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PP C&A marks 10-year ‘outsourcing’ anniversary with Winbro deal

Posted on 17 May 2022 and read 551 times
PP C&A marks 10-year ‘outsourcing’ anniversary with Winbro dealWest Midlands-based PP Control & Automation (PP C&A), one of the UK’s leading strategic manufacturing outsourcing specialists, has signed a major deal to support the development of the world’s most productive EDM drilling machine.

The company, which employs over 230 people at its ‘state of the art’ facility in Cheslyn Hay, will assemble the EDM generator module that forms the heartbeat of Leicestershire-based Winbro Group Technologies’ new HSD-351 model.

A new production cell manned by eight PP C&A experts has been set-up to complete the build, with work on the first 25 units set to begin shortly for use in drilling holes in complex aero and industrial gas turbine blades and nozzle guide vanes.

It is a mutually beneficial relationship that has spanned a decade and 10 different model variants, with the decision to outsource continuing to provide production ‘flex’, reduced assembly time and improved supply chain management for Winbro.

Tony Hague, CEO of PP C&A, said: “If you are going to write a book about strategic manufacturing outsourcing and how it can work, I would like to think this relationship would be in the case study section. To work with a company that operates in such a demanding field for ten years is some achievement and we are delighted to be entering our ‘testimonial year’ with a new machine tool to help them build. The HSD-351 is an EDM machine that packs so much power in so little space and we have been instrumental in helping produce the heartbeat of the model – the EDM generator module.”

The world’s most productive EDM drilling machine

Manufacturers are increasingly looking to deliver more productivity via metre squared of space on their shopfloor and this drove Winbro Group Technologies’ decision to develop and launch the HSD-351 system. With a footprint of just 2.5m2, this is the world’s most productive EDM drilling machine and boasts a capacity of almost 700 electrodes, across a range of diameters giving unprecedented lights-out machining capability. It will more than meet a strategy of drilling the maximum number of right first-time parts within a square metre and is packed with the company’s usual technology and performance.

Gary Robinson, Winbro Group Technologies vice president of sourcing, said: “The HSD-351 is proving that a small footprint can also be powerful, delivering more performance than our previous best-in-class model. At the heart of this capability is the EDM Generator module, which is assembled and built at PP Control & Automation to ensure we get the same repeatable quality in every unit.”

He added: “This machine really illustrates the strength of our relationship — it is business critical. Together, we sat down and looked at the design for manufacture for the generator and, using the expertise of both firms, we were able to come up with an assembly process that is faster and more efficient.”

He continued: “It also has the benefit of being fully UL 508A approved for the American market, something we now take for granted after working with PP Control & Automation for so long.”

Engineers at PP C&A’s world-class manufacturing and assembly plant are just getting started on the first of 25 units over the course of the next 12 months, with design for manufacturing contributing to an assembly time reduction.

In a world where supply chain disruption is rife, PP Control & Automation is also managing the full bill of materials for the generator and using its purchasing power to secure hard-to-reach electrical components.

Mr Robinson concluded: “Historically, we enjoyed the challenge of retaining every element of manufacture in-house, an approach that doesn’t always produce optimum results. Instead, we chose the path of focusing on our core competencies and then looked to outsource the parts of assembly that other companies were well qualified to handle for us.

“This was possibly the best decision we ever made, and, in PP C&A, we have a strategic partner that offers us world-class quality and delivery performance, tied in with the ability to ramp up or decrease volumes depending on demand.”