South Africa-based self-lubricated bearings manufacturer VescoPlastics will be able to machine custom components faster and easier, owing to the introduction of a new 5-axis computer numerically controlled (CNC) machining centre at its factory in Virginia, Free State.
The state-of-the-art Haas VF-11 machining centre has a 3 000 mm travel, and allows the cutting tool to move across the X,Y and Z linear axes and the workpiece to tilt and to rotate in any direction.
Among the many applications that it may be used on is in the machining of daggerboard casings for high-technology sailing boats that are used as an alternative to fixed keels on catamarans, for performance boat builders.
Other complicated machining jobs can also be carried out.
“The machining centre will allow us to complete complex projects quickly and accurately,” says VescoPlastics chairperson Dr Jean-Patrick Leger.
He notes that it will also save manufacturing time because components do not need to be transferred between machines for finishing. VescoPlastics produces its proprietary brands of Vesconite and Vesconite Hilube bushings and wear plates that operate in dusty, dirty or wet conditions and still last longer than other products on the market.
The company also provides extensive machining services and has the largest machine shop in the Free State, with 60 CNC lathes and machining centres, and numerous large conventional lathes that are capable of machining bushings up to 3 000 mm in diameter.
VescoPlastics has warehouses in Johannesburg, the US, the UK, the Netherlands and New Zealand, with stocking distributors in Argentina, Australia and Singapore.
Leger’s SABS-approved and ISO 9001-accredited company boasts a staff of 71, of which 25 are employed in the sales and administration divisions, with 46 in manufacturing.
The company also focuses significantly on training and skills development, and is currently mentoring 30 young people as part of its learnership and apprenticeship programmes.
VescoPlastics boasts customers in more than 100 countries, exports over half of its total sales, and dispatches large orders regularly to the US, China, South America and Australasia.