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Investment in new high-performance Lynx lathes at AFC
Investment in new high-performance Lynx lathes at AFC

Investment in new high-performance Lynx lathes at AFC

Added to MTDCNC by Mills CNC Ltd on 05 March 2014

Banbury-based precision subcontract specialist AFC Precision Engineering & Supplies Ltd has recently invested in two new Doosan Lynx lathes supplied by Mills CNC.

The machines, both Lynx 300M models supplied with Iemca bar-feeders, were installed at the company’s facility in March 2011 and December 2013 respectively, and are being used to machine a diverse range of high-precision complex parts and components for the company’s equally diverse and growing customer base.

The Lynx lathe investment reflects a significant step-change in AFC Precision’s business direction and positioning.

First established in 1980 the company was, until relatively recently, one hundred percent focused on providing a rapid-response breakdown, repair and replacement parts service to a number of local and regional manufacturing companies in the area.

These companies, from a range of different sectors (i.e. food & drink, automotive, industrial manufacturing and processing etc.), subcontracted-out, either in full or in part, their plant and equipment breakdown and repair requirements to AFC Precision.

Explains AFC Precision’s Managing Director, Phil Upton:

'Manufacturing companies, motivated by a need to downsize and to control costs, reduced their in-house maintenance and repair departments.

'Our proximity to them combined with our knowledge and skills enabled us to pick-up the slack.'

Whilst this type of work was welcomed by AFC Precision - it wasn’t without its issues.

Says Phil Upton:

'When you provide an emergency breakdown and repair service you’re effectively on-call 24/7.

'Customers contact you at all times of the day and night when a part or a piece of equipment has failed. They’re experiencing downtime and their production capabilities are taking a hit. They want an immediate and effective response.

'The unpredictability of this type of work makes resource and capacity planning difficult. If you haven’t got the right people in place with the right skills at the right time with access to the right technology (to repair parts and/or manufacture replacement parts) – you’re going to struggle and disappoint customers.'

The ability to succeed in such a pressurised work environment has helped AFC Precision expand its horizons and make a smooth transition to becoming a precision component subcontractor.

The company still provides a breakdown and repair service to customers but today this type of work accounts for 30%-40% of AFC Precision’s annual turnover.

Continues Phil Upton:

'We bit the bullet and decided to reinvent ourselves. But we already had a number of key strengths and attributes that have stood us in good stead.'

These included the company’s unswerving commitment to customer care...its world-class in-house engineering skills and expertise, its ability to manufacture high-precision, complex parts to stringent deadlines...and its knowledge and experience of working with different materials.

What was also needed was an investment in its machining capabilities in order to secure precision part subcontract work – and this explains AFC Precision’s decision to acquire the two new Lynx lathes.

Says Phil Upton:

'We needed to increase our turning capacity. We decided to purchase ‘new’ rather than ‘used’ machines because we wanted reliable, high-performance turning capabilities at our fingertips – and we decided on Doosan because of their (and Mills’) reputation in the market.'

The Lynx 300M machines provide AFC Precision with a flexible, high-productivity turning resource.

The 10'chuck/76mm bar capacity machines are compact and are equipped with driven tools enabling AFC Precision to machine completed parts (turn/mill/drill) in fewer set-ups.

The integration of bar-feeders (delivered as part of the deal), enables the company to manufacture production parts in medium batch sizes.

Concludes Phil Upton:

'The machines are versatile and their on-board advanced technology means we can take on work that previously wouldn’t have been economically viable.

'The investment in new machine tools combined with our be-spoke apprentice training programme means we have everything in place to secure our long term future.'

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