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Guhring keeps spindles turning for sliding head subcontractor

For more than 30 years, Birmingham-based Rowan Precision Ltd has been manufacturing high-quality parts for customers – and for much of this time, the company has relied upon Guhring UK to supply its cutting tools.


As a subcontract machining specialist to industries such as the defence, medical and aerospace sectors, AS: 9100 and ISO: 9001 accredited Rowan specialises in sliding and fixed head multi-axis turning and 5-axis machining. With more than 10 sliding head turning centres on the shop floor, the company has an enviable reputation for medium to high volume lights-out manufacturing of small components. It is here that the service from Guhring has played a pivotal role.

Commenting upon the longstanding relationship with Guhring UK, Matthew Lowe from Rowan Precision Ltd says “We’ve had a good relationship with Guhring for many, many years and they supply us with high-quality tooling and excellent technical advice. When we need something, they are here to have conversations and meetings about upcoming jobs, and we can talk about the processes with the Guhring technical team. We cut anything from plastics up to titanium, the high EN numbers, iridium platinum and other challenging materials and Guhring will sit down with us, look at our drawings and give us what we require to do the job.”

Looking at specific tools, Matthew says: “We use a bit of everything. This ranges from Guhring’s Micro end mills, the Diver cutters, the RF Speed and a lot of the Ratio range of through coolant drills. We also use the grooving tools, and we use the micro-boring system. We have an entire range of products and they are all very easy to use. We have confidence that when we run lights out, we know how long the tool is going to last and how many parts we can run with a single tool. Every component and every drawing has a defined tolerance, we need to ensure that the tooling we use can work within that tolerance for a certain period of time. The Guhring products certainly provide that confidence, giving us the ability to run our machines lights out.”

With such a diverse selection of Guhring tools being utilised at Rowan Precision, the company also makes use of the Guhring TM Multi-Vending machine to ensure the correct tool is always on hand for the multitude of components the company manufactures.

Considering specific applications, Matthew adds: “We recently needed tools for a particular job and Chris Bush from Guhring came in and spoke to us about the application, the material and the number of parts we would be running. From this, Chris came back the same afternoon with suggestions and tool data from Guhring. We moved forward and purchased these tools and they are working very successfully. This is an excellent level of service as it supports our aims to achieve optimal machining performance and tool life.”

Discussing the relationship with Rowan Precision from a Guhring perspective, Guhring UK Sales Manager, Chris Bush says: “We’ve had a strong relationship with Rowan Precision for many decades, and as soon as they have a new component, they will give us a call and we will come in and take a look at the component, the drawing and recommend the tools best suited to the application.”

Alluding to the cutting tools the company is utilising, Chris adds: “Rowan Precision has a lot of sliding head turning centres machining small components, so they purchase our Micro Precision line of tools. This encompasses everything from milling cutters to drills. We supply a lot of Micro Diver tools and Micro Milling cutters, and these are perfect for all the typically hard-to-machine materials at Rowan Precision. This can range from Grade 5 Titanium to 316 Stainless and everything in between.”

Discussing the continually expanding range of micro-tools, Chris concludes: “We have taken the Diver milling cutter geometry and incorporated that into a Micro Diver, so we get all the benefits of the Diver range on a micro-end mill. This allows Rowan to apply the small tools to all the difficult-to-machine materials whilst holding very tight tolerances and drastically reducing cycle times. As a company that runs lights-out machining, Rowan needs secure processes. They need tools that they have complete confidence in. The Guhring range of Micro Diver tools enables Rowan to set the machines up at the end of the shift when they go home, and they know the tools will perform all through the night. When the staff return to work in the morning, they are guaranteed high-quality components.”

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