alloy steel, or carbon steel. It can be up to 10 metres in length.

Typically, shaped round openings are to be drilled and profile-milled with the machine at precise, different angles and lengths to facilitate joining of other pipes to the header pipe.. Each opening has a funnel-like edge, to be filled with welding material to join with the other pipe. While the funnel can be about 120 mm wide, the hole should be half of that in diameter. Different sets of tools are combined to complete the operation in a single set-up.

BHEL had two options to satisfy this requirement. To settle for a second-hand, imported machine or go for a brand new SPM. After considering various pros and cons, BHEL decided to place an order with BFW for an SPM to cater to this need.

In addition to the requirements given by the customer, the BFW design team also considered ruggedness, reliability, maintainability, serviceability, spare parts availability etc. at the design stage itself to ensure a trouble-free and long service life for the machine.

Ready availability of the long ball screw for replacement if required was a concern and hence use of the ball screw was eliminated. The machine deploys a servo gear box with a rack and pinion arrangement for movement. The machine rests on three bases secured together, each base more than six metres in length. The machine draws up to 100 kW power.

A tool changer, an NC rotary table, a moving column and single-side clamping make drilling possible almost anywhere on the pipe through efficient interpolation. The movements are free from backlash, leading to higher accuracy and faster operation. A positioning accuracy of fifteen microns per metre is expected.

BFW designed, built and delivered this machine to BHEL in about a year’s time from the time of receiving the order, satisfying all the requirements. Higher reliability, accuracy, service support, longer life and lower overall cost of ownership and machining cost were the factors that worked in BFW’s favour in getting this order. BFW specialises in  special purpose machines for the manufacturing Industry, especially for the automotive and power segments.

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