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Aerospace Subcontractor Takes off with Fastems
Aerospace Subcontractor Takes off with Fastems

Aerospace Subcontractor Takes off with Fastems

Added to MTDCNC by AUTODESK on 13 July 2015

As a company that has steadily been growing Hampshire based RE Thompson Precision Engineers has now trebled in size in just 5 years. With growth for this aerospace and defence industry subcontractor being so prolific,  MTD went along to find out a little more...

Speaking to Mr Matthew Shaw, Head of Sales at RE Thompson says: ‘’Our growth has been down to a managing director that has put his hands in his pockets and invested in the latest technology. Along with the investment, we have grown the workforce, the skills and in particular the level of automation. We have invested in a Fastems automation pallet system and these are linked to Mori-Seiki machines. We now work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 363 days a year. But the factory is only manned for 12 hours a day.’’

‘’Sales for the business have grown significantly, so we can load the pallets and Fastems will run parts through the night and automatically check what is going on. It will automatically prioritise jobs and run the machines most efficienlty. In a global competitive market, all our investment has been geared towards running the machines 24/7.’’

The growth for RE Thompson will see it soon move to a nearby facility that will be four times the size of the existing premises. Added to this, the company is planning to install another three Mori Seiki twin pallet machining centres - and according to Mr Shaw, that won't be end of the continued growth strategy. With regards to reliability, the Fastems system or the machine will detect any errors, pallet out the job and automatically move on to the next job. 

‘’We couldn't live without the automation and we couldn't man the night shifts. Our labour force just works days and they are much happier. In our aerospace and defence markets, the workload is not about production runs. We have to be flexible. We run some jobs that are 5 off and others that are 25 off per month. Occasionally, we run 100 off a month, but there aren't many aircraft programs that demand that quantity level.’’

Commenting upon the Fastems package, Fastems UK General Manager, Mr Nick Statham says: ‘’Automation can be applied to all types of machine tool. With modern twin pallet machine tools, manufacturers could achieve up to 45% machine utilisation. With an entry level Fastems system, customers can probably double that 45% spindle efficiency. If a manufacturer is investing in two machines, why not buy one and automate it.’’


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