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Seychell looks to the future with WNT
Seychell looks to the future with WNT
Seychell looks to the future with WNT

Seychell looks to the future with WNT

Added to MTDCNC by WNT (UK) Ltd on 23 June 2014

Seychell Engineering & Fabrication has been around since 1985 and, for the first 28 years of its existence, it profitably produced high quality components for a range of market sectors, but without any particular focus. However, since the Bicester-based business was acquired by Roger Williams in 2013, Seychell is adapting itself to become a leading supplier to high performance industry sectors such as motorsport, automotive, scientific and medical. This is being achieved through targeted investment in people and technology along with the support of suppliers including WNT (UK).

The process of change at Seychell has followed a logical path starting with the setting of an overall strategy for the business together with priorities for change. Strategic reviews were then carried out in each business area to determine exactly what needed to be done. Following this change has been implemented in a controlled manner with new technology and processes being rolled out together with appointments to key management roles where necessary. Significant changes have already been implemented including the re-branding of the business, the launch of a new web site www.seychellgroup.com, the modernisation of all business systems and hardware together with investment in new machinery. The latest stage of the change program has focused on the engineering and inspection departments which resulted in the appointment of Nev Frisby as Engineering Production Manager in February 2014. Nev is quickly bringing his extensive knowledge of production engineering, and his self-confessed passion for motorsports, to bear on the business. This one step at a time approach has already seen the company place an order for a DMG Mori Ecoline 50 universal machining centre with 3 + 2 axis capability, which will be followed by a turning centre in the near future.

'The investment in machines such as the DMG Mori are significant steps for us and we have to be sure that they will deliver what we and our customers want. Our aim is to be the best amongst our peer group. That is why we have also taken the decision to work with WNT (UK) and form a technical partnership with them in regards to maximising the performance of our cutting tools and by default our machine tools,' says Nev Frisby.

'Having used WNT at my previous company I was confident that the tools, toolholding, and workholding would be as good if not better than anything else on the market. However, for Seychell it was the service levels that WNT guarantee that was the big differentiator. The confidence that WNT’s logistics system gives me, by being able to order up to 6:30 at night and knowing that the tools will be here the next morning means that we are never chasing tools and, we have the confidence to promise deliveries to customers that we couldn’t do with other tooling suppliers. In addition, we are also receiving excellent support from Warren Howard, WNT’s technical sales engineer. Now that we have the basics in place my next task is to look at every job we quote for, or are machining already, with the target of getting significant cost out of the manufacturing process. The support that Warren is providing is helping me to achieve that.'

One of the ways in which Seychell is reducing manufacturing costs is to look at every ongoing production job that it is machining as a turnkey package, with fixturing and tooling bundled together as sets in order to eliminate as much set-up time as possible. Using this system Nev Frisby estimates that from receipt of the works order on the shopfloor a machine can be set and running within 15 minutes, it also knows that the tooling in the bundle is the optimum for the job thanks to the input from WNT (UK). Once running, the operators can replenish any consumables, such as inserts or end mills, from the WNT Tool Service vending system that Seychell has installed. 'With the vending and the turnkey packages we have total control over the tooling side of things, freeing up valuable time to work on other elements of the business.'

In addition to the cutting tools from WNT (UK) Seychell also reviewed its toolholding and workholding. The initial thought was to look at shrink fit toolholders for the solid carbide cutters, but this would have involved additional investment, with the requirement of a holder for every tool shank, which can be prohibitive in terms of cost and stock. Therefore, the decision was made to go with WNT’s Centro P high precision collet system. Centro P toolholders combine precision and power with run-out accuracy of 3 micron, and clamping forces up to 560 Nm. Additionally, Each Centro P chuck is balanced to G 2,5 at 25000 revs/min and U ≤ 1gmm as standard, ensuring much higher levels of surface finish and reduced tool wear. It was a similar story with the workholding solution chosen by Seychell, where it went against convention and chose WNT’s ZSG2 vice system, which provides a universal clamping solution, being both centric and a single vice in one unit. 'Having the versatility to use the vices on the five-axis as well as three-axis machining centres is a major benefit,' says Nev Frisby. 'The modular design of the vice and the availability of a wide range of jaw configurations is also a big help, as is the fact that the leadscrew is totally enclosed, which greatly improves process security.'

The partnership between Seychell and WNT (UK) is a prime example of WNT’s focus on the small to medium sized manufacturing company and the development of a service and support network that perfectly meets their needs on a day-to-day basis. The philosophy being that as the customer grows, so will WNT’s sales a thought supported by Nev Frisby who says: 'I rely on the ability of WNT to deliver tools when I need them, with WNT’s help we now know that we can make anything to print, to the highest quality and on time. The support that WNT is providing at this early stage will be rewarded by ongoing and increased business as this new phase in Seychell’s history unfolds.'

The real measure of success of any change program though is the impact on the business and its customers. Even though the initial stages were focused on getting the business ’ready for business’ Seychell has already gained several significant new customers including for example the award of a significant machining contract from a major automotive/motorsport company to produce components for a new prestige supercar, which looks likely to extend further into the development of a long term strategic partnership. 'In a very short space of time, we have taken a solid business that was being run in a fairly old fashioned way to one that is operating to the latest processes and manufacturing standards using the latest technology; the result is that we are already seeing a positive impact on sales, and existing and potential customers are sitting up and taking notice of what we are doing. The encouraging thing is that we are still at an early stage of this reinvention of the business which we could not have achieved without the full co-operation of the entire workforce and suppliers, such as WNT (UK),' says Roger Williams, Managing Director, Seychell.


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