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4 new Doosan Machining Centres at Morris Engineering

4 new Doosan Machining Centres at Morris Engineering

Added to MTDCNC by Mills CNC Ltd on 22 November 2012

Morris Engineering invests in 4 new Doosan machining centres to create a dedicated high-productivity manufacturing cell for oil and gas customer.

In a bid to boost productivity and improve component delivery times for one of its major oil and gas OEM customers, leading precision subcontractor Morris Engineering Ltd., based in Plymouth, recently invested in 4 x Doosan twin-pallet VC430 vertical machining centres with integrated 4th-axis units supplied as a turnkey solution by Mills CNC.

The 4 Doosan machines installed at the company’s 25,000sq ft facility in Plympton have been configured to create a dedicated high-productivity manufacturing cell producing ‘families’ of high-precision manifolds (advanced valve technology components) in medium sized batches from 316 Stainless.

This significant investment made by Morris Engineering over the last 12 months has delivered a real step change in business performance and has helped the company, as was the intention, improve manufacturing efficiencies, boost production capacity, increase flexibility, and control production costs.

As a result, Morris Engineering has not only been able to consolidate its preferred partner status with this oil and gas customer, whose business accounts for over 30% of Morris’ current turnover, but has also led to new contracts being secured with this customer.  

Says Antony Dyer, Production Director:

“Prior to making the investment in Doosan technology we were manufacturing (milling) these manifold parts on 6 x older vertical machining centres.

“These machines, whilst performing adequately, were not ideally suited to this type of work.”

The main issue with Morris’ existing machines concerned their power and, in particular, their ability to machine hard materials (such as 316 Stainless), efficiently and effectively and this had resulted in long cycle times and relatively short tool life.

A further productivity issue was that the existing machines operated as stand-alone units and could only produce one part at a time which, compounded by the numerous job set-ups involved and the different machining operations required to complete each part, caused pressure in meeting the customer’s delivery times.

Comments Antony Dyer:

“We needed to improve our efficiency and productivity to shorten lead times and, in line with our Lean Manufacturing Principles and Continuous Improvement Programmes, adopted a Single-Piece Flow approach to the production of these parts...and this ultimately led to the investment in the Doosan machines and the creation of the manufacturing cell.”

In the simplest of terms, Single-Piece Flow means that parts (in small batches) are moved seamlessly, step-by-step, between manufacturing operations thereby reducing work-in-progress (WIP) and improving on-time deliveries.

To achieve a Single-Piece Flow solution there are a number of pre-requisites that must be in place:

• Production processes must be able to consistently produce a good product. If there are quality issues, Single-Piece Flow is impossible to achieve.
• Process times must be repeatable. If there is variation, Single-Piece Flow cannot occur.
• Equipment must have very high (near 100 percent) uptime. If equipment within a manufacturing cell is plagued with downtime, Single-Piece Flow will be compromised.
Explains Antony Dyer:

“After thorough in-house analysis of the manufacturing challenge confronting us, which resulted in us determining that the creation of a dedicated manufacturing cell would deliver the productivity and efficiency gains we were looking to achieve, we approached a number of machine tool manufacturers to see what recommendations they could make and the assistance they could provide.

“Although our experience with Mills CNC at that time was limited to us purchasing a number of CNC lathes from them some time ago, we were impressed by their proactive approach and by their knowledge and expertise in designing, developing and implementing turnkey solutions.

“And following successful machining trials at their facility in Leamington we placed the order with them.”

The mainstay of the manufacturing cell at Morris Engineering are 4 x Doosan VC430 (twin-pallet) vertical machines, equipped with powerful, high-torque spindles (18.5kW/12,000rpm), 30-position (BT 40) tool-changers and 2 x 650mm x 450mm tables, which were supplied with integrated Lehmann 4th-axis units and Renishaw tool probes (for in-process tool inspection).

By configuring the 4 machines in pairs Single-Piece Flow has been achieved and the cell created has significantly increased productivity resulting in more parts being manufactured in less time.

The twin pallets on the machines, working in tandem with the 4th-axis units and innovative work-holding and fixtures designed and manufactured by Morris Engineering, means that job set-ups, work-handling and WIP have all been reduced – and the heavy-duty machining capabilities of the VC430 machines has further improved cycle times and cutting tool life.

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