Partnership helps Complete build success

Posted on 10 Aug 2018 and read 629 times
Partnership helps Complete build successIn a relatively short space of time, Complete Engineering Services (Carlisle) Ltd has grown into a successful sub-contract design and manufacturing business based on expertise in machining, wire erosion, welding and assembly.

The company was founded in 1998, with joint managing directors Alan Walker and Andrew Monkhouse initially working part-time. With the business growing, it was formally incorporated in 2003, and they became full-time employees.

Mr Walker said: “We were just two guys who believed that we could make engineering work for us. We rented a silage pit and built walls around it for our first ‘home’, and it remains part of our current factory.

“Our work came mainly through word of mouth, and we gradually added people and machinery to the business, employing our first apprentice as early as 2002.

“Part of our success as we celebrate 20 years in business has been the partnerships we have developed with customers and suppliers such as WNT.

“We have worked with this tooling company for 14 years, and we appreciate the fortnightly visits by the company’s area technical sales engineer.”

Initial growth at Complete Engineering was steady, and the two founders took on their first employee in 2001.

It was a call from their ex-employer asking if they could take on a major project — the transfer of a production line to Italy — that allowed the company to increase its rate of development.

Mr Monkhouse said: “The contract to move this line was a major opportunity, and the money from that allowed
us to increase our investment in the business and expand our machining capacity. This meant a greater reliance on our tooling suppliers, including WNT.

"With this company, we know we will get a quick and appropriate response, whether via phone or face-to-face with local technical sales engineer Matt Darbyshire.”

Total package


With extensive machining facilities that now feature five-axis machining centres, Complete Engineering draws in work from customers in a variety of industry sectors, including motor-sport, automotive, agricultural equipment and food processing.

The recent investment in a Mikron five-axis machining centre saw the company turn to WNT — one of four main brands covered by Ceratizit UK & Ireland Ltd (www.wnt.com) — for a complete work-holding and tooling package.

After working with Mr Darbyshire and WNT applications engineer Billy Poore, Complete Engineering took delivery of a total solution that included assistance with the post-processing of programs and the supply of CAD drawings of vices and tooling.

The work-holding package was a combination of WNT’s ZSG4 Zero Point vices, MNG Zero Point plates and riser blocks, and a collection of MNG Alu-Form collets.

These are machinable collet chucks for second-operation work that allow companies to machine a form into the collet for precise gripping of components with irregular shapes.

Once a batch has been completed, the collet can be skimmed ready for another form to be machined.

Mr Monkhouse says: “To remain competitive, we have to keep investing in tooling, as we endeavour to push everything as hard as we can to maximise productivity. A part of our philosophy is not to compromise, so we buy tooling that is optimised for each job. While this may sound extravagant, it is fully justified by the productivity gains that we can make.”

Examples of maximising tooling performance at Complete Engineering are seen in the company’s use of WNT’s DLC (diamond-like coating) end mills for machining aluminium and the WNT 2011 face-mill system, which the company runs with a 2.5mm depth of cut, a 60% step-over, a speed of 300m/min and a feed of 0.5mm per tooth.

WNT’s Mr Darbyshire said: “Our business with Complete Engineering is all down to the relationship that we have developed. We were willing to stand on the ‘duckboard’ when they were a much smaller company, and that commitment has been rewarded with our long-term partnership.”

Partnerships are a ‘two-way street’ and involve more than just ‘business’. Mr Walker and Mr Monkhouse have both experienced WNT’s hospitality, being regulars at the WNT/XYZ Machine Tools Trackday, which is hosted by Moto3 racer Sam Burman (who is sponsored by WNT).

Mr Walker said: “At the last Trackday, we thought we would pay something back. As Sam is a machinist herself, we were happy to sponsor her racing helmets.

In return she paid us a visit on her way to race at Knockhill in Scotland, and spent several hours talking to
all our guys, who were fascinated by her story.

"This is just a small way in which we can return some of the benefit that we’ve had from our partnership with WNT over the years — and a nice way to help celebrate our 20th anniversary.”

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