As a subcontract manufacturer, Birmingham based Larkshill Engineering has just invested in a 5-axis Correa machining centre from DTS to increase its customer base in the aerospace, nuclear, oil & gas and Mould & die sectors.
Established for over 25 years, Larkshill has grown to become a specialist in precision manufacturing across a diverse range of industries and applications. Its principle product range includes special purpose machines, jigs, fixture, press tools, moulds and gauges for application across a wide spectrum of engineering requirements. So, a new machine tool was required to meet its growth ambitions.
Commenting on the acquisition of the DTS machine, Mr Gary Murphy, Project Manager at Larkshill Engineering says: 'We have always remained responsive to our customers needs and this involves creating flexible capacity levels on our CNC machining, turning, grinding and EDM machines to deliver what the customer wants. By meeting customer demands, we are expanding to add new capacity and complement our existing capabilities as our customers require a one-stop-shop solution, and we are aiming to tick all the boxes.'
'The addition of the Correa gives us flexibility as it allows us to do intricate, complex and precision components but also heavy duty parts. There genuinely aren't many machines that can tick both boxes in that regard. It also allows us to improve lead-times whilst reducing our costs. '
With the commercial aspects of the purchase covered by Gary Murphy, MTD next spoke with Mr Neil Harrison, the Production Manager at Larkshill Engineering to get an insight into the technical justification for purchasing the Correa large bed 5-axis machining centre. Mr Harrison confirmed: 'The machine has an unusual layout of the travelling column. This enables the Y-axis to move back really far and enables us to put really large parts on the machine. Furthermore, the table will take seven tonne in weight, so it gives us some really great capacity, flexibility and also the ability to load very heavy and large parts. '
'Added to this, its such a strong, historic and well recognised brand that is built on a well proven design. We know that the machine will last the distance rather than buy a machine that will last 5 years and die! It also gives us incredible accuracy with 0.02mm resolution on the milling head that is really robust with dual Hirth couplings that gives us exceptional strength. We machine a lot of aerospace grade materials and we need precision, repeatability and rigidity that will permit heavy duty cutting. The Correa gives us that.'
'The machine is a new concept for us and definitely a learning curve. However, the learning curve has been all about learning how much more we can actually get out of the machine than we expected.'
Asked about the plans for the future of the business, Mr Murphy continues: 'In the future you could expect to see a few more Correa machines. We are expanding our scope in respect to Tier 1 customers and we have to fill our new facility to meet these ambitions. This will enable us to achieve our targets in the nuclear, oil & gas and automotive sectors in addition to our existing aerospace work.'