A long-term contract to produce components for the power-generation industry in the Far East has been secured by Rowe Precision and General Engineers (Staffordshire, UK). This is the direct result of investment in a Harrison manual/CNC Alpha 550U lathe. Since acquiring the lathe Rowe has turned more than 200 precision valve stems for steam-flow control valves required by new power plants for China. This represents a five-fold increase in Rowe’s output rate achieved with a conventional lathe for the same components. Rowe’s managing director, Gary Sanders, says the key benefits of the Alpha 550U, which is equipped with a Harrison GE-Fanuc CNC control, are speed, precision, ease of operation and flexibility. A further advantage of the Alpha 550U is its capacity to turn complex, precision components up to 1.5 metres long. This was an important factor in helping Rowe to secure its current contract, because of the large size of the steam control valves – each complete valve assembly weighs approximately 15 tonnes.