Goodfabs has been supplying fabricated exhaust systems for leading motorsport teams since it was founded by former McLaren employee Steve Good in 1982. Since Steve’s untimely death in 1999 his work has continued through a dedicated team that has developed business with customers that include many current and former Formula One teams, along with those racing in other series including Le Mans, Nascar, Indy Car, World Rally and Touring car championships. Its reputation is built on its expertise in welding thin wall materials, in particular titanium and Inconel. As the business developed it also started to manufacture its own tube in-house, which is then bent and fabricated into complex forms to add performance to the cars they are mounted on. With its demanding customers, who have inflexible timetables, deliveries are paramount and this drive to control production continues, with its latest investment being an XYZ SMX SLV turret mill to produce fabrication jigs.

The XYZ SMX SLV Turret Mill is bringing greater control to Goodfabs production of jigs and fixtures.

“Because the exhaust systems we produce are bespoke, we either need the car here to fit the exhaust system, which is impractical, or need a jig made to replicate the actual mounting points on the car. Prior to getting the XYZ SMX SLV machine we could only machine the smaller parts of jigs, with the rest being put out to sub-contract. And, while our sub-contractor produced the quality and accuracy that we required, we suffered some loss of control and with lead times being short, control of production is vital to us,” says Paul Watson Process Manager, Goodfabs.

The XYZ SMX SLV is the largest turret mill available from XYZ Machine Tools (larger bed mills are available) with a table measuring 1473 x 305 mm and capable of carrying components weighing up to 580 kg. This is enhanced by axis travels of 1000 mm
x 410 mm x 400 mm (X, Y, Z). The head can be tilted front to back by +45° to -45° and from left to right by +90° to -90°, with a full 360° rotation of the turret possible. Customers have the option of a three- axis DRO (4th axis optional) or, can opt for the ProtoTRAK control in either its two- or three-axis configuration. The latter being the choice for Goodfabs.

Companies choose machines for a variety of reasons, at Goodfabs these included familiarity, with one of their operators, during his appraisal, suggesting improvements to production and highlighted XYZ as an option as he had used them before at a previous company. Secondly, was the sales support received from the initial contact with XYZ’s area sales manager. “The fact the he could bring a desktop version of the ProtoTRAK control in to us for a demonstration was a big plus, that gave us the confidence that the control would meet our requirements,” says Paul Watson. The next concern for Goodfabs was delivery, with space being at a premium, other machines would have to be moved and production interrupted to get the XYZ machine in place. “Given who we work for and the tight deadlines we can’t afford to be stopping for too long, so we needed a specific time, let alone day, for delivery so disruption could be kept to a minimum. XYZ were very clear that the machine would be delivered when promised and this allowed us to make the necessary plans to minimise any downtime, and we were cutting metal on the XYZ mill within hours of it arriving.”

The addition of the XYZ SMX SLV turret mill has helped Goodfabs to smooth its manufacturing process giving it greater control over manufacturing and quality and also improved flexibility as changes to designs can be quickly implemented. “While we already have three- and five-axis machining capability to produce fittings for our exhaust systems, the addition of the XYZ turret mill has added an extra dimension to our machining capability.”