Lynx 2100LY multi-tasking lathe on the shopfloor at MRN Engineering
Banbury-based MRN Engineering
, a precision sub-contract specialist, has invested in a new Lynx 2100LY multi-tasking lathe supplied by Leamington Spa-based Mills CNC
as a route to increasing its machining capacity and capabilities and providing customers with a one-stop-shop machining resource.
In September 2020, the company purchased a new Doosan DNM 5700 vertical machining centre from Mills CNC (pictured below), its first CNC machine, to help diversify its operations away from being a purely specialist engineering design consultancy to one that could also machine prototypes and pre-production parts primarily for a number of automotive and motorsport customers.
Virtually 12 months, to the day, since the arrival of the DNM 5700 machining centre saw MRN Engineering acquire its second Doosan machine and install it in its 120m2
facility. This latest addition is a 6in chuck Lynx 2100LYA multi-tasking lathe equipped with a powerful 15kW, 6,000rev/min spindle, 6,000 rev/min driven tooling capability, an integrated Y-axis (+/-52.5mm), a 12-station turret and programmable tailstock, and features the advanced Fanuc 0iTP control with a 15in touchscreen iHMI.
MRN Engineering is a small company with big ambitions and like all businesses with drive and the will to succeed, is committed to continuous improvement.
Owner and managing director Matt North said: “In business if you’re not investing and moving forwards you are, in reality, going backwards. As a progressive company with one eye on the future, it was always my intention, as long as good trading conditions persisted, to increase the scope and scale of our machining services by acquiring a second machine.”
The big question then for MRN was less to do with whether to invest in a second machine tool and more to do with what machine to acquire and the best time to take the plunge.
There were a number of reasons why MRN Engineering decided to invest in a Lynx 2100LYA lathe from Mills CNC in the latter half of 2021. Top of the list was that throughout 2021 a number of existing ‘milling’ customers had enquired whether the company could provide high-quality in-house turning solutions.
Mr North added: “The level of enquiries proved to me that turning work was there. it was just that I was in no position to really take advantage of it.
“Some customers prefer, from perceived cost, quality and on-time delivery perspectives, that work is handled by a single source supplier and is not sub-contracted out. Even when this wasn’t the case, I just wasn’t competitive enough on the turning side and, on occasions, ended up losing not just the turning work but the milling business too. A real ‘lose-lose’ situation.”
A number of other customers, knowing that I had no in-house turning capacity, quietly went about placing this work with ‘other’ precision sub-contractors.
Mr North explained: “Despite having built a good reputation with these customers I clearly wasn’t in the frame for this type of work. It seemed as though I was missing a trick.”
With all the signs suggesting that there was a definite and consistent demand for high-quality, competitively-priced precision turning services — MRN Engineering ‘bit the bullet’ and decided to act.
From talking over his ideas of expanding his operation with customers and peers, and by gauging their reactions, MRN Engineering’s ‘turning’ plans began to take shape.
Mr North continued: “Owing to space constraints at the facility it was clear that I needed a compact lathe. I also made the business decision, owing to the sectors and industries I serve — namely automotive and motorsport — to focus on precision turning and on low volume, small parts production.
“To ensure high-productivity, machining flexibility and overall competitiveness, I also decided to explore multi-tasking, multi-axis lathes rather than going for an entry-level two-axis machine.”
Having already established positive and mutually beneficial relationships with Mills CNC, it was natural that MRN Engineering discussed its turning plans with Mills’ sales and applications engineers.
These discussions culminated in a new Lynx 2100 lathe with integrated Y-axis, C-axis and driven tooling capabilities being recommended. The fact that a Lynx 2100LYA lathe was in stock at Mills CNC’s campus facility in Leamington and was ready for immediate delivery, made the decision to invest, a relatively straightforward one to make.
The new Lynx 2100LY has significantly strengthened MRN Engineering’s capabilities. Machining work that involves both milling and turning operations can be, and is being, quoted more accurately, quickly and successfully.
Mr North added: “We are now in a win-win position. Being able to handle milling and turning work in house makes our, and our customers’, lives easier.”
ATo help increase its turning capabilities still further, MRN Engineering has recently invested in a new Hydrafeed Multifeed 65 electro-pneumatic bar feeder and integrated it with the Lynx 2100LY.
Mr North concluded: “The bar feeder opens up a whole new range of possibilities. Automating the Lynx means that I can now machine larger batch sizes and run the machine unattended. As a result, I am able to improve operational efficiencies, reduce job set-up times and the cost per part.”
Although still relatively ‘early days’, MRN Engineering’s investment in a new Lynx lathe is paying dividends and has enabled the company to provide a more comprehensive range of high-quality, competitively-priced machining services to existing and new customers.