Brewing Internal Trouble


A German client, in the brewery industry, required a one piece round shape component to be used as a spray mechanism for an industrial cleaning machine. This component was literally a how not to design a component for machining study. It had every complication that makes machining difficult; deep pockets, narrow access, thin walls, uneven exit burrs, flat bottom holes, tight radii, inaccessibility. 


This component would need to be manufactured from high grade Stainless steel and be 100% free from defects both inside and out and to be produced in batches of 500 each month.

Initial Challenges Faced

A number of other machining companies had refused to machine the component on the basis that it was impossible to machine away internal burrs as the size of the inlet made it impossible to access the interior of the ball to the demanding tolerances required. If any angle was even 1µ out of alignment the inconsistent water spray would render the component unfit for purpose.

Specific Challenges Faced

Various attempts to manufacture to design in collaboration with tooling experts proved this to be once again unachievable. It was thought impossible

Solutions Presented

The solution was to manufacture the component in 2 parts. This required 4 lathe operations each followed by 2 milling operations and then be completely deburred. We then electro beam welded these 2 parts creating a final unit which was milled again, to eliminate the discolouration from welding, and mirror polished. A batch of 100 took approximately 4 weeks to complete.

During manufacture several new angle and side cutting tools came to market which allowed us to reduce the number of operations to 2 lathes and 1 milling. The customer was delighted with the cost downs offered. 


This was an exceptionally tricky task but a good understanding of tooling and welding together with a bit of lateral thinking allowed a solution to be found and refined to a repeatable process at a reasonable price.