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‘SMART’ move for start-up Herriott Precision

New precision sub-contract company acquires first machine tool — supplied by Mills CNC

Posted on 26 May 2024. Edited: John Hunter. Read 845 times.
‘SMART’ move for start-up Herriott PrecisionWorecestershire-based Herriott Precision Ltd, a precision sub-contract start-up, has acquired its first machine tool – a new DN Solutions’ high-specification, multi-tasking lathe supplied by Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of DN Solutions’ and Zayer machine tools in the UK and Ireland.

The Fanuc-controlled 8in chuck/67mm bar diameter Lynx 2100LSYB sub-spindle, Y-axis lathe, which was part of an investment package with a bar feeder and bar support unit (BSU), an oil mist extraction unit and a swarf conveyor and bin, is the first machine acquired by the company since it opened its doors for business last month.

The machine was installed at the company’s facility and was supplied to Herriott Precision through Mills’ ‘SMART Options’ machine tool rental scheme which enables manufacturers to ‘rent’ a new DN Solutions’ machine for an initial 12-month period, and is an attractive and flexible option for component manufacturers looking to increase and improve their machining capacity and capabilities, without being tied to a long-term finance agreement.

With no deposit required and with training provided as part of the SMART Options package, via an agreed schedule of tailored monthly repayments, also provides customers with a number of commercial advantages including off-balance sheet accounting and reporting, and rental repayments being 100% allowable against taxable profits. Despite being installed just a few short weeks ago, the Lynx 2100LSYB is already earning its keep machining a range of small, high-precision and complex parts for a range of customers. These components, typically machined from solid in small batches, are characterised by their tight, tied-up tolerances and high-surface-finish requirements.

HerriottLike all new start-up businesses, Herriott Precision has spent a lot of time and effort raising its profile and promoting its machining credentials in order to attract and secure high-value repeat business. To this end, the company has become a fully signed up member of the Qimtek Supplier Network, a digital portal facility that enables direct communication between sub-contractors looking for work and buyers searching for companies to carry out their machining projects.

Herriott Precision owner and director Joshua Herriott said: “The Qimtek relationship was our first port of call to acquire work, and is a stepping stone to us securing new, long-term machining contracts in the future.” As well as Qimtek advisors helping Herriott Precision develop a new website, which is now live — www.herriottprecision.co.uk — the relationship has also helped the company secure a contract to machine high-precision aerofoil prototype parts for a design engineer/entrepreneur. This work is ideal for the Lynx 2100LSYB and involves machining, to high and repeatable accuracies, eight separate housings manufactured from an aerospace-grade aluminium alloy solid billet.

‘One hit’ capabilities

The front end of the part is machined on the lathe’s main spindle and is then transferred to the sub-spindle for machining the back-end. Milled features, including bores and threads, are then axially and radially machined on the part using the Lynx’s Y-axis and driven tooling. Since securing the contract, further discissions with the customer have resulted in Herriott Precision being approached to machine a number of different DELRIN components, that complete the entire aerofoil assembly.

Mr Herriott continued: “The Lynx lathe’s multi-tasking, ‘one-hit’ capabilities, combined with my machining and programming experience, enabled a very competitive quote to be sent to the customer which was ultimately successful.”

The Lynx 2100LSYB is a highly-popular compact lathe with a 300mm turning diameter and a 510mm turning length. The standard machine is equipped with a main 15kW 4,500rev/min main spindle, a +/-52.5mm Y-axis, 6,000rev/min driven tooling capabilities, a servo-driven 12/24-position turret, and a 5.5kW 6,000rev/min sub-spindle. Other features include a Fanuc iPlus control with a 15in touchscreen iHMI for fast set-up and programming, an automatic parts catcher, a set of 5in and 8in three-jaw hydraulic chucks and an automatic tool setter for improved process reliability.

HerriottThe Lynx 2100LSYB supplied to Herriott Precision was equipped with a number of options and accessories, including a high-efficiency FilterMist oil mist extraction unit, a MH500 swarf conveyor and bin, Hainbuch collet chucks and a Hydrafeed MSV65 servo-driven, short-magazine bar feeder with an integrated bar support unit. The inclusion of a bar feeder adds another string to Herriott Precision’s bow and stengthens its ability to secure new business from customers.

Mr Herriott continued: “To date, we have only used our Lynx 2100LSYB for chucking work. However, the integration of a bar feeder enables us to take on new, higher-volume work and, where feasible, run the machine unattended to achieve improved productivity and process efficiencies.”

He is an apprentice-trained toolmaker and has significant experience in and throughout the aerospace and medical manufacturing supply chains. In 2019, some years after also completing a HNC in mechanical engineering, Mr Herriott decided to become a self-employed project engineer and worked on a range of fixed-term contracts for a number of companies.

These contracts varied in scope and scale and included: designing, developing, standardising and implementing new lean manufacturing processes and best-practice methods for machining super-alloy turbine blades for an aerospace customer; introducing customised ‘one-piece flow’ techniques to improve a medical device (orthopaedic implants) customer’s manufacturing cell’s efficiency and productivity.

It was with the latter where Mr Herriott first came across Leamington-based Mills CNC and the Doosan MX mill-turn machines the company had supplied to this manufacturer. This knowledge and experience stood him in good stead and when Mr Herriott decided to set up Herriott Precision, which he acknowledges “was always his end game” — it was natural that he contacted Mills CNC to find out what machine tool technologies might be available, and what support they could offer.

Mr Herriott concluded: “Mills has been very supportive and proactive – exactly what was required to help me get the business up and running. Acquiring a high-specification DN Solutions’ multi-tasking lathe on a rental basis, has helped control costs and manage cashflow, and has been a key factor in helping secure machining contracts for prototypes, pre-production parts and small batch production runs. There are many complex and time-consuming issues to address and resolve when setting up a new business such as finding suitable premises, attracting and securing funding. The learning curve is steep and without the support of Mills CNC this would have been much more difficult to negotiate.”