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In-house machining capacity and capabilities improved at a stroke

Wordsley General Engineering secures new machining contracts and achieve a rapid increase in turnover – up over 30% in less than six months

Posted on 13 Nov 2023 and read 1779 times
In-house machining capacity and capabilities improved at a strokeStourbridge-based Wordsley General Engineering Ltd (WGE), a precision sub-contract specialist has invested in two, large-capacity machines from Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of DN Solutions’ and Zayer machine tools in the UK and Ireland. The invesment — a DNM 750 II vertical machining centre (VMC) and a Puma 4100LB horizontal lathe — were installed at the company’s 2,400ft2 machine shop facility in May and July 2023, respectively, and are the first DN Solutions’ machines the company has acquired in its 14-year history.

WGE is a small company with a young and dynamic workforce and a reputation for achieving and delivering engineering excellence. Established in 2009, and currently employing eight people, the company provides high-quality machined components to customers in a variety of industrial sectors.

Furthermore, the company has built up a strong reputation for the fast and precise processing of precision sub-contract components. Machined from solid bar and billet, as well as castings and forgings, components machined by WGE, are characterised by their complexity, and by their tight ‘tied-up’ tolerances and high surface-finish requirements. These parts, typically made from steel, stainless steels and aluminium, are machined in small to medium volumes with batch sizes varying from one-offs (that includes prototypes and pre-production parts) through to 500-off.

WGE is a company committed to continuous improvement. It is passionate about delivering best-in-class machined components to its customers — delivered on time and in budget. To ensure future growth and profitability, it is always looking at ways in which it can differentiate itself in the market and exploit new business opportunities.

MillsBack in late 2022, with the disruption caused by pandemic firmly in its rear view mirror, WGE made the strategic decision to strengthen its in-house milling capacity and capabilities by investing in a new machining centre.

Adam Tarbet, WGE’s owner and managing director said: “The objective was to invest in a new, large capacity machine that would enable us to secure contracts, from new and existing customers, for machining large-size components that, in the past, would have been out of our reach. We did our homework on the size and specification of the new machine we wanted to acquire and, naturally, first approached our existing machining centre supplier with our requirements.”

Believing that the response it received from this supplier was not as competitive as it needed to be, WGE cast its net wider and decided to contact Mills CNC.

Mr Tarbet continued: “We had recently appointed a highly-experienced machinist (in August 2022) who, in his previous employment, had worked on Doosan machines from Mills CNC and extolled the virtues of both. Up to that point we always believed that Doosan/DN Solutions’ machines were going to be too expensive but, after discussions with representatives from Mills CNC, we were pleasantly surprised with the price of the new machine tool package they put together for us.”

The DNM 750 II recommended by Mills CNC is a large-capacity, three-axis vertical machining centre equipped with a powerful, high-torque 15.6kW 12,000rev/min Big Plus spindle (165.5N-m), a 40-tool position automatic tool changer (ATC), a large worktable and the advanced Fanuc 0iTP control with a 15in touchscreen iHMI.

The DNM 750 II is fast and flexible and features 24-30m/min rapids, linear guides, through-spindle-coolant capability and a spindle chiller. The model supplied to WGE was also delivered with a Nikken 260 fourth-axis unit for fast part indexing.

Mr Tarbet added: “The DNM 750 II is a heavy-duty machining centre and its 1,630mm x 750mm worktable enables us to machine large components and/or smaller components in a single set-up, and its rigid design and build means we can ramp up speeds and feeds, and take more aggressive depths of cut, when required, to help reduce cycle times and increase work throughput.”

According to Adam Tarbet, the DNM 750 II, despite only recently being installed, has already had a dramatic impact on the company’s turnover, increasing it by 30% in less than six months. With such a positive experience of DN Solutions’ machine tool technology, it was no surprise that WGE approached Mills CNC when looking to improve its turning capabilities in June 2023.

PumaHe explained: “We contacted Mills CNC as we needed to increase our in-house turning capacity. We were looking at investing in a proven, heavy-duty lathe with a large turning diameter and turning length and, following in-depth discussions with Mills, we decided to invest in a new 15in chuck, 116.5 bar capacity, box guideway Puma 4100LB.”

The Fanuc-controlled Puma 4100LB provides WGE with a significant increase in its turning capacity and capabilities. The lathe has a maximum turning diameter of 550mm and maximum turning length of 2092mm, and is equipped with a powerful, gear-box driven 26kW 2,000rev/min spindle, a servo-driven 10-station turret and a hydraulic manual tailstock.

The machine was also supplied with a Filtermist dust extraction unit, vital when machining castings, and was installed at WGE’s machine shop in July 2023, just four weeks after being ordered. To increase the machine’s productivity potential still further, a SLU4X steady rest was also ordered and, in the near future, an 18in chuck will be retrofitted for larger chucking work.

Mr Tarbet said: “The Puma 4100LB is a beast of a machine. In addition to its impressive overall performance, embedded functionality within its Fanuc control, like the variable speed option, enables boring operations to be undertaken without vibrations, resulting in faster and more precise part processing.”

WGE’s decision to invest in DN Solutions’ machine tools from Mills CNC is paying dividends resulting in the company having a full order book. Since their installation, both machines have been, and are being, put through their paces and, according to Adam Tarbet, the new investments have helped the company “acquire more than 10 new customers in just a few months”.

He concluded: “We are delighted with our two new DN Solutions’ machines, and with the service and support we have received from Mills CNC.”