When the time came for a larger hone in our Cairns Service Centre, we looked at the world market place for what was available. We had a 4m x 450mm hone that we had designed and built ourselves in 2002, and it had been working solid since then. It was a hydraulically powered machine of very solid build and good power rating on the rotation and stroking.
Ultimately, we decided to design and build our own machine and the engineering team started preliminary designs in 2012. We wanted a longer machine of similar bore capacity to the existing machine, but decided to go all electric with the new machine as it would provide quieter operation and give better control of the stroking length and stone expansion.
Over the next 18 months we designed and built the entire machine, even designing and manufacturing our own gearbox, double universal joint arrangement and hone heads. The hone heads are similar to the heavy duty Sunnen units in the market place, but have a number of features that we believe make them a better performing unit.
The machine is powered by Servo motors and is CNC controlled. It was put into service in 2014 and has worked flawlessly since then. All the programming and CNC control was done by a local Cairns subcontractor with whom we have worked closely for over 15 years.
The machine has a 6.1m fully variable stroke and is able to be operated manually or fully automatically. Its metal removal rates are equal to the best machines available in the world market and the accuracy achievable with the finished job in the form of surface finish, trueness over the full length, roundness and parallelism is second to none.
The experience gained in designing and building a machine of this size and complexity has given all our team valuable experience which we now utilise in everyday applications for our customers. We have a number of exciting design and build projects on our computers at the present time, and two of these are for machines that are not manufactured in Australia, and in fact have only a very few manufacturers world wide.