Watson Grinding & Manufacturing is riding the oil drilling boom for all its worth down in Houston. This 47-year old company has built its reputation on offering complete turnkey manufacturing of critical oilfield components such as valves, pumps and compressor parts.
The company has developed a variety of thermally-applied coating processes to solve erosion and corrosion problems facing today's petrochemical, oil production and manufacturing industries. During the early 80's, Watson was heavily involved in the development of High-Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) coatings - which later became known as "Jet Kote®." In addition to HVOF coatings, Watson offers High Energy Plasma, Metallizing and Weld Overlay coatings.
For oilfield valves, the type of spray coating chosen depends on the application. For example, HVOF coatings are applied at supersonic velocities to critical valve components where wear and erosion are serious problems. Tungsten carbide, cobalt, nickel and chrome matrixes and chrome carbide coatings are all applied with this process.
Other coatings, such as Chrome Oxide, Aluminum Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, and Zirconium Oxide are used where dielectrics, thermal barriers and corrosion resistance are required.
What makes Watson Grinding & Mfg. unique is their ability to machine, spray coat and then finish valve components (by grinding, lapping or honing) all at one facility. This allows the company to turn parts around faster and more reliably than many suppliers and at very competitive prices.
Valve components are made from raw material or they can be rebuilt from existing parts. Watson can repair most ball valve components including chrome and nickel-plated parts. With today's machine tools, they can hold tighter tolerances and apply the most advanced coatings for a particular job-making the valves better than new.
For CNC turning, Watson has settled on one brand: Romi. Currently they have six machines:
o G260 for higher-volume smaller work up to 17" swing x 19" turning length
o G50HT for larger production work with 26" swing x 51" turning length
o M27 x 80 combination lathes for valve and shaft turning up
to 27" swing by 80" in length,
o M27 x 120" combination lathes for longer shafts
Watson chose Romi lathes primarily for their rigid construction, large swing capacity and ability to machine tough materials. Large diameter parts are machined on the Romi M-Series lathes. On these lathes, the headstock has both a high and low gear. This dual range gearbox allows the spindle motor to deliver high torque at low speeds permitting heavier metal removal without bogging down the machine. The result is faster cycle times on large diameter, high alloy components.
Higher volume jobs are put on the G-Series slant bed machines. With 50 HP spindles, these machines are also equipped for heavy duty turning. The machines are equipped with GE Fanuc 21i- controls and programmable tailstocks. A two speed gear box is standard on the G50HT .
Operations Manager, Omer Cloutier, said: "In the old days, making a pump shaft on a manual lathe would take 20 hours. Now the shaft takes 11 hours on the M27 due to the ability to program all the profiles on the shafts with a single tool." said Mr. Cloutier. The need for a programmer is eliminated since the machinist programs the part as he goes, which is very quick and simple." He added.
The Romi M-Series lathe is both a manual and CNC lathe in one. The control is very easy to use. After a short time, the operator will only use the CNC side of the control.
Business is booming for Watson Grinding & Mfg. And if things stay hot in the oil patch, there may be some more machines in the offing for Romi.
Romi is one of the world's largest machine tool builders with an installed base of over 150,000 machines. The company manufactures metalcutting machine tools, plastic injection molding machinery and Romicron® ultra precision boring systems. Romi's captive foundry supplies castings for its own line of machine tools as well as for other customers around the world. The company services US customers from its Erlanger, KY facility.
Romi Machine Tools, Ltd.
1845 Airport Exchange Blvd.
Erlanger, KY 41018
Contact: Mr. Jody Michaels