Harrison Steel Castings Co., in Attica, Ind., is investing in new machining operations to improve its finishing capability. A 29,000-sq.ft. machine shop was added, anchored by two new Mazak machine centers, allowing the steel foundry to finish castings for its present customers and to offer new services to potential ones.
“The new machine shop facility will prove vital to Harrison Steel’s continued success,” according to Wade Harrison III, v.p. - purchasing/H.R.
“There were many key factors that drove the investment,” he explained. “The new facility provides us a competitive tool with which to grow. We are able to offer more economical, high-quality steel castings to our customers. In addition, more space for operations offers more opportunity for future business.”
Harrison Steel produces castings in carbon and low- to medium-alloy steel for customers manufacturing agricultural and heavy equipment, energy systems, military applications, and mining and oil-and-gas equipment. It has approximately 750 employees at its plant in western Indiana.
The expansion project was reported to cost $9 million. The first equipment installed there is a Mazak Versatech V100 vertical machine center, supplied by Mazak Corp. and its local agent, Shelton Machinery.
“First and foremost the finish machine shop will allow for a one-stop-shop; a turnkey operation for our customers,” stated Geoffrey Curtis, Harrison Steel vice president and general manager.
“The new facility allows us the ability to provide both rough and finish machining in one shop, instead of using an off-site vendor. We have been able to offer this in the past to select customers, but now we have committed the space, equipment and manpower to offer it to everyone. This will save significantly in time and shipping costs,” Curtis continued.
Multiple-surface, continuous machining
As detailed by Mazak, the V100 is a multiple-surface, five-axis double-column machine capable of continuous machining without head change, thanks to a spindle head with B and C axes. It achieves high productivity while processing very large workpieces thanks to its 10,000-rpm #50 taper nutating spindle head, which can operate from the vertical or horizontal positions, or any angle in between.
“Having a one-stop-shop allows us to have control over the quality of parts from beginning to end,” stated Harrison Steel’s machine shop superintendent, Mike Bossaer. “Should a problem ever arise, we have the ability to deal with it swiftly and efficiently, without the cost and time of shipping parts back and forth.
“Less complexity generally means customers will experience a high level of convenience. We think that will make our customers pretty happy,” according to Bossaer.
Harrison Steel said its research determined that Mazak and Shelton Machinery offered the best partnership opportunities to ensure the success of its new finish machining operation.
Business development management Kevin Cherry said the Mazak V100 was selected for the initial investment because of its ability to efficiently handle a wide variety of product types efficiently and consistently. “Its versatility serves many industries, including energy, mining and construction, shipping, and agriculture,” Cherry said. “We serve all of those industries, so it’s a perfect fit for Harrison Steel.”
In addition to the Versatech machine, Harrison Steel recently ordered a Mazak E1850, a multitasking vertical turning center.
“This machine provides us with large-capacity turning potential, which greatly enhances the capabilities of the new facility,” explained Bossaer. “The addition of these two machines really does take Harrison to the next level.”