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Through winning an important contract for a range of 17 specialist connectors for undersea use including ‘Banana’ components destined for sensor assemblies and maintenance tooling, Unicut Precision has broken into the subsea sector.
Said managing director, Jason Nicholson: “Although we produced a whole range of connectors for telecoms, computer and electrical sectors, this is our first venture into the highly demanding subsea industry. The first batch of parts has just been delivered to the Far East for deep sea exploration projects.”
The 17 parts are between 2mm and 10mm diameter by up to 400mm long and are produced in Peek – a form of special plastic used in the industry as well as high quality 316L stainless steel. Required in batches that range between 100 and 200 parts they are ideal for the Citizen CNC sliding head turn/mill centres installed at Welwyn Garden City for single cycle production operations with fast changeovers. Indeed, even the 400mm length components can be produced in this way of working due to the long workpiece adaptors that are included in the high specification of its machines.
Due to the cost penalties involved in deep sea operations, meticulous attention was paid to quality procedures when Unicut was appraised for the orders against other subcontractors. The contracts involve complete supply of material, machining and full historical traceability.
Operations to be performed on the different parts involve turning and threading, cross hole drilling and milling of special hexagons and keyways with some parts having very thin wall sections of under 1mm. In particular, a Banana connector 2.38mm diameter by 400mm long has a fine thread of 2-56 UNC-2A at one end, and at the other four keyway slots, one in each of the component quadrants just 0.8mm wide by 4.5 m long. The slots all break into each other at the centre of the part and have to be fully deburred at the intersection within the machining cycle.