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In a boost to South Africa’s engineering capacity and quality, Metric Automotive Engineering has added a new-generation Rottler three-axis CNC machining unit to its workshop. Featuring linear rails for greater accuracy, the machine is the first of its kind in Africa, according to Metric Automotive Equipment operations director Andrew Yorke.

“This technology represents a significant advance in our industry,” says Yorke. “It enables us to conduct wireless probing for measuring and set-up, as well as using CAD drawings to machine components to high levels of precision.”

The scale of the new machine allows it to work on engines up to 20 cylinders in size. The three-axis capacity facilitates the standard machining processes for engine block remanufacture, and also enables salvage repairs. The new unit joins the company’s two larger three-axis machines already in operation. The machines are dedicated mainly to the rail sector.

“A locomotive engine spends considerable time on our machining centres, so our new addition provides much-needed additional capacity for other work,” Yorke says. “On any given day, we can now have up to five V18 engines being machined at our facilities side by side.”

Yorke highlights the value of the new Rottler unit in the continuous quality improvement of local remanufacturing capacity and expertise. As a function of process repeatability and machining accuracy, the quality of output is being constantly raised to the benefit of local customers.

“Our investment in machines like these represents a strategic contribution in support of local original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and state-owned enterprises (SOEs),” says Yorke. “This fosters the country’s capacity to conduct large engine remanufacturing, which is vital to affordability, economic growth, job creation and conserving our foreign exchange.”

Rottler equipment is not for general engineering purposes but is specifically designed for high-precision machining of engine blocks, he emphasises. This ensures that the quality of remanufactured engines complies in every respect with OEM’s demanding specifications and standards.

The focus of Metric Automotive Engineering’s remanufacturing technology is on large engines used in sectors such as rail, earthmoving, mining, power generation and marine.

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