Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for some of the more commonly asked questions, if you need more information please call or email us.

General Questions

Why is a quick setup time for a machine so important?

Many small volume jobs are requested for special helices. It is of critical importance to process such orders effectively and efficiently. This means being able to predict the blank cut for a perfect fit in the first instance so there are no trial and errors. Also being able to get the machine set up quickly for the project. We have replaced other modern machines sold with pre-programmed settings, which have proved to be a gimmick with time being wasted dialling in the exact settings for production. Helix Flight allows the operators to set up for a job in less than 5 minutes. This includes swapping out tooling if required, and dialling in any adjustments due to material spring back of the particular material being used on the day. This is the case even if a job is being completed for the first time.

How many forming plates do you generally supply?

Helix Flight supply a set of forming plates to meet our client’s forming requirements. Much of this depends on both right and left hand flight requirements, and the pitch range a client prefers. We have supplied some clients with 2 and others with more than a dozen. Our small diameter machines typically have 6 forming plates, with both left and right hand options. Our medium diameter machines typically have 6 forming plates with both left and right hand options also. Larger intermediate diameter machines can have up to 12 left and right hand options. The advantage of Helix Flight’s system involves the small numbers of forming plates. Each forming plate has a range of pitch capabilities and a wide range of diameter capacities. Often the next job can be done without changing the tooling which makes production of small orders even more efficient.

I am based in the USA. What is the procedure to diagnose any fault that occurs?

One of our first goals was to build very durable machines that can be supported globally from New Zealand in the unlikely event of a break down. This is particularly important for companies that work within very tight time constraints for production. Fortunately, we had over 20 years empirical experience building longlasting machines prior to advancing into the HF1 Series machines. We keep all machines online with our advanced online diagnostics system, allowing us to assist with any diagnostics in an emergency situations. We only use leading branded parts that are available worldwide, and should be available from your nearest city. Any manufactured parts we keep in stock for overnight airfreight.

How safe are your machines for the operator?

Our machines are designed to comply with UL and CE marked safety requirements. Forming speeds are limited for the jaws of the machine to avoid operator injuries. When we started our design process, we examined 30 years of safety incidents and have mostly eliminated the causes of these incidents via our design and machine operations. We don’t have foot pedals which were the main cause of serious harm injuries. All machines are designed for a single operator and the hydraulic oil runs at a safe temperature to avoid burns. The list of safety features are extensive, and we are replacing a growing number of both old and modern machines due to safety issues.

During Covid outbreaks, can we request a live demo of your machines?

We can arrange a full demonstration of our technology at any time. Please contact Helix Flight on our contact page.

What is the typical ROI on your machines?

The full ROI on a machine is complex and careful evaluation is recommended. It quite often involves considering the costs of blanks and the costs to form, versus the cost to buy in formed helices. Even following this simple equation, we can often see justification for a machine pay back within 1-3 years. However, other considerations can be equally important for investing in our machines, including:

  1. Savings in the stock of formed helices needing to meet delivery times
  2. Savings in the rent of stock not needed
  3. Improved margin work with the ability to provide an overnight turn around for
    R&M work
  4. A rainmaking effect, with in-house sectional helices helping attain larger work
  5. Diversification into new niche markets
  6. The cost savings by having in-house sectional helix forming, and avoiding down
    time for repairs if needed
  7. Having exclusive technology that adds to increased business value and in turn,
    any future business sale

All of the above are core to the ROI for your machine, on top of the basic costs of production versus market pricing per helix.

Do we have to keep replacing the tooling components on your machines?

Helix Flight has several grades of tooling depending on the client’s needs. We have STANDARD grade forming plates which are very quick to refurbish and 600HBW which are our most robust and durable forming plates. These forming plates will wear out depending on work cycles and volumes. We have some machines now that are 7 years old with original tooling and others that have moved to 600HBW to avoid refurbishing needs. Helix Flight will work with clients to provide tooling to suit their needs and ensure the lowest whole of life cost per helix.

What are the maintenance costs for your machines?

The maintenance costs for Helix Flight machines are minimal. Typically there is a cost for replacing oil filters depending on work cycles and machine hours. Every few years the replacement of hydraulic oil and amortisation of forming plates is needed. On a recent ROI analysis for clients, these costs have shown to be less than 1% of the capital cost of the machine per year.

What sort of operational life do you have on your machines?

Our machines are designed to have an expected service life of 1 million mild carbon steel (250 MPa yield strength) helices or 25 years. Machine parts such as the PLC have been specifically selected to ensure this 25 year life. One of the key benefits of our advanced online diagnostics system is our ability to upgrade the machine operating systems. Most machines we have supplied over the years have had an operating system upgrade adding new features and capabilities.

I am an OEM and have no experience in screw flight forming. How long would it take to train our staff?

This question is really at the heart of our original goal for Helix Flight’s technology. We now have many examples of taking companies through commissioning, training, and up to production within 2-3 days. This is despite companies not having previous experience in forming helices. We are now achieving the same with our new commissioning, safety induction, and training video modules. This is supported with zoom call assistance. We have achieved this despite several of the companies having limited or no English language spoken in-house. The huge advantage of our new modules is that if staff members change, we can get new staff up and running quickly with correct training from day one. Another advantage is that we continually add new video modules as new techniques are developed for technical challenges. Operators love the ability to repeatedly watch videos as refreshers before commencing technical jobs.

How reliable is Blank Cut Design Manager (BCDM) Software for predicting blank cuts accurately the first time?

Our BCDM software continues to improve, but the key function of predicting the stretch during forming and accurate blanks is assured. Users are predicting blanks from 50mm (2") in diameter to 6000mm (236") diameter, from 25mm (1") in pitch to 7200mm (283") in pitch, and thicknesses from 1mm to 50mm. These are in a variety of material grades. We are continually working with our machine owners to develop new features. All machine owners also have access to our latest BCDM programme.

What is the HS or NCM number for Helix Flight’s machines?

The HS or NCM number for Helix Flight sectional forming machines is 8462.2900

What tariff or duties apply to Helix Flight sectional forming machines?

Helix Flight machines are exported from NZ which has a multitude of free trade agreements around the world. This can mean little or no government tariffs or duties between these countries. However, clients should either check with our company or their own customs brokers to ensure they have the current information on duties or tariffs for their country of operation.

What are the requirements needed in our factory to operate a Helix Flight Machine?

The key requirements include an ethernet connection, three phase power and a clean concrete floor of adequate strength of weight. We build our machines to meet your local power supply requirements. Medium diameter and larger machines will need a dedicated lifting aid, such as a pivot arm gantry and a two speed electric hoist. Intermediate diameter and large diameter machines may need a special recess in the floor for the most efficient set up.

Are machine owners showing more growth and profit in their businesses since adopting the Helix Flight Technology?

We find our greatest success is when we are able to help a company grow quickly following the adoption of our technology. A testimony to this is when our clients need an additional Helix Flight machine to continue their growth. We are very pleased to confirm we have a growing number of companies with multiple machines and a number now looking for their second and third machines.

Can Helix Flight machines cold form abrasion resistant materials such as Hardox 500 TUF, AR400, or Creusabro 8000 etc?

Helix Flight is now the global leader in cold forming of abrasion resistant materials of this nature.

Can Helix Flight Machines form tapered perimeter helices in final cut form?

Yes. This is a key advantage of our technology. It avoids multiple processes and cost and time delays of other systems that use cut away false pieces.

Do Helix Flight have machines in stock?

We are currently building stock machines, however, these are often sold before completion due to heavy demand for our technology. Please check directly with us regarding specific models.

Do Helix Flight have forming plates in stock?

Subject to other orders currently being dispatched, we try to keep a full range of forming plates in stock ready for dispatch by air or sea.

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