Gough Engineering invests in technology to increase capacity

In the past few months Gough Engineering in Christchurch has purchased two CNC machines to increase its in-house engineering capacity.

In the past few months Gough Engineering in Christchurch has purchased two CNC machines to increase its in-house engineering capacity.

In the past few months Gough Engineering in Christchurch has purchased two CNC machines to increase its in-house engineering capacity.

With tools for both machines supplied by Sandvik Coromant, the company has optimised its ability to service the diverse engineering demands of the wider Gough Group, as well as increasing opportunities for jobbing and manufacturing for outside work. Gough Engineering also makes a lot of their own products – such as log forks and excavator buckets and their main product at present are truck mounted concrete mixers. Gough also has branches in Auckland and Rotorua whose main focus is forestry machinery.

Under various company names, Gough Engineering has been operating in Christchurch since the 1950s. Gough Gough and Hamer had built a wide range of products under the Fieldchief brand name for the earthmoving, processing and construction industries for over 50 years. From the early 1970s to 1989 Gough Gough & Hamer’s Manufacturing Division assembled Caterpillar machines and manufactured a number of components due to import regulations on wheeled machines. During this period Fieldchief became synonymous with Caterpillar performance and quality. In the early 1980s the Manufacturing Division began in-house steel fabrication of wheel loader, log skidder and grader frames. As import regulations were dropped the Fieldchief name was applied to buckets, log forks and attachments currently manufactured by Gough Engineering.

Gough Engineering was established in 1994. During this time Caterpillar buckets were manufactured under a revised licence agreement with Caterpillar which ended in 1996. Gough Engineering began building to its own drawings and currently offers over 130 different wheel loader and excavator buckets, Forestry Body kits and a wide range of custom products.

In 1995 a 3D CAD drawings system was introduced followed by solid modelling and in-house CNC profile cutting in 1999. Backed by its history and manufacturing systems Gough Engineering is able to supply standard and custom designed products for Caterpillar machines. Fieldchief product now covers a wide range of application and machines.

Gough Engineering is a part of the Gough Group – New Zealand and Australia’s leading value-added solutions provider to the infrastructure, mining, forestry, transport and power system industries. It is made up of five trading subsidiaries incorporating ten distinct businesses. Gough has its own brands and represents other key brands within different product categories including global brands such as Caterpillar, Hyster, SAF, and Palfinger in New Zealand and Australia. Gough has more than 950 highly-skilled employees and a network of over 50 locations in both Australia and New Zealand.
In recent times Gough Cat has built a Component Rebuild Centre, focused on servicing New Zealand’s mining fleet and customers such as Solid Energy and OceanaGold. The two recently purchased CNC machines are dedicated to servicing those needs. Currently they are being used for face milling and boring diesel engine blocks and transmission parts.

Gough Engineering industrial manager Chris van Groen says the two CNC machines were purchased to reduce the amount of work previously sent outside of the group and has made work much more efficient and quicker.

“The Rottler is the biggest CNC engine block machine in New Zealand. It has a unique way of line boring – using 90° heads, rather than bars. At the moment that machine is focused on diesel engine work,” Chris says.

“Like the Rottler, the VMC increases the scope of repair and refurbishment work we can undertake for CAT. It has also given dramatic reductions in cycle times on machined components for the concrete mixers, many of these components had been made entirely on manual machines previously.

“The VMC is a little unusual in that it is very large for that style of machine. We specified it with a 4th axis, 40 tool ATC, through spindle coolant, wireless touch probe and tool pre setter which in conjunction with the huge work envelope makes for a very flexible machine,” Chris says.

The machine tools for both the VMC and the Rottler have been supplied by Sandvik Coromant. Chris van Groen says when tenders were put out “Sandvik’s proposal was the best. We wanted to share the tooling between the two machines, and there is a difference as they have different interfaces. Sandvik gave us a workable solution. We’ve used the Coromant Capto system in the past and it’s very good – it can bore holes from 8mm to as large as we want,” he says.

Sandvik sales engineer Blair Dalling says a big feature of the system is its interchangeability and on tool adjustability with dead accuracy. “Its benefits are that it’s modular, changeable, and adaptable with no loss of power of the machine utilised due to the rigidity of the coupling. It’s the best tooling interface system for rigidity and accuracy,” Blair says.

The Coromant Capto system is a modular interface to combine adaptors, extensions and basic holders – when required – for greater flexibility. It is a quick change system that makes it possible to use only one system for an entire workshop and the same tools can be used in other machines. The modular tools provide access to a large tool assortment, with few interface items. It is possible to build optimised tools for each particular operation. The precision and stability allows for higher cutting data. It has dampened boring bars for milling and boring and reduces the need for a large tool inventory and reduces tool investment cost.

The distinctive feature of the system is its coupling – which has a tapered polygon and a unique profile. The polygon shape transmits torque without any loose parts, such as pins or keys, which means the coupling has wonderful stability characteristics. The tight press fit guarantees there is no play in the coupling. Loads are spread symmetrically, irrespective of peaks or rotation and without losing centre height.

Sandvik has supplied Gough Engineering with the CoroBore 825 system which is ideal for fine boring – from anything from 1mm to 1275mm. The tool can be adjusted radially in order to cover a certain diameter range with one tool. It allows for precision adjustment in microns in order to achieve close tolerances.

Blair says that Sandvik enjoys a great business relationship with Gough Engineering. “The show is run in a very professional way.” Chris says that goes both ways. “Apart from the tools themselves the after sales support is excellent. The sale isn’t the end of the job – it’s a continual progression and they assist us in that progression. It’s a great working relationship.”

Gough Engineering is looking to purchase more machinery in future as it increases its engineering capacity.