Philadelphia (USA) - A highly skilled and versatile workforce of engineers, operators and support personnel is working for the Naval Foundry and Propeller Center (NFPC) in the Philadelphia Naval Business Center (formerly Philadelphia Naval Base). The NFPC manufactures submarine propellers for the United States Navy. NFPC has very large machining capability in order to manufacture propellers. Because of the time required to build these parts, the challenge the engineers were faced was finding a way to cut manufacturing times. About eight years ago, NFPC started a research program to test high speed machining on the propeller Copper based alloy. Successful testing led to a search for high speed machines; large enough to accommodate the largest submarine propellers of up to 24 ft. in diameter.
“When we started to survey the machine tool market, we looked at the traditional companies in the US, France and Japan. We did not know Starrag existed, especially their capabilities. After the technical specifications were published, Starrag and another company were selected for the final evaluation based on the technical merits of the offers. At that stage, both companies being technically acceptable. Starrag won the contract with the best price and the excellent Droop+Rein FOGS machine which they offered.” says Faris Ibrahim, Mechanical Engineer at the NFPC. “From that day in 2005, we started an excellent relationship with Starrag which led to another Droop+Rein FOGS purchased in 2012 and three more in 2019 we will need many more in the future.”
Starrag successfully delivered in 2007 and 2012 two high-speed machining centers of their product range Droop+Rein. The machines are Droop+Rein FOGS 70 68 TT M30 C, which per the Navy specifications had the following dimensions: (X-axis: 267 inches, Y-axis: 275 inches, Z-axis: 90 inches, rotary table 275 inches with main power drive 2x134 hp). The twins are the biggest machine tools in the history of FOGS-machines. They are turning, drilling and contour milling the US Navy’s submarine propellers.
Speaking about the future, the next three Droop+Rein machines were successfully delivered in 2019. These machines are FOGS 70 68 M 30 K, FOGS 75 75 TT M30 C and FOGS 85 85 TT M30 C.
Ibrahim: “The Naval Foundry and Propeller Center is the US Navy’s only submarine propeller producing facility. The Droop+Rein high speed machines are doing all of the finish machining work.