Train overhaul firm Lucchini Unipart Rail (LUR) has made a £1.4 million investment at its Manchester production site.
LUR has purchased a Sirmu vertical turning lathe – which is capable of machining a variety of wheels within a size range of 650-1,250mm diameter – and a CNC integrated robotic manipulator.
The robotic manipulator is programmed to load wheels for initial machining before turning them automatically through 180° degrees, enabling the reverse side of the wheel to be machined.
The equipment will be used for both rough and finish machining of wheels for the railway industry.
Funding from asset finance firm Lombard has made the acquisition possible. Four outdated machining centres will now be decommissioned.
LUR said that both the cycle time and output of the machining facility were improved by 30 per cent because of the machines and it was now possible to re-deploy three engineers to other areas of the business.
In 2015, LUR was founded following the merger of Lucchini UK and Unipart Rail. It employs 230 workers in Manchester and 120 in Doncaster.