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High-performance three-axis VMC investment

New machine is busy producing complex, high-precision components for a variety of customers

Posted on 31 Jan 2021 and read 1019 times
High-performance three-axis VMC investmentOxfordshire-based MRN Engineering Ltd, a precision sub-contract specialist, has invested in a a new high-performance three-axis vertical machining centre (VMC) supplied by Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of Doosan machine tools in the UK and Ireland.

The machine, a Fanuc-controlled Doosan DNM 5700, was installed at the company’s 120m2 modern manufacturing facility in early September 2020 and is being used to machine complex, high-precision components for a variety of customers.

These components, made from aluminium, steel, stainless steels and plastics, are machined to exacting geometric tolerances and surface finishes and have included prototypes and one-off test equipment/test rig parts for motorsport customers, pre-production and low-volume components for motorsport and automotive customers and precision prismatic parts (required in higher volumes) for a cabinet maker.

MRN Engineering Ltd was established in 2014 by owner and managing director Matt North, initially trading as a specialist engineering design consultancy working on a contract basis with a number of blue chip motorsport companies.

The main focus of the company’s operations then was in the R&D and design of specific test equipment for examining and measuring components’ and assemblies’ strength, durability and safety.

In June 2020, at the end of its latest contract and with the pandemic outbreak impacting on its ability to secure new contract work, Mr North decided to take the plunge and make his long-term vision for the company a reality.

He put into operation a plan to augment MRN Engineering’s range of services to include a high-end and bespoke manufacturing and machining capability.

‘One-stop-shop’ solutions provider

He said: “I had always wanted the company to develop and grow, and to become a ‘one-stop-shop’ solutions provider. Covid-19 acted as the catalyst to set about building and launching the machining/manufacturing arm of the company.”

Mills 1Although not starting entirely from scratch, the decision to significantly expand MRN Engineering’s services and capabilities involved a similar level of preparation and planning required of any new business start-up.

The first few months involved creating a business plan setting out the company’s aims and objectives, identifying the right location and suitable premises for the new business and investing in the right advanced technologies.

Mr North continued: “Essentially I was playing to my strengths — combining my design engineering knowledge and experience with my manufacturing and production know-how to create a unique offering.

“Having worked in the motorsport and automotive sectors for a considerable number of years, I knew the market, had established strong relationships and built a good reputation with key decision makers in a number of ‘target’ companies. I was confident that providing a seamless ‘design-to-manufacturing’ service could, and would be, a success.”

MRN Engineering decided to invest in a new Doosan DNM 5700 VMC as Mills CNC has a good reputation in the motorsport industry. It is a rigidly built, high-performance three-axis vertical machining centre equipped with a directly driven 12,000rev/min spindle that features roller LM guideways, a 30-position quick-change automatic tool changer and a 1,300 x 570mm work table.

Mr North explained: “I could have gone for something smaller but I needed a machine that was big and powerful enough to machine ‘large’, complex and high-precision prototype parts often involving long cycle times, as well as one that could machine multiple parts, quickly, in a single set-up.”

“Having researched the market and spoken to a number of colleagues and peers, who extolled the virtues of Mills CNC, in particular the company’s after-sales service and support. I discussed my requirements with sales and technical staff at Mills and made the decision to invest in the Doosan DNM 5700.”

Mills 2The machine, with its two year warranty, was installed at MRN Engineering’s facility in the first week of September and was, for increased productivity and process reliability, also supplied with a Blum TC50 touch probe and a Blum ZX Speed IR tool setting probe.

The DNM 5700 is currently being used to machine low-volume high-precision prototypes and parts for the motorsport sector, as well as to machine higher volume production parts for customers in other sectors.

Mr North concluded: “I wasn’t really expecting to be earning money during the first three months of operation - but I have exceeded these expectations - in no small part down to the acquisition of the DNM 5700.

“To further improve our productivity and re-emphasise our commitment to quality, we have recently invested in a coordinate measuring machine and, in the near future, will look to strengthen our machining and manufacturing capabilities still further.”