- May 11, 2017
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Meet the Makers of the World’s Biggest Live Centres
In a world crawling with 7.5 billion humans, claims of being “the only one” doing anything are often misguided. Think of the weirdest escapade you’ve ever embarked upon and there’s probably at least a million other people who’ve done the exact same thing. While this may sound bleak, it actually makes genuine cases of uniqueness all the more outstanding.
Which brings us to Austech. Our content team has been doing the rounds, taking in all the latest advances in the world of machine tools. Drawn in by the sheen of a table full of pristine lathe centres, journalist in the field, Josh Parreno, sparked up a conversation with the stallholder.
Turned out Josh was talking to the director of Daintree Tools, Andrew Rogers, who is responsible for making the only 20 ton capacity, 7 morse taper live centres in the world. While their capacity is impressive, Andrew explained their main focus is on creating machine tools of superlative quality.
The Daintree Tools collection covers four main ranges:
- everyday heavy duty live centres;
- pipe centres which have removable pipe cones so you can go from a small diameter to a large diameter with the one centre;
- copy point centres which have a thin spindle and take a lot of load but with high accuracy, minimal runout, and good tool clearance;
- spring loader centres for turret work where you’re having trouble controlling the live centre.
The spring loader centres have colour-coded rings to give you a visual indication on the load. We are aware of some European companies who also colour code but Daintree Tools are Aussie owned and run and with no importing costs or exchange rates to deal with, their prices end up being better. Plus it’s always good to have spare parts available in the country you’re working in.
Just as there are some high quality imports available from Europe, there are the ubiquitous cheap imports from China. While these may have a lower initial outlay, the headaches they cause down the line make them a dubious investment in our books.
Anyone manufacturing in Australia knows, with the costs involved, if you can get a job done in 20 minutes instead of 25 minutes, over time that adds up to a lot. In some cases, it can mean the difference between a business surviving and failing. Andrew explained the difference between the cheap imports and the work Daintree Tools does:
“Our centres have higher carrying capacity and are capable of faster speeds. They can handle the load, they can handle the life of the machine. We make them to be a good investment for people.”
Cheap live centres struggle with accuracy and have very high run out. When the cheap bearings get vibration through them they just don’t last. According to Andrew, you’re looking at a comparative lifespan of 6-12 months for a cheap import compared to 10-15 years with the Daintree Tools range.
“We use contracting companies that have state of the art machines, get them to make various components and then assemble them in house and do a finish grind.”
And here is another area in which Daintree Tools shines above the other options.
“We don’t grind the point until the centre is assembled. This gives us good concentricity with 60 degrees at the front, an exact 60 degrees. Because the spindle, which is a key component of it, is ground in situ, in the bearings before the end cap is put on. And the centres are hardened to 60 Rockwell.”
This gives Andrew confidence his live centres will last as long as the machine does.
“If you can minimise the vibration and runout, your bearings will last longer because they’re not being abused. Because we use Japanese bearings only, no cheap alternatives, everything is made to a higher tolerance with better quality components. It just gives them a longer life and helps them do a better job.”
What’s next for Daintree Tools?
“Exporting. We’ve got a good range of products and we’re always adding to the range—if people want a special spindle we’re happy to do it for them—so exporting to the rest of the world feels like the right step to take next.”