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Hydromat Rotary Transfer Machining Services

Hydromat Rotary Transfer Machining

At Ashley Ward, our core competency is high volume, production turning utilizing cam driven automatic screw machines. The term screw machine often spurs names like Acme Gridley, Davenport, and Brown & Sharpe machines because they are the most common and familiar brands. However, in addition to these types of machines, we also utilize a more modern machine called a Hydromat Rotary Transfer machine. Utilizing similar machining principles as the other brands, Hydromats provide another option for high volume turning applications.


In looking at a Hydromat versus a classical screw machine like an Acme Gridley, the main differentiator is the number of machining stations. Hydromats have 12 to 16 stations, whereas Acme’s have only 6 or 8. Additionally, other cam driven machines leave the part attached to the bar stock until the final operation. Hydromats cut a blank slug from the bar as the first operation and can also invert the part to allow for machining on both ends of the part. Also, Hydromats are driven by hydraulic and electrical motors rather than cams and gears.

The real beauty in the Hydromat machine is the ability to remove secondary operations by completing more complex, and tighter tolerance parts on one machine. They also have short remnants and a very thin cutoff, which means that less material is wasted as scrap. On top of saving material, there is increased work productivity due to bar changes and much quicker changeover capabilities as opposed to a conventional screw machine. Furthermore, a Hydromat has modular tool spindles with quick change presettable heads which make for a much more streamlined and easy changeover. Lastly, they are very fast, which means quicker cycle times and thus lower prices to the customer.

Some other specifics to consider regarding Hydromats include setup time and labor factors. Because of the amount of operations these machines can perform, it takes much more time to setup these machines than other screw machines, which also means a longer lead time. On top of this, there is a higher cost associated with operating these machines. The overhead is higher because the machines are more expensive, and the labor cost is higher as the operators require more skill to be able to setup, operate, and manage all the machining stations. Due to the lengthy setup times and costs associated with setting them up, we like to see quantities in the 50,000+ range because once we get these machines setup we want to run this part for quite some time.

At Ashley Ward, we are proud to be one of the largest Hydromat shops in the country. With 20 machines, including some that include CNC spindles and machining stations, we have experience and expertise with all kinds of parts and applications. We work direct with Hydromat in St. Louis, as well as other well-known and respected suppliers nationwide on tooling, new product design, and troubleshooting. There are also new models and new technology coming out all the time with these machines that we continue to keep up to date on.

All that said, Hydromats have proven to be incredibly beneficial machines, adding a lot of versatility to many shops, including ours. To see some of our Hydromats in action, check out these video clips here: