TEG, which has been producing parts for the world’s leading aircrafts since 2001, has progressed in recent years from a subcontract machining firm to become a multinational engineering services provider exporting to 35 countries, including China.
With headquarters in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, the company was one of the first manufacturers in Ireland to be certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency to make interior parts for passenger-carrying aircraft built by Airbus, Boeing and other primes. It later gained EASA Part 21(G) approval to manufacture structural parts from metallic and non-metallic materials.
The company, which is certified to the AS9100C quality standard for the aviation, space, and defence industries, is also heavily involved in supplying AOG (aircraft on ground), MRO (maintenance repair overhaul) and legacy components. Aer Lingus, BE Aerospace, Iceland Air, BAE Systems, Bombardier and Lufthansa Technik are regular customers.
Another specialism is building automated manufacturing lines and tooling for the biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical sectors. Products include the latest NG range of tablet feeders, blister pack tooling, pharmaceutical packaging design, tablet and booklet feeding systems, bespoke wash racks for sterile fill parts and format change parts for solid dose blister packing. Customers are blue chip names within the industry, such as GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Eli Lilly and Pfizer.
TEG, which also holds ISO 9001:2008 approval, provides tailor made solutions and is invariably asked to produce relatively small quantities of parts and assemblies, often involving reverse engineering, 3D printing and non-destructive testing. Between 5- and 30-off is usual for aircraft cabin components, for example, and orders are rarely for more than 100-off. AOG, MRO and legacy parts are normally one-offs.
On the pharmaceutic side, machinery parts are required in low numbers, while blister pack tooling in aluminium or stainless steel and the associated hardened steel cutting and perforating tools are made in ones and twos.
When the company started investing in CNC machining centres, bearing in mind the relatively low volumes of production, importance was placed on speed of programming on the shop floor to minimise set-up times and maintain productivity. Hurco's proprietary single-screen Max and twin-screen Ultimax (now WinMax) controls were considered ahead of other conversational CNC systems on the market.
TEG’s founder Tommy Kelly was already familiar with the supplier’s equipment, having used Hurco machining centres and lathes when he held senior manufacturing positions in previous companies. It brought him familiarity with the novel control technology as well as into contact with the sales representative in Ireland for Hurco Europe, Michael Gannon Machine Tools, through which the machines are supplied.
John Hunt, joint owner and Managing Director of TEG commented, “Virtually since the start, Hurco machine tools have been the backbone of our company’s growth and success.
Our bespoke service, rapid turnaround times and competitive prices can only be fulfilled if the spindles on our shop floor are running for a high proportion of the time.
'Hurco machines ensure that this happens. A majority of our components are programmed conversationally in WinMax at the controls on the shop floor and are into production very quickly.'
In the case of smaller, less complicated parts, the machines can be cutting metal in a matter of minutes. For more complex components, entire cutting cycles or the more difficult elements within them are prepared off-line in one of TEG’s CAM systems and the program is downloaded to the controls.
Over the years, numerous Hurco 3-axis and 4-axis prismatic machining centres have been installed at the Mullingar factory, together with the manufacturer’s CNC turning equipment. TEG has a policy of regularly replacing its shop floor plant and early machining centres have already been superseded by three of Hurco’s latest i-series models, which arrived in early 2015.
Another of TEG’s commitments is to training and further education. At any one time, 20 staff are undergoing a four-year apprenticeship under the Irish government’s SOLAS scheme. In addition, employees are kept up to date with the latest techniques in CAD, CAM, CNC machining, surface treatments and assembly.