Hartech sponsored race cars have had great on-track success and are used as test beds for engine development work, shortening testing cycles significantly.
There can’t be many automotive service and repair centres with their own machine shops, but Bolton-based Hartech isn’t just any garage. Specialising in the service and repair of Porsche cars for the past 20 years Hartech has developed a reputation as a problem solver. On prestigious brands like Porsche, some of these problems can be expensive to remedy, but thanks to the ingenuity and determination of Barry Hart and his team they are providing a cost-effective solution, with the help of an XYZ SMX 2500 bed mill.
Barry Hart, who is a qualified engineering designer started his manufacturing career while as a student at university, developing a racing transmission for his motorcycle. When the manufacturer rejected his solution, Barry took the decision to manufacture for himself, creating a business that was eventually bought out by a larger corporation. Not taking to the corporate life, Barry looked for other opportunities and being a Porsche owner, and being aware of some of the issues that other owners where facing, he formed Hartech 20 years ago. At the heart of the business is the servicing of Porsche cars, but the engineering designer in Barry led him to develop solutions to some recurring engine problems that can show themselves in watercooled Porsche engines, in particular scoring of cylinders and pistons.
This would be impossible to do on a manual machine, but with the ProtoTRAK control on the XYZ SMX bed mill it is straightforward.”
“The official solution to this problem at the time was to replace the entire engine at significant cost,” says Barry Hart. “With my design and engineering background as soon as I saw the issue I was confident that I could solve it, so we set about investing in machining and development work to prove that we could deliver a solution that would guarantee that the problem of cylinder and piston wear would not return, once we had worked on an engine. Part of that solution involves boring out cylinders and also undertaking some fairly complex milling in order to accommodate a modification we make to the cylinder liners. This would be impossible to do on a manual machine, but with the ProtoTRAK control on the XYZ SMX bed mill it is straightforward.”
As well as allowing Hartech to machine the new seat for the cylinder liners, the original boring of the cylinders themselves has also been greatly improved since the arrival of the XYZ SMX 2500. Cycle time is now half what it used to be and accuracy is to within tenths of a thousandth of an inch and positional repeatability is excellent. “We are finding that the consistency of bore sizes to be excellent and this in turn reduces the amount of post machining work that we have to do to fit the cylinder liners. It really is a fabulous machine and we are very pleased with it.”
The control is all in plain English and the steps are simple to follow. Some of the things we are doing now, we simply couldn’t have done before
Key to the XYZ SMX 2500 machine’s success at Hartech is the ProtoTRAK control, which is allowing the complex profiles in which the cylinder liners fit to be programmed easily, with limited knowledge of CNC programming. “The control is all in plain English and the steps are simple to follow. Some of the things we are doing now, we simply couldn’t have done before,” says Hartech’s machine operator, Craig Holt. These thoughts are echoed by Barry Hart who says: “Having our own machining capability speeds up the process, especially when we are undertaking research and development into engine re-manufacture. The ProtoTRAK control gives us the ability to produce high precision, high value, components in what you would say is a non-machine shop environment. The ability to produce a one-off in a short space of time is also a major advantage.”
Porsche cylinder blocks are machined to high levels of accuracy and surface finish on the XYZ SMX 2500 installed at Hartech. The location for the Hartech redesigned cylinder liners is easily machined using the ProtoTRAK control.