New turning centre halves cycle times

Posted on 10 Jul 2015 and read 2153 times
New turning centre halves cycle times Leamington Spa-based Mills CNC Ltd (www.millscnc.co.uk) — the exclusive distributor of Doosan machine tools in the UK and Ireland — has reported a marked increase in sales this year. One of its customers is SRD Engineering Ltd, a family-owned precision sub-contract specialist based in Bicester that recently invested in a new Doosan TT1800SY twin-turret twin-spindle turning centre.

Installed in March, this machine is helping the company to achieve impressive productivity. For example, a motor-sport part that was being machined on one of SRD’s single-turret CNC lathes in two operations with a combined cycle time of 55min is now being machined on the TT1800SY (programmed using Delcam software) in a single cycle in just 25min.

Founded in 1989 and now employing more than 40 people, SRD machines and supplies a range of high-precision performance-critical components — typically in small-to-medium batches — to customers in sectors that include motor-sport, electronics and aerospace.

The company operates a programme of continuous improvement. For example, in June 2014 it bought six new multi-tasking Doosan Lynx lathes (which included models equipped with driven tools and Y-axis capabilities), a Doosan Puma 2600SY (sub-spindle Y-axis lathe), and a number of Doosan DNM vertical machining centres with fourth-axis units.
Director Mark Bonham said: “Productivity and manufacturing flexibility are always critical concerns, which is why we invest in multi-axis machines that allow us to produce high-precision parts in fewer set-ups and in shorter cycle times.”

Following a slowdown in activity during 2008/09, SRD has bounced back strongly, recording best-ever sales results each year since. “The economic slowdown was a real watershed for the company, and we made a number of strategic decisions that have stood us in good stead.”

The first of these was to develop ‘partnership’ as opposed to ‘supplier’ relationships with customers. The second was to focus on higher-value rather than higher-volume machining contracts, and the third was not to become over-reliant on just one or two customers, or one or two sectors. Mr Bonham adds: “It was — and remains — an ambitious plan, and it certainly didn’t happen overnight. It also required a multi-pronged approach.”

The eight-axis TT1800SY turning centre is a compact machine featuring a ±50mm Y-axis, twin spindles rated at 22kW 5,000rev/min, and an upper and lower turret (12/24 positions with 5.5kW 5,000rev/min driven tool capability). The machine was supplied to SRD with a bar-feeder and a high-efficiency swarf conveyor to ensure high productivity and trouble-free unattended operation; it is also the 19th Doosan machine that SRD has bought over the years.

Mr Bonham adds: “By investing in high-performance machine tools we are now much more competitive than before, and we have been able to secure a growing number of high-value machining contracts from new customers as well as win back jobs that were previously lost.”

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