To produce a completely U.S.-made product and keep the pressure on its off-shore competition, PumpWorks Industrial in Houston, Texas, had to leverage the latest manufacturing technology and become extremely efficient internally. According to the company’s general manager, Michael Hohenstein, advanced machinery– along with machine monitoring software and the latest tooling – allowed the shop to significantly reduce cycle times, which, in turn, played a major role in achieving that much needed efficiency. As a result, PumpWorks has increased its productivity by 50 percent year over year.
PumpWorks produces ANSI pumps for the oil and gas, food and beverage, chemical, and power generation industries, to name a few. It currently has thousands of pumps in use in the field and has been in business since 2014. The Houston location is the newest among the other PumpWorks brand manufacturers that date back to 1978.
What sets PumpWorks ANSI pumps apart from their competition, according to Hohenstein, are the many design enhancements that are part of their standard pump offering which increase the overall reliability and maintainability of the pump without an increase in price to the customer. Hohenstein believes these design enhancements coupled with a warranty that is unmatched in the industry are true differentiators in the market.
Many of the features incorporated into the designs of the PumpWorks ANSI product lines were inspired by the company’s years of experience as a premier supplier of API 610 pumps, applying the American Petroleum Institute (API) standards. Some of these API-like features include fins on the power frame for heat dissipation, a flinger disc on the shaft that mists the internal oil for cooling the pump’s non-submerged bearings and a sealant coating that is sprayed on the inside cavity of the power frame.
These specific features are focused on reducing bearing temperature and increasing the bearing life of the power frame – thus reliability. The power frame also comes with a stainless-steel shaft as part of the standard offering. Additionally, the base material used in the construction of their pumps is carbon steel for increased durability, according to Hohenstein, as compared to competitor ANSI pumps that are made from ductile iron and/or cast iron.
In addition to features that increase reliability, the PumpWorks pump design makes it easier to service the pumps. A magnetic oil drain nut located on the side presents easy access, and a 1.00"-diameter sealed and capped oil fill plug eliminates the risk of dirt and other contaminants from falling into the power frame while providing ½” greater access when filling. Site glasses located on both sides of the pump offer unobstructed views for checking oil levels regardless of how the pump is positioned at an application site.Through testing, PumpWorks determined its power frame runs 15-20°F lower bearing operating temperatures as compared to competitor flood oil types and provides up to 30% increased bearing life. This fact, together with the other API-like features, significantly boosts the pump’s reliability, which is paramount in the field. Pump failures can be very costly to the end users.
“We believe that, based upon our design and manufacturing processes, our pumps compared with our competitors’ are extremely well made and dependable. So much so that we offer a five-year unconditional warranty on our pump power frames,” said Hohenstein.
Key to the shop’s effective pump manufacturing processes is to consistently keep pace with the advancements in machine tool technology. Doing so has allowed the shop to not only reduce its setup times, but also the number of setups required to process parts. With the latest machine tool capabilities, including Multi-Tasking, the shop achieves single setups for DONE IN ONE® part processing, which in turn shortens cycle times and boosts part quality and precision.
All the PumpWorks facilities/divisions use only Mazak machines. When the Houston facility opened, it too followed suit and incorporated two INTEGREX i-400S Multi-Tasking Machines, one QTN-250 Turning Center, a SLANT TURN NEXUS (STN) 550 Turning Center, an HCN-6800 Horizontal Machining Center and, most recently, an INTEGREX i-630V/6 Multi-Tasking Machine.
The INTEGREX i-400S has a main integral spindle/motor headstock with a 40-hp, 3,300-rpm spindle that provides the shop with a wide range of machining capabilities, from heavy-duty cutting at low speeds to processing carbon steel and other alloy materials at high speeds. The machine’s rigidly clamping C axis indexes in 0.0001-degree increments for high accuracy, while its second 35-hp, 4,000-rpm turning spindle also features an integral spindle/motor to ensure high-efficiency machining for secondary operations. For additional Multi-Tasking functionality, the machine employs a 30-hp, 12,000-rpm milling spindle mounted in the rotating B-axis with a range of 240 degrees in 0.0001-degree indexing increments.
With a standard through-hole chuck package, the 2-axis QTN-250 efficiently process wide ranges of parts for PumpWorks. The machine, working with a bar feeder, provides a maximum bar feed diameter size of 2.6" and maximum part machining diameter size of 13.780".
PumpWorks’ powerful, heavy-duty STN 550 employs a solidly constructed headstock with a 10.8"-diameter bore and a powerful 1,000-rpm, 60-hp turning spindle that generates up to 5,163 ft-lbs of torque for heavy-duty cutting. The machine’s spindle also accommodates a 21" chuck size.
Working together in a cell with the STN 550, the HCN-6800 II at PumpWorks is equipped with a robust, high-performance 50-hp, 10,000-rpm, CAT 50 spindle for exceptional metal removal capabilities. The machine’s automatic tool changer stores up to 43 tools and accommodates maximum tool diameters of 10.24". The machine’s NC rotary table rotates 90 degrees in 1.9 seconds and features 0.001-degree minimum increments for precise 4-axis indexing and machining.
As the newest Mazak at PumpWorks, the INTEGREX i-630V/6 sports a robust 50-hp, 550-rpm turning spindle with C-axis control and a rigid CAT 50, 10,000-rpm milling spindle with a B-axis tilt of -30/+120 degrees. An automatic tool changer supplies the milling spindle with up to 160 tools for continuous cutting operations.
The STN 550 and HCN-6800 II cell produces one particular family of parts that, according to Hohenstein, is unfortunately impossible to machine using DONE IN ONE processing. However, with this Mazak cell, the shop has basically eliminated any loss of time due to setups. This is because parts move from one machine to the other, and custom fixturing produced in-house orients parts on zero without having to touch off. The fixturing locates the parts for the machines, thus eliminating the need for operators to have to perform the task.
“While the Mazaks do play a very key role in our manufacturing, they work in tandem with our custom in-house designed fixturing,” explained Charles Harvey, operations manager at PumpWorks Industrial. “With this innovative fixturing, we are often able to reduce three or four operations down to only one, and the fixtures also provide the strength and stability for taking heavy cuts to further reduce cycle times.”
PumpWorks does have automation working with its INTEGREX i-400S. But aside from that, the key is DONE IN ONE production with its Mazaks. “What other shops might be doing with three or four machines in a row, we do with one Multi-Tasking Mazak,” said Harvey.
According to him, the shop doesn’t seek out machines based on a set of criteria. Instead they base it on a product need. “We start with the part and work back toward acquiring a machine that will optimize our machining in terms of cycle times and part quality,” he said. “The capabilities that Mazak offers with its wide range of machines has been more than sufficient for what we need and gives us a competitive advantage.”
The shop produces about 3,600 pumps per year. In addition to machining, it does hydro testing, painting, assembly and packaging. There are some purchased components such as bearings and gaskets, but other than those, the shop produces all a pump’s components.
Part sizes can range from 6" in diameter up to over 30" in diameter. Tolerances are as tight as 0.0004". The components of a pump include the casing, an impeller, a cover/stuffing box that encloses the impeller and the case/seals for what are known as the pump’s “wet-end components.” There is also a power end to the pump that has a shaft through its center as well as bearings and housing. These various components are assembled together per the customers’ requirements and are plug and play ready with the customers’ existing piping.
Depending on the application, the metallurgy of the pump can vary significantly. If pumping a highly toxic or deadly chemical, for instance, the pump would be made from a high alloy material like Hastelloy C. Other pumps may call for 100 percent nickel materials, but a pump used for oil and gas can be of carbon steel or stainless steel. From a machining standpoint, carbon steel is a bit more difficult to cut than would a cast or ductile iron part. As a result of the wide-ranging applications, the shop has invested heavily in Mazak machining technology.
The shop works closely with its tooling suppliers and relies on their advice for machining the various tough materials. The shop is constantly looking to improve and brings tooling vendors in on a regular basis for evaluations and to learn about new tooling that will help the shop optimize machining processes and further reduce cycles. “And regardless of the type of new inserts or cutting tools, the power and capabilities of our Mazaks allow us to take full advantage of them,” added Harvey.
One of the shop’s goals, according to Hohenstein, is to be an ANSI pump manufacturing leader in the market, and he believes that it is well on its way. It devotes itself to continuous improvements for everything from sales and marketing to machine and tooling technology with sustained internal investments. He foresees the development and manufacture of different types of pumps and product lines for both existing and new markets. For that new work and for increased volume of existing product lines, he knows PumpWorks will look to Mazak for the best manufacturing technology to produce those new lines.
Original article in Production Machining