Seal Team Systems creates bespoke leak repair systems works for customers such as food manufacturers, energy generators, water suppliers and hospitals, to provide on-site leak sealing technology to minimise any disruption or downtime, which can be expensive or life threatening. The leaks that they rectify can be anything from 150 psi steam in industrial/hospital scenarios, through to super-heated steam at over 1000 psi (70 Bar) at temperatures up to 700° C. Time is therefore critical in manufacturing a range of components that combined can create an effective leak repair that can be made permanent at the next scheduled maintenance shutdown.

Ken Black (left) discussing the latest job to go on the XYZ RMX 5000 with operator John Fearn.

With every on-site leak posing different problems, the parts manufactured by Clay Cross, Chesterfield-based Seal Team Systems are truly bespoke; with the process starting with a customer site visit by a trained technician who reviews the problem, takes detailed measurements, with manufacturing starting on his return to the factory. All of this can take 2-3 days, a situation compounded by a reliance on manual machining, a time loss that is unacceptable to many customers, with one quoting a £3 million cost for a 3 day shutdown! To address this, Seal Team Systems has invested in an XYZ RMX 5000 bed mill fitted with the latest ProtoTRAK control system. “We recognised a need to automate the process as much as possible, especially as finding the skilled people to create the parts we need was becoming harder,” says Andy Mills, Director Seal Team Systems. “With the XYZ RMX 5000 the technician, who was also the machinist, can now simply text all the details to us and we can start machining straightaway, turning what was a 2-3 day process into a next day service.”

The XYZ RMX 5000 is the largest machine in the ProtoTRAK bed mill range and is equipped with a 7.5 hp programmable and variable speed spindle, with 3-axis CNC provided by the touchscreen ProtoTRAK control. With a table measuring 1930 x 356 mm and axis travels of 1524 x 596 x 584 mm it is large enough to handle most jobs. A key feature for Seal Team Systems is the TRAKing facility built into the control. This allows operators to use the handwheels to move through the CNC program, at a speed they are comfortable with, even allowing the program to be reversed if required. Once happy the cycle start button can be pressed and the control takes over completely.

“The move to the RMX 5000 with the ProtoTRAK control was a logical step up from manual machining, the training was straightforward, and we were operating it very soon after installation,” says Ken Black, Director, Seal Team Systems. “The time savings we are making are significant, and typically amount to a 66 per cent reduction in lead times. Being new to CNC we were also impressed with the support given by XYZ Machine Tools. Prior to ordering we had a number of demonstrations, where we brought our own difficult to machine materials, XYZ also modified the showroom machine to provide air cooling to the cutter, rather than coolant, which was our preference, nothing was too much trouble.”

The touchscreen ProtoTRAK control is a logical step up from manual machining.

The arrival of the XYZ RMX 5000 also brought other changes to Seal Team Systems with an investment in Autodesk’s Fusion 360 CADCAM software. “With the RMX 5000 we are able to machine parts we couldn’t attempt before on our manual machines, such as out of round/oval parts such as valve bonnets. This has opened up new possibilities for us and the software allows us to be more creative and make use of Finite Element Analysis, meaning we can give added reassurance to customers and avoid over-engineering parts as we have had to do previously,” says Ken Black.

A typical leak sealing assembly machined on the XYZ RMX 5000.

Business for Seal Team Systems was good prior to the arrival of the XYZ RMX 5000, but since its arrival they have seen an increase in turnover and the result is the need for additional people to handle to extra work being generated.