31 January 2024

Precision Machining for RRS Sir David Attenborough


In this case study, we delve into a remarkable project that showcased the expertise and capabilities of TEAM, Inc. UK and SILK Portable Machine Tools. We were tasked with the precise on-site machining of Sonar inspection windows for the much-anticipated Royal Research Ship (RRS) Sir David Attenborough, affectionately known as Boaty McBoatFace. This case study highlights our commitment to delivering high-quality solutions and overcoming intricate challenges within tight timelines.

Project Overview:

  • Project Name: On-Site Machining of Sonar Inspection Windows for RRS Sir David Attenborough
  • Partners: TEAM, Inc. UK and SILK Portable Machine Tools
  • Objective: Laser align and machine 5 Sonar inspection windows with impeccable precision, including achieving a precise surface finish tolerance, flawless flatness, and perfect depth.
  • Tools Used: Faro Vantage Laser Tracker, Multiple Modified SILK 4D Milling Machines, Various flange facing machines with bespoke mounting arrangements.

The project posed several challenges that demanded exceptional precision and efficiency. The main challenges included:

  • Tight deadline: The project required a swift turnaround.
  • Complex machining: Achieving precise surface finish, flatness, and depth was crucial for the sonar inspection windows.
  • On-site work: The machining had to be carried out on-site, adding logistical complexity to the project.


  • High-Precision Tools: The project demanded the use of cutting-edge tools, including the Faro Vantage Laser Tracker and multiple modified SILK 4D Milling Machines. These tools were essential in ensuring precise measurements and machining.
  • Bespoke Mounting Arrangements: To tackle the challenge of on-site machining, various flange facing machines were employed with bespoke mounting arrangements, guaranteeing stability and accuracy.

The intricate work was meticulously executed by the combined expertise of TEAM, Inc. UK and SILK Portable Machine Tools. The following steps were taken to ensure a successful outcome:

  • Laser Alignment: The Faro Vantage Laser Tracker was used for laser alignment to ensure the highest level of accuracy.
  • Machining: Multiple modified SILK 4D Milling Machines were employed to perform the precise machining of the sonar inspection windows, adhering to stringent surface finish, flatness, and depth requirements.
  • Quality Assurance: Throughout the process, quality checks were conducted to guarantee that all specifications were met.


Thanks to the dedication, skill, and advanced tools employed by TEAM, Inc. UK and SILK Portable Machine Tools, the project was executed flawlessly within the tight 5-day timeframe. The RRS Sir David Attenborough, was ready to set sail with its sonar inspection windows in impeccable condition, meeting the highest quality standards.

Contact Us:

If you have similar machining needs or bespoke machine design requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are eager to discuss how our expertise and advanced tools can meet your unique project demands.

CaseStudy #Machining #PrecisionEngineering #BoatyMcBoatFace #RRSSirDavidAttenborough


6 June 2022

Mid-Shaft Journal Turning

SILK were approached by a wind turbine manufacturer and operator to design a mid-shaft journal turner to machine the high speed shaft inside the turbine nacelle.

The customer required a light weight machine that could be manhandled and built on site, that had both fixed and interlocked guards and that could reduce the current 6 day machining activity whilst providing greater accuracy.

MHI Vestas

SILK worked closely with our client to ensure we fulfilled the design and safety requirements while providing a suitable solution.

The machine designed was modular and could fit inside three small peli-cases with each section easily man handled. The machine incorporated, Perspex fixed guards, Proximity sensors and two types of E-stop as well as a Remote-control operation. The Mid Shaft Journal Turning machine was so easy to use, accurate and quick that the machining time was reduced by half saving the customer a lot of downtime and has become embedded in the customers procedures as the only way to perform this activity.

For more details on this product or any other bespoke machining enquiries please ‘Contact us’.


6 June 2022

Flange Bolt Cutting Machine

A large oil and gas refinery asked TEAM® to design a solution for an upcoming turnaround. The turnaround required several joints to be de-torqued from a section of plant that was known to have ceased or difficult to remove bolts.

The customer wanted a “hot work free” solution for a range of flange sizes in order to expedite these critical path activities. TEAM® designed the ‘Flange Bolt Cutting Machine – FBC 120’, that allows a quick set up time on a range of flanges.

The ‘FBC 120’ can cut through bolts at the joint, or the whole nut and bolt assembly on the flange face. The flange bolt cutter is so efficient that a 2” bolt can be severed in approximately 3 minutes whereas one stuck bolt can take hours to free.

The ‘FBC 120’ flange bolt cutting machine is an externally mounted cold cutting saw, designed to provide a fast and safe alternative solution to removing ceased bolts from flanges with an adjustable guard to keep the user safe.


4 June 2022

TEAM® Pneumatic Safety Unit (PSU)

Like its predecessors the TEAM® Pneumatic Safety Unit (PSU) provides an inline air filtering and lubrication function to efficiently operate your pneumatic machinery. However, the TEAM® Pneumatic Safety Unit has been purposely designed with safety in mind to reduce the chance of accidents occurring while carrying out any machining operation.

Plant Air Loss Emergency Stop

If there is a temporary loss of compressed air, the TEAM® Pneumatic Safety Unit will detect it and go into the E-Stop state. This will ensure the air supply is locked off, preventing reactivation, whilst simultaneously dumping air and stopping the machine almost instantly.
When the compressed air supply is reintroduced, the TEAM® Pneumatic Safety Unit remains in its locked off state meaning that the machine will not automatically restart. The operator must manually restart the machine once they are in a safe position to do so.

Remote E-Stop


The TEAM® Pneumatic Safety Unit is supplied, as standard, with a remote and quick to connect E-Stop sub-assembly, complete with magnetic base. This always allows the operator to locate the E-stop within easy reach and enables the machine to be stopped almost instantly once depressed.

Foot Pedal or Deadman’s Handle


Optional extra’s for the TEAM® Pneumatic Safety Unit are the Deadman’s Handle or the Foot Pedal. Both items are mounted at the end of a 2m umbilical and work in conjunction with the Remote E-stop. Both Foot Pedal and Deadman’s handle must be held or depressed by the operator for the machine to operate and will fail-to-safe and cut the air supply if released.

For more details please – Contact us’