FlexPunch machine arrives as HV Wooding completes £1.5m investment push

Posted on 27 Jan 2022 by The Manufacturer

Kent-based, precision engineering specialists, have completed a £1.5m investment drive with the installation of a new EHRT FlexPunch machine.

HV Wooding, which employs over 100 people at its Range Road Industrial Estate factory in Hythe, has taken delivery of the new technology, which comes equipped with three CNC controlled axes that virtually guarantee perfect accuracy on production parts destined for electrical switchgear, data centres, electric vehicles, and energy markets.

The latest cell represents a £400,000 spend and offers an immediate 40% increase in ‘punching’ capacity, which will enable greater flexibility and faster lead times.

It follows a concerted investment programme that has seen the acquisition of a high-speed Bruderer BSTA 25H press, Xpert 80 Bystronic and a Trumpf TruLaser 3030 that can produce thin gauge laminations and busbars for use in electric cars, lorries, buses and commercial vehicles.

Matt Lacey, Sales & Marketing Manager at HV Wooding, commented: “Since the pandemic has eased and we’ve got back to a more normal trading environment, we have seen monthly sales increases of between 15% – 25%.

“This is being driven by our ability to take on complex projects from prototyping through to volume production, taking in multiple manufacturing methods, including wire erosion, laser cutting, presswork and tooling, assembly and electroplating.”

He went on to add: “These capabilities make us a very attractive proposition for companies involved in developing new components for electrification and we wanted to cement this position with the £1.5m investment in four different, but complementary technologies.

“Our quality team has been really pleased with the parts produced on the new FlexPunch and we’re looking forward to taking on more projects that utilise its accuracy, repeatable quality and speed.”

HV Wooding, which has enjoyed strong export growth over recent years, is also investing in the skills of its workforce to help it meet the surge in demand from within the UK and overseas.

A new Buyer and a Systems Development Engineer are the latest recruits, and they will soon be followed by six more staff spanning a range of positions from Production Manager, Production Supervisor and Technical Team Planner to Process and Project Engineer and two Quality Inspectors.

This will give the company the strength in depth it needs to push the boundaries of its manufacturing activities, including its involvement in a Faraday Battery Challenge project to develop a new powder coating process for the insulation of Busbars destined for electric vehicles, energy storage and battery applications.

Supported by Innovate UK, the initiative has involved HV Wooding engineers working with materials and engineering researchers from the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) and the University of Sheffield to improve the quality of the busbars it can produce.

Matt continued: “Current fluidised bed and spraying coating methods are not effective for insulation coating of conductive materials. An aspect of this innovation is to design and upgrade the fluidised tank with new dipping mechanism features, and nozzles to blow off excessive powders.

“We will also optimise the spraying facility for manufacturing high quality insulated busbars with complex geometries required by various battery OEMs. By semi-automating the process we can also reduce operator risk and further minimise the product failure rate, which can be as high as 25%.”

He concluded: “The project will produce best practice testing methods for manufacturing quality assurance. These new standard testing specifications and methods will benefit customers, manufacturers and trade associations by improving the efficiency of design, manufacturing and procurement in the battery manufacturing supply chain.”