Torks in Engineering News

by Torks Precision Engineering
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"With more than 13 CNC machines across the two operations we can do the job where we have the capacity," says Torks Director Anthony Tork.

Anthony has worked with his father Gerry since he was 16 when the company was called Torks Tool & Die. Sister Sandra looks after the company's accounts. Torks today remains best known for its ability to solve complex problems. Mr Tork is sure a large slice of the business still comes as a result of jobs being relegated to the "too hard basket" by others.

"Flexibility remains our key strength and, within that flexibilility, our biggest strength is EDM. These days, the machining skills are backed up by a dedicated in-house CAD/ CAM operation," says Anthony. "We have the ability to erode nearly every type of metal, including graphite and PCD." In fact the company has more CNC EDM wire cut machines than any other precision engineering operation in Australia or New Zealand, and 20 years of experience in the use of them according to Mr Tork.

Despite this specialist expertise, Torks is still regarded as a one-stop shop when it comes to problem solving – milling, turning, grinding – whatever is needed. "Many long standing customers like Windoware still have their press tooling made and maintained by us." Torks has wide ranging expertise in cable manufacture tooling as well as profiles, pipe and mesh extrusion. The company also produces stellite brass and bronze extrusion dies.

"A big part of Tork's customer base is made up of work provided by other toolmakers," says Mr Tork. "The recession has taken half of the toolmakers out of the industry. There are half a dozen big companies left in New Zealand which keep toolmakers going." Still business is pretty good for Torks Precision Engineering and it is clear that the depth of innovation and experience within the company has stood them in good stead to weather the recession.

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"In the last 12 months we have added two new 1iE Fanuc wirecut machines, a state of the art shrink fit induction heat tool changing machine and more recently a second EDM driller. Our EDM drillers typically drill holes from Ø0.3 – 3.0 to depths of approx 100x diameter," says Mr Tork. Christchurch Director Dalan Price says that in his 16 years with Torks "We have always managed to work a solution." An example of Torks bringing even more to the job than has been asked for is the savings in time and price a recent job reaped for a major international airline."

"Contractor Direct Line Resources came to us saying that the airline needed to drill three holes on the back of each seat overnight when the planes were not in use. Using planetary gears we designed an automated drill head consisting of two drills and one pilot pin that did the three holes at the same time."

"The plan was to drill the seats of one plane per night -360 seats - during routine maintenance but because of some tight scheduling we were required to sometimes do two per night. This was only made possible by the design and quality of the automated drill head," Mr Price says."They ordered a second as a back-up. It was not needed. The first unit completed all 12 assigned planes without a problem."

"The airline's project manager came to have a look at the job and tooling. The Aussie engineers had told him they could not do the job with the tooling that was available to them and within the time frame required. They ended up buying the tooling from our client." Mr Price says the Torks Auckland operation is relatively new compared to the three and a half decades of operations but it is now standing firmly on its own feet.

"We bought JD Goodwin in 2005 with the idea of taking the machinery back south but came up with the idea that the purchase gave us the ideal opportunity to set up our long-planned second string operation in the North Island," says Mr Tork.

"The company has developed into one of the country's leading providers of precision engineered products and having a premises in each of the country's two main centres has resulted in guaranteed supply," says Mr Tork. "This is particularly important when it comes to the production of medical devices, a key plank in the company's business today. We basically use the same type of equipment and with more than a dozen CNC machines across the two operations, if there is a problem, the only difference is the need to freight the end product to one place or the other," he says. The Auckland toolroom includes surface grinders, lathes, a Kitamura machining centre, CNC spark eroder with c axis, three Fanuc wire EDM and the recently purchased EDM driller.

In Christchurch, cylindrical and surface grinding, two Kitamura machining centres and three Fanuc wire cuts join standard toolroom equipment and two NC lathes, one with multi-axis B & C plus live tooling "We picked up a Sodick spark eroder from PDL Schneider Electric which uses a very sophisticated pika finishing system and allows us to spark to a very fine finish and avoids polishing. One cable manufacturing client had mixing grooves on the inside of an extrusion barrel and product was sticking to it. The Sodick sparker solved that issue," says Mr Tork.