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Continuous improvement is the key for success at Cambridge Precision Limited
Continuous improvement is the key for success at Cambridge Precision Limited
Continuous improvement is the key for success at Cambridge Precision Limited

Continuous improvement is the key for success at Cambridge Precision Limited

Added to MTDCNC by Mills CNC Ltd on 12 March 2014

Cambridgeshire-based leading precision engineering specialist, Cambridge Precision Ltd, is a company committed to continuous improvement and has its sights set firmly on the future.

CPL’s mission to deliver 'Excellence every time', permeates throughout the company, directs everything it does and encapsulates the high quality standards customers can expect from the organisation.

First established in 1992 and today employing in excess of 65 staff - the company, has built its global reputation on delivering high-quality, competitively-priced machined parts and assemblies to its large and growing domestic and overseas customer base.

Not leaving anything to chance CPL regularly and rigorously reviews its own operational and commercial performance, keeps a close watchful eye on changing customer needs and requirements and monitors wider market trends to ensure that it remains both responsive and competitive, and better able to exploit market opportunities as they arise.

To this effect the company has recently invested in extensively streamlining its split-site premises creating dedicated high-productivity milling and turning cells, revamping its specialist operations and assembly capabilities, and expanding its Research and Development capacity.

Comments Nick Raven, Production Manager:

'We operate in a highly-competitive environment. Ongoing investment in staff development, systems, processes and plant is critical to maintaining our leading position across all the markets we serve.  

'The creation of dedicated machining cells makes us even more efficient and productive, and the upgrading of our assembly and R & D facilities means we can offer customers a total manufacturing ‘concept through to completion’ service.'

Cambridge Precision manufactures high-precision, complex parts for a diverse range of industries and market sectors including; Aerospace & Defence, Scientific Laboratory, X-Ray, Security, Medical, Research Instrumentation, Audio-Visual, Thermo imagery, to name but a few.

Parts and components are machined in different batch sizes depending on customers’ requirements ranging from prototypes and one-offs, through to higher-volume batch series.

The materials machined are equally varied i.e. aluminium, steels, Stainless, plastics  etc., but what is never a variable is CPL’s  commitment to quality and lead time fulfillment – both of which are sacrosanct.

The majority of CPL’s turnover derives from its milling operations. In 2013 the ratio of milling and turning work stood at 60: 40, and the company expects this gap to widen in the future.

Not surprisingly (bearing in mind the above), a significant proportion of new machine tools invested in by CPL  over recent years have been state of the art milling machines comprising vertical machining centres, twin-pallet vertical machines and horizontal machining centres.

A majority of these are Doosan milling machines supplied by Mills CNC.

Explains Nick Raven:

'Our relationship with Mills goes back a long way.

'We know that Doosan machines deliver excellent performance, represent great value and that the technical, applications and after-sales service and support provided by Mills is hard to fault.'

CPL demands and gets a lot from its Doosan machines. The company operates 24/7, and pushes its machines to the limits.

Since 2008 the company has invested in 6 x Doosan DNM vertical machines with its most recent acquisition being a DNM 400 installed in October 2013.

Continues Nick Raven:

'Our DNM machines are versatile. The larger (DNM 650) models have a good size work envelope enabling us to machine large parts, or smaller multiple parts in one set-up.'

For the heavy-duty machining of larger parts Cambridge Precision relies on its Doosan Mynx 750/40 (box-guide-way) machines, and for the fast-production of smaller complex parts its Doosan VC50 (twin-pallet VMC).

It’s a similar situation with CPL’s turning operations which boasts both sliding and fixed head lathes – with a large percentage of the latter being Doosan lathes and turning centres supplied and serviced by Mills CNC.

Says Nick Raven:

'Our turning capabilities have to be sophisticated, and our most recent investments reflect ever-increasing demand'.

With the emphasis being on machining complex parts in fewer set-ups, on reducing cycle times and eliminating production bottlenecks – the company rarely, if ever, invests in 2-axis lathes favouring instead multi-axis machines like the Doosan Puma 2500Y (integrated Y-axis) lathe and the Doosan TT 1800SY (Twin-turret/Twin spindle) turning centre – both of which are recent additions to CPL’s turning machine portfolio.

The expansion of CPL’s machining capacity and capabilities have been matched by similar advances in its assembly and testing operations (i.e. for mechanical and electro systems etc.), and back-up the company’s claim that it can provide a quality ‘one-stop-shop’ service to customers.

Other investments in ‘specialist’ operations include the purchase of a laser marking machine which permanently marks metallic and non-metallic products and which, from a traceability perspective, is increasingly required for parts manufactured for the aerospace/defence and medical sectors.

The company also operates a R & D facility.  This was again demand-led by customers, entrepreneurs and designers, wanting to work in partnership with CPL’s experienced engineers to develop rapid prototypes and prove-out pre-production processes.

Says Nick Raven:

'We now have dedicated machine tools for R & D which means that customers can access  this value-adding service quickly and easily'.

'The changes we have made to our Company, coupled with introducing best-practice business models like 5S and achieving AS9100 (Rev C) demonstrate our commitment to continuous improvement and to be the best we can possibly be.  

'Excellence every time' is what we aim to deliver…but it is is not just an aim it is an actuality.

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