Standfast lives up to its name as sector recovers

Posted on 10 Feb 2019 and read 1687 times
Standfast lives up to its name as sector recoversThe recent downturn in the oil and gas market hit many sub-contract companies hard, and while many chose to down-size, Banffshire-based Standfast Precision Engineering (www.spe.switchedonsystems.com) made the decision to ‘ride it out’ in order to be ready when the work started to return — fully manned with all the skills it needed to hit the ground running.

Company director Malcolm Fraser said: “Most of our work is in the oil and gas sector, mainly providing parts for instrumentation and logging systems.

"When we bought the business in 2000, we had no work whatsoever; then one customer appeared with a wad of drawings and told us to ‘crack on’. That customer has stayed loyal to us throughout, and it was relationships like this that gave us the confidence to work through the latest downturn.

"This is the third oil and gas sector slump we have experienced, and we knew that things would eventually pick up, so it was a case of ‘take it as it comes’ while maintaining the skills that we had.”

Standfast had looked at further machine investment before the slump but waited until last year, when it replaced its existing TC 250 turning centres with the latest TC 400 models from Burlescombe-based XYZ Machine Tools (www.xyzmachinetools.com).

“Working with materials such as Super Duplex and Inconel, we needed a substantial machine, and while the TC 250 machines coped well, the TC 400 machines have improved things considerably.

"They may look similar, but the construction of the TC 400s is more substantial, and their added rigidity means that they can handle bigger cuts in these materials, while holding tolerances for longer. Our tooling consumption has also been reduced.”

When Standfast Precision initially looked at turning centres from XYZ, it only ordered one TC 250, but a second machine was installed within three months.

“We work on some tight deadlines with extremely short lead times, and a second machine was important to have capacity available at short notice.

"Therefore, when the time came to upgrade to the XYZ TC 400 machines, it made perfect sense to bring two in at the same time, with XYZ taking the old machines away in part exchange.”

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