Investment in Additive Manufacturing Brings Contract Win for Responsive Engineering

19th February 2019

Robotic welding equipment is enabling Responsive Engineering to continue its expansion into the rail and energy markets.

Following contracts to provide parts for London’s Elizabeth Line, part of the Crossrail development, the business has won further contracts to manufacture products for leading rail customers in the UK and Greece.

Robotic welding equipment including a Kuka KR 240L 180 robot and two Fanuc M-6i-100i machines, along with a Mazak VTC800/30SR, enables the firm to offer an expanded manufacturing service to customers.

Originally founded by the Victorian Industrialist Lord Armstrong, Responsive’s base in the Armstrong Works, Newcastle, played a major role in the UK’s Industrial Revolution. Now the 38,000m² facility is adapting to the digital transformations in manufacturing known as Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Industry 4.0 refers to the increasing automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and cognitive computing.  It brings innovations in automation, robotics, sensors, virtual reality, 3D printing, big data and human-machine interface, and we are excited to be a part of it.

Graeme Cook, managing director at Responsive Engineering, said: “Our investment in additive manufacturing, including robotic welding equipment, has played a key role in our successful bid for new contracts in the rail industry as they enable us to provide the services that the customers require.

“By combining the manufacturing expertise of our staff with cutting edge technology, we can integrate traditional manufacturing processes with current and future digital technologies and make the most of the opportunities offered by Industry 4.0.

“Energy and rail are emerging markets and we need to ensure we stay ahead of our European and international competitors.”

Metallurgist, Abbie Whitaker, added: “Additive manufacturing is a rapidly expanding area and investing in robotics will enable us to work with new materials and create complex metal parts at the cutting edge of manufacturing.

“It is exciting to be involved with new technologies and to see the new possibilities they will bring.”

The Mazak VTC800/30SR is an up-to-date version of the current VTC800. It has a larger fifth-axis rotary table and benefits from the latest Mazatrol software with smooth control, designed to make the programming and setting of parts a more streamlined experience for the operator.

Project engineering manager, Lloyd Lannigan said: “The existing VTC800 has proven to be a key machine form the day it was commissioned.

“Its versatility has meant that many parts can benefit from fewer set-ups, therefore cutting production costs.

“However, the capacity has been in high demand, so introducing another VTC800 into the machining division will immediately affect the efficiency and on-time delivery of the Responsive machining schedule.”