An interview with Lead Engineer – Chip Management Systems for John Hart USA, Gavin Lycett-King.
Gavin is responsible for the engineering and design of the highly regarded Command series range of biquetters. A highly dedicated and skilled Engineer by trade, Gavin has many years’ experience in mechanical design and has been at the center of the development of the Command series of briquetters.
Gavin took some time out of his hectic schedule to sit down with us to explain the philosophy behind the machines.
Q: Gavin, please explain the guiding principles behind the design of the Command series?
A: When we first sat down some years ago and set about designing the Command P and G series of briquetters we had some overall goals:
We wanted to design and build heavy duty machines that offer customers years of productive operation through unparalleled reliability and capability.
The machines needed to be capable of handling a variety of difficult materials simply and efficiently.
We wanted to offer the latest technology, with a range of smart functions to ensure the machines provide instant operation feedback, ensuring maximum machine uptime.
We wanted as much commonality between machine components as possible, ensuring the machines were as easy to service and repair as possible.
The machines had to be well designed to fit onto a compact single machine base, ensuring a very efficient footprint.
The machines had to have a professional look.
Q: What is the process you take to design briquetters?
A: We brought together a design team from within the organization with a variety of skills and experiences, including engineers with 20+ years’ briquetting experience, mechanical and electrical technicians. We wanted to look at the design from all angles to ensure we designed the best possible machine for our customers.
As the design process progressed, we held group design progress meetings, created targeted focus groups to evaluate specific new technologies and performed high precision Finite Element Analysis. The process was there to ensure that as much up front thinking was done to minimize the number of post design machine modifications and to speed up the machine prove out process.
Once this was complete, we built the first machines and went through the process of testing the machines to ensure they were ready for release to the market.
Q: What are some of the key features in the design?
A: When you look at the machine from the inside there are many key things which are not immediately apparent. The key components for example, are modular with the compaction chamber, central compression shaft and end die / end gate all easily removed and replaced. There are also range of sensors in the machine which constantly monitor machine performance to ensure maximum production uptime.
The internal components have all been specifically designed to handle the harsh operating requirements of processing metals. The compaction chamber for example, has been designed specifically for heavy duty, long term performance. You only need to see the weight of the unit to understand how much engineering has gone into ensuring its’ capability and longevity.
Q: I understand your machine controller has already established itself as a market leader, please explain?
A: The Command series features the revolutionary CommandWare software control system. This control utilizes a simple to use touch screen which provides the operator with instant operation feedback and allows process changes to be made simply and quickly. New machine operators are able to have the machine up and running in a matter of minutes.
The system features several innovative functions including the Automatic Jam Detection System (AJDS), which is designed to ensure the machine isn’t damaged when a rogue solid finds its’ way into the auger system. Material Compensation System (MCS) is a system which allows the operator to automatically change input materials without having to make any manual adjustments to machine feed rates. This ensures consistent briquette size across all material types.
Q: John Hart USA is also involved in full turnkey Chip Management Systems, please explain?
A: As a supplier of Chip Management Systems, we sit down with our customers and work with them to solve the issues being caused by their scrap chips. In many cases, a fully integrated turnkey solution is required to help solve their problems.
In designing a turnkey system, we offer everything required, from conveyors, shredders, loaders, briquetters and coolant filtration systems to streamline their chip processing. Offering an automated system, allows the customer to create a profit stream for their business that helps improve their bottom line.
Q: What do you have in store for us in the future?
A: The process of striving for the best solutions for our customers is absolutely at the core of everything we do. We are continually looking at ways of improving our designs and creating new technologies to help our customers.
As for what is next in store next for customers, you will just have to wait and see!