07 Sep 2023

5-axis Kitamura MyTrunnoin 4G is the latest machine to be installed.
“Everybody talks about reshoring and you don’t pay much attention to it especially if your machine shop is busy and the company is experiencing growth. That is until it virtually ‘smacks you in the face’ and then you have to pay attention,” said joint owner Brandon Morris.
“Although PTF Manufacturing had zeroed in on machining components for the pump and valve industry as its primary business strategy, this has changed in recent years.”
“Machining of components for the pump and valve industry is still very much part of the mix and accounts for most of our machining output. We have been operating in a niche area of the industry whereby we are known for machining the more complex components and not the ‘dog eat dog’ side of the business. These parts consist largely of axisymmetric shapes, so lathe work is the main part of the production, but as we have grown and added more equipment to the shop floor, we have increased the variety of operations and components that we are able to machine,” explained Morris.
Ind News PTF 1
PTF Manufacturers have recently installed four DN Solutions machines. Two of them, both Lynx 2100LSY turning centers, are set up in a cell type layout. Both have a milling function and are equipped with live tooling. The XYZ travels are 205mm by 105mm by 560mm with a turning diameter of 300mm and a turning length of 510mm. The machines were supplied by Puma Machine Tools
When Morris and partner Nas Kalogianni purchased PTF in 2002 they decided that if they were going to be successful and competitive, they would have to regularly invest in new equipment. The business already had CNC lathes and mills and some conventional equipment, most of which are still working today, but from the start of the partners’ transition into the company they knew that modernisation would be a key part of their emerging production strategy.
The company subsequently purchased a number of CNC horizontal lathes, vertical machining centers and vertical turning lathes from Victor Taichung.
The partners made a significant decision in the company’s history in 2011 when they decided to go big and move out of the company’s comfort zone.
“We needed a large capacity machine, and purchased a heavy duty and versatile CNC vertical lathe. The Yu Shine VL-1600 ATC+C, which is manufactured in Taiwan and supplied by Victor Taichung, has a swing diameter of 2 000mm, a turning diameter of 1 600mm, a turning height of 1 350mm and a table load of up to eight tons.”
“We then purchased a second Yu Shine large capacity heavy duty and versatile CNC vertical lathe. The new VL-1200 ATC+C has a swing diameter of 1 600mm, a turning diameter of 1 350mm, a turning height of 1 350mm and a table load of up to five tons.”
“This second Yu Shine machine has given us the flexibility we needed, especially in the heavy-duty machining arena.”
Ind News PTF 2
The most recent machine investment is a Mytrunnion 4G from Kitamura that has a maximum work-piece diameter of 500mm on its rotary trunnion table and 400mm work height in the Z-axis, with the ability to accept billets up to 200kg. This ultra-high precision, simultaneous 5-axis machine has a tilting table that rotates -120 to +30 degrees in the A axis, with a C-axis rotation of 360 degrees, both having a minimum indexing command of 0.001 degree. The machine has been supplied by WD Hearn Machine Tools
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PTF Manufacturers have purchased 7 new CNC machines in the last 18 months. In this time they have added a Fanuc α-D14LiB5 Robodrill, high-speed small machining center with XYZ travels of 700mm by 400mm by 330mm, a working space of 850mm by 410mm and a maximum workpiece mass of 300kg. A second Fanuc Robodrill has also been purchased. This time a α-D21LiB5 Robodrill and it has the same specifications as the other Robodrill
“We also continued to purchase more CNC lathes and machining centers as we got more work from other industries such as rail transport and ordnance. We now have over 30 machines on our floor from one supplier.”
“But circumstances change and we needed to get machines in quickly. This resulted in us purchasing four DN Solutions machines. Two of them, both Lynx 2100LSY turning centers, we have set up in a cell type layout. Both have a milling function and are equipped with live tooling. The XYZ travels are 205mm by 105mm by 560mm with a turning diameter of 300mm and a turning length of 510mm. The machines were supplied by Puma Machine Tools.”
“We have also added a Fanuc α-D14LiB5 Robodrill, high-speed small machining center with XYZ travels of 700mm by 400mm by 330mm, a working space of 850mm by 410mm and a maximum workpiece mass of 300kg. A second Fanuc Robodrill has been added. This time a α-D21LiB5 Robodrill and it has the same specifications as the other Robodrill.”
“The α-DiB5 series represents automated vertical machining technology for milling, drilling and tapping applications, incorporating a network interface, preventative maintenance and machine learning capabilities, and Fanuc’s CNC drives and servos.”
“With these two machines we have included a Fanuc collaborative robot CRX-10iA/L. Weighing only 39 kilograms, the arm of the smoothly designed shiny white robot can perform a highly functional underflip motion to pick a part from a table behind it in one single, smooth motion. The 6-axis robot has a reach of 1 418mm and a load capacity of 10kg. The machines and the cobot were supplied by Fanuc South Africa.”
Ind News PTF 4
To automate handling of components for the two new Fanuc Robodrill machines PTF Manufacturers have included a Fanuc collaborative robot CRX-10iA/L. Weighing only 39 kilograms, the arm of the smoothly designed shiny white robot can perform a highly functional underflip motion to pick a part from a table behind it in one single, smooth motion. The 6-axis robot has a reach of 1 418mm and a load capacity of 10kg. The machines and the cobot were supplied by Fanuc South Africa
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PTF Manufacturers are getting more enquiries for local manufacture and requests for smaller components that require high accuracies and tolerances
“More and more companies are investing heavily in automation to maintain their productivity and competitive strength, to augment their resilience and versatility, and to keep pace with growing demand. For instance, the number of new industrial robots installed in 2021 exceeded the 500 000 mark for the first time – a new record. Specifically, cobots, or collaborative robots, are in high demand. They already now make up 7.5 per cent of all installed industrial robots, and this is an upward trend.”
Kitamura Mytrunnion 4G
“Now we have invested in a Mytrunnion 4G from Kitamura that has a maximum work-piece diameter of 500mm on its rotary trunnion table and 400mm work height in the Z-axis, with the ability to accept billets up to 200kg. This ultra-high precision, simultaneous 5-axis machine has a tilting table that rotates -120 to +30 degrees in the A axis, with a C-axis rotation of 360 degrees, both having a minimum indexing command of 0.001 degree. The machine has been supplied by WD Hearn Machine Tools.”
“The reason we have purchased this machine is what I reiterated in the beginning – reshoring. It has never been a fashionable word in South Africa because many work on price alone, even if it is only 5% cheaper getting it from China. Well, Covid has spoken out in more ways than one. Suddenly availability and costs were important factors in getting components into the country. The rand decline has not helped as well.”
“Hence our investment in seven new machines in 18 months.”
“We started to get more enquiries for local manufacture and requests for smaller components that require high accuracies and tolerances. The Kitamura was in stock – we were looking for a 5-axis machine – so we purchased it.”
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The company has two Yu Shine vertical lathes
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PTF Manufacturers has a number of CNC horizontal lathes, vertical machining centers and vertical turning lathes from Victor Taichung
“Having this type of machine has opened doors into areas of industry where we have not supplied before. We are now supplying to the food processing and bottling industries. All with smaller type components and in high volumes. The cobot certainly helps to keep up with demand.”
“Our traditional customers continue to support us but even on that side we are attracting new customers. Heavy earth moving equipment manufacturers are now part of our portfolio.”
The future at PTF Manufacturing looks secure if the increase in orders and the multi-million rand investment in CNC equipment over the last 18 months is anything to go by. Although PTF Manufacturing had zeroed in on machining components for the pump and valve industry as its primary business strategy, this has changed in recent years.
For further details contact PTF Manufacturers on TEL: 011 825 3590 or visit www.ptf.co.za

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