For Gardner Aerospace, the process of roughing out large parts on their Starrag 5-axis machining centre at their production site in Derby had become unsustainable due to the high volumes of aluminium swarf being generated and the large quantities of coolant being wasted.

A solution to provide both money and time savings, alongside the sustainable goals of the company to minimise negative environmental impacts from their practices was required, something that J&S Engineering are expertly set up to provide.

There were many issues arising from the problem - with swarf skips filling up in under 5 minutes, coolant having to be repeatedly topped up to allow for all the wastage going out with the swarf, wasted operator time in carrying out these activities, the storage space required for the swarf, the quantities of skips and frequency of skip collections and the quality of the swarf itself.

After the initial project brief was received, it became clear that due to the layout of the Starrag machining centre, there wasn’t enough space to fit a briquette machine with enough capacity directly under the machine’s conveyor. It was therefore necessary to create a customised solution for Gardner.

Alongside our specialist supplier Höcker Polytechnik, we were able to achieve a complete system solution using one of our large capacity briquetting machines – the iSwarf440 – fitted with a bespoke conveyor linking directly from the Starrag conveyor to feed the swarf into the hopper.

The volume of swarf has been reduced by 1600% meaning the swarf bins are now only being emptied every 3-4 hours. That time will increase further once larger skips are placed under the briquette machine chute as is planned. This 16-1 ratio reduction has significantly freed up storage space, as well as the number of skip collections required, perhaps most importantly of all, the briquettes are at least 30% more valuable than the loose swarf. Added to this all the waste coolant drained from the swarf is being pumped directly back into the Starrag machine.

The briquette machine doesn’t stay idle when the Starrag is being set up for a new job, as it’s been configured to be switched to process swarf from any other machine bypassing the conveyor and instead feeding directly into the hopper. This of course means that Gardner can claim back costs and value from briquetting more of their swarf.

The objectives of the system have been achieved with Gardner now able to off-set the investment with the savings made from buying less coolant, having fewer skips and pick-ups and the additional revenue made from selling the briquetted swarf.

Find out more about our swarf briquetting machines by hitting the link below or get in touch!