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Having the tool inventory to succeed

Hollingworth Design benefits from tooling input from Ceratizit

Posted on 17 May 2022 and read 748 times
Having the tool inventory to succeedLeaving regular employment in 2005 to start Hollingworth Design was a life-affirming moment for Paul Hollingworth, who had just recovered from cancer at the time. What began as a home-based consultancy, offering his extensive engineering design experience, has since evolved into a multi-million-pound business that, as well as still offering a design consultancy, has developed its own range of industrial compressed gas and vacuum systems, and a flourishing sub-contract machining service.

Since making the decision to branch out on his own, Paul has gained a strong reputation for his design work and along with that came a need to produce prototype parts. This meant a move into machining, initially with two small machines housed in his shed. However, as demand grew the need for a more formal set-up became too strong to ignore, so a move to a 4,000ft2 facility in Denton marked the next stage of development, along with the arrival of a turning centre and machining centre supplied by Devon-based XYZ Machine Tools.

Paul said: “We looked at the numbers and also the reluctance of other sub-contractors to take on our work and having machining in-house was the logical step.”

Growth opportunities

Having this new capability inevitably led to further growth opportunities and it wasn’t too long before further investment was made and the move into providing sub-contract machining services blossomed, followed by a move to the company’s present location — a brand new 12,000ft2 facility in Stockport.

Now at the heart of Hollingworth Design’s sub-contract capability are two Index bar-fed mill-turning centres, a G200-2 and a C100 machine, The capability of these machines, especially the G200-2 with its powerful B-axis and capability of simultaneous cutting with up to four tools opened up many possibilities.

Paul explained: “Any job that can be machined from bar is classed as a turning job, and goes on these machines, even if there is no actual turning involved.”

CeratizitApplying this philosophy allows cycle times to be drastically reduced, with help from cutting tool supplier Sheffield-based Ceratizit UK & Ireland. One particular component destined for use on superyachts particularly benefitted from Ceratizit’s input. Initially a four-flute 6mm diameter milling cutter was being used on these 303 stainless steel components.

However, following a recommendation from Ceratizit technical sales engineer Matt Darbyshire, this was changed to a five-flute Silverline solid carbide high-performance cutter from Ceratizit’s standard range. Running this cutter at 6,250rev/min (120m/min) and 0.1mm/rev feed rate with a 1.5mm step down every rev, this cutter completed the entire batch of 4,000 components without being changed.

Paul said: “The performance of this cutter simply blew me away, we achieved a cycle time of 3.5min per component, running the machine 24/7 and meeting all of our customer’s expectations.”

This is a typical example of the approach that Hollingworth Design takes, to look at every aspect of the job and engineer a process to make things better. To maximise the benefit for customers, Hollingworth Design looks at batch quantities from 500 upwards, recently completing a single order for 72,000 components. Machining these volumes demands support from Ceratizit in the form of regular visits from Matt along with daily management of tooling through use of a Ceratizit TOM 840 tool vending system.

CeratizitPaul continued: “Our turnover has grown dramatically in recent years with sub-contract machining contributing around £150,000 a month to our overall monthly turnover of £600,000. Managing the tooling requirement for this level of work needed to be streamlined and where possible eliminate the last-minute verbal orders for tooling to comply with our ERP system and maintain 24hr operation.”

Having the TOM 840 in place provides much greater flexibility for Hollingworth Design by having tooling available when needed, stock automatically reordered and restocked, without any requirement for in-house management time or added costs, with the tooling only invoiced for when it is used.

The Ceratizit TOM 840 unit is also supplied and installed free-of-charge to any customer meeting the minimum monthly spend of £3,000. Hollingworth Design also takes advantage of the Ceratizit re-grind service, which provides a quick turnround for all of its solid high speed steel and carbide cutters, returning them to ‘as new’ condition.