On a journey toward sustainable machining.
Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of DN Solutions’ and Zayer machine tools in the UK and Ireland, has recently supplied precision subcontract specialist – Machined Component Systems (MCS) – with two new, Fanuc-controlled, multi-tasking turning centres.
The machines, a 10” chuck Puma 2600SY II sub-spindle, Y-axis lathe, and an 8” chuck TT 1800SY twin-spindle/twin-turret turning centre, both supplied with high-productivity Hydrafeed MSV80 bar feeders, were installed at the company’s 20,000sq. ft. facility in Redditch in May and October 2023, respectively.
The latest arrivals have significantly strengthened MCS’, already impressive, in-house machining capacity and capabilities, and take the total number of machine tools the company now has at its disposal to 40 – five of which are DN Solutions and Doosan machines supplied by Mills CNC.
Says MCS’ managing director, Warren Gray:
“Our relationship with Mills CNC stretches back to 2001 when we invested in a Daewoo ACE V400 (twin-pallet) vertical machining centre.
“This wasn’t just the first machine tool we purchased from Mills but was also our first milling machine acquisition per se.
“The investment proved instrumental in helping us reposition the company from being one that was focused entirely on machining turned parts, to one that was able to provide a more comprehensive range of high quality machining services.”
The ACE V400 investment also demonstrated that MCS was a keen advocate of automation and multi-tasking machine tools – something that has continued, and grown, ever since.
Since their installation, the two new DN Solutions’ machines have been put through their paces, machining complex and high-precision components made from all steels, stainless steels, aluminium, brass etc.
Components are machined in large batches from solid (bar and billet) and near net castings and forgings and machining times for most components are typically short, usually only a few minutes, with MCS’s main focus being on a) reducing set up times and b) achieving guaranteed part quality and consistency over any, and all, batch machining runs.
For many customers, components are supplied on a ‘just-in-time’ basis and are delivered direct to their production lines.
MCS’s ability to do this is testament to the quality and reliability of its advanced machine tools and the robust machining processes designed and developed to reduce operational costs and meet customers’ demanding lead times.
For one particular customer, MCS delivers over 140 components per week to 14 different line side locations thus demonstrating the company’s Tier 1, critical supply chain position.
Says MCS’s managing director, Warren Gray:
“We operate (mainly) in a Low-Mix: High-Volume (LMHV) production environment where the emphasis is on highly-optimised and repeatable processes. Our customers rely on us, and we are a vital cog in their manufacturing process chains.”
Latest investment decisions: a closer look
MCS is no stranger to investing in advanced machine tool technologies and, as part of its continuous improvement programme, regularly monitors and evaluates its in-house machining capacity and capabilities to identify (in advance) production pinch points and bottlenecks before they become an issue or problem.
To improve its productivity and performance, the company has increasingly invested in multi-tasking machine tools and its latest investment in two, new DN Solutions’ models are a case in point.
“Advanced multi-tasking machines, with one-hit machining capabilities, improve our productivity and help make us more competitive”, explains Warren Gray.
“To help increase output, many of our fixed head lathes and turning centres (as well as our sliding head machines), are integrated with high productivity bar feeders that enable them to run unattended and ensure continuous production.”
1) Puma 2600SY
The investment in the Puma 2600SY followed the identification of an under-performing lathe which, if not addressed, would compromise MCS’s productivity and process efficiencies.
“The machine was old and was prone to break down”, remembers Warren Gray.
“Despite having worked well over the years, it required significant maintenance interventions to keep it going. So, rather than struggle on and ‘make-do’, we decided to trade-in the machine for a new multi-tasking, sub-spindle, Y-axis turning centre: the DN Solutions’ Puma 2600SY fitted our requirements, perfectly.”
The best-selling 10” chuck/81mm bar capacity Puma 2600SY features a 22kW/4,000rpm main spindle, a 15kW/6,000rpm sub-spindle, a 12/24-station turret, driven tooling (5,000rpm) and Y-axis (+/- 52.5mm) capabilities.
In addition to being supplied with a bar feeder the machine was delivered to MCS with an auto tool setter, Hainbuch mini collet chucks and a ExoMist HPM 1000 mist collection unit.
Explains Warren Gray:
“The Puma 2600SY is fast, accurate, powerful and reliable. With its integrated Y-axis and sub-spindle the machine is capable of processing high-precision, complex parts in one-hit and, in a relatively short period of time, has proved its worth.
“It was these capabilities, in addition to its (virtual) immediate availability, that clinched the deal.”
2) TT 1800SY
The investment in the TT 1800SY turning centre was made as a direct result, back in early 2023, of an existing customer dramatically uplifting its requirements for high-quality mill-turned machined parts.
Whilst obviously great news for MCS, the increase in demand, if not addressed quickly and decisively, would have swallowed up a significant proportion of the company’s existing turning capacity and, as a consequence, would have compromised its ability to fulfil its machining contract obligations with other customers.
Says Warren Gray:
“It takes time and effort to build long-term, preferred supplier relationships with customers and, although we welcomed the increased business, we had to address capacity issues to ensure continuity of supply to all our customers.
“As a consequence, we made the decision to increase our turning capacity and capabilities by trading-in an older lathe for a new twin-spindle/twin-turret turning centre from Mills CNC.”
The machine selected was a DN Solutions’ TT 1800SY.
The 8” chuck/65mm bar capacity TT 1800SY is a flexible, high-productivity turning centre designed for fast small part processing.
The machine is equipped with twin spindles, both 22kW/5,000rpm, two 12/24-position turrets, driven tooling (6,000rpm), and +/- 50mm Y-axis capability on its upper turret.
The TT 1800SY was installed at MCS’s facility in October 2023 and, in addition to the bar feeder, was supplied with Hainbuch (65mm) mini collet chucks and an ExoMist (HPM-600) high-performance mist collection unit.
Explains Warren Gray:
“The TT 1800SY allows simultaneous machining on both spindles, and also enables us to perform high precision milling, drilling and tapping operations in a single set up.
“By integrating the machine with a bar feeder we have a ‘de facto’ flexible automated manufacturing cell at our disposal.
“As with the Puma 2600SY investment, the fact that the machine was available in stock, ready for immediate delivery, was a key factor in our decision making.
“Mills’ after-sales service and support, and proactive business approach, were also important considerations with both the TT 1800SY and Puma 2600SY investments.”
2024 is likely to be a ‘watershed’ year for MCS.
The company is currently undertaking a significant re-branding exercise and, in the New Year, will launch a new ‘sustainable machining’ initiative into the market designed to achieve organic growth from existing customers and attract new business from EV, energy, renewables, water industry management customers etc.
The move, brought about in no small part by Warren Gray’s passion for our rivers and seas, and witnessing first hand, the environmental damage to the earth’s natural resources from sewage, pollution and single-use plastics, will see MCS launch a new environmentally-aware website devoted to sustainable machining – providing a platform for the company to promote its ‘green’ credentials.
The company already has a lot to shout about.
From recently investing £250k in solar panels, which now generates 30% of its electricity requirements and is proving instrumental in reducing the company’ carbon footprint, through to investing in energy-efficient machine tools and equipment, MCS is repositioning itself as a sustainability ‘champion’.
Says Warren Gray:
“Climate change, energy consumption and conservation, and sustainability are already key business drivers, and will become more important in the future.
“Many companies (domestic and international) are developing ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) standards detailing how, for example, they will achieve their own net-zero targets and reduce societal impacts.
“As a Tier 1 and Tier 2 supplier to many blue-chip companies, we are conscious that customers’ ESG frameworks will be used to screen future supplier chain partners.
“As a consequence we have adopted a proactive and transparent approach to sustainability from both an ethical and an energy conservation perspective, and our new website will provide details of our practices, policies and metrics used to benchmark our performance.”
As far as new technology procurement is concerned, MCS’s recent investment in DN Solutions’ multi-tasking machines tools which feature all-grease lubrication systems, eco-friendly LED lighting, high-efficiency coolant motor pumps and inverter-controlled chip conveyor motors, in addition, to the integration of high-performance mist extraction systems provide evidence of the company’s continuing commitment to sustainable machining.
Concludes Warren Gray:
“Sustainability is a journey, not a destination. There are always improvements that can be made to manufacturing methods and processes, and in addition to investing in energy efficient machine tools, we have already made significant investments in automation (i.e. creating autonomous robot cells which may not consume less energy, but do more with the energy consumed), and the application of dry machining, minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) and eco-friendly cutting fluids where practicable and viable.”
17/11/2023Enquire about this StoryGo to Supplier's WebsiteReturn to News Overviews