Leading precision manufacturing specialist, MJ Engineering Ltd, has recently strengthened its milling and turning capabilities by investing in two new Doosan machines - a Lynx 220LM lathe and a DNM 650 Mark II vertical machining centre – from Mills CNC.
The machines were installed at MJ Engineering’s modern and spacious 6,300sq ft facility in Market Harborough in February (the Lynx lathe) and August (the DNM 650 Mark II) 2014, and join the company’s three other Doosan machines purchased in 2010 (a Lynx 220LM lathe and a DNM 400 vertical) and 2008 (a Lynx 220LM lathe), respectively.
The new machines provide MJ Engineering with additional machining capacity and reflect the company’s philosophy of making strategic and timely investments in the latest advanced manufacturing technologies as a route to achieving sustainable growth and improved profitability.
The company’s commitment to continuous improvement and its progressive attitude to investing in the future have seen MJ Engineering post consistently strong sales results over recent years, even during the economic downturn in 2008/09 when many SME manufacturing companies in the UK were feeling the pinch.
In addition to investing in its purpose built new facility, equipment, manufacturing processes and systems, and people, and adopting lean manufacturing and best practice working methods - the company’s guiding principles of 'being the best we can possibly be', and of ' always doing what you say you can do', and of never 'over-promising', have kept MJ Engineering focused on its strengths.
MJ Engineering Ltd
MJ Engineering supplies high-precision machined components to a range of different sectors and industries e.g. motorsport, aerospace, defence, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, optical etc.
The company, with its advanced machine tools and ancilliary equipment (i.e. CMM), its CAD/CAM software; its highly-trained and experienced staff and its good relationships with suppliers of specialist sub-contract services (e.g. surface and heat treatment etc. ), provides customers with an integrated seamless service from design, technical consultancy and prototyping through to low, medium and high volume batch production.
Ever since the company was first established 25 years ago by the now retired co-founders – Martyn Simpkin and John Whitcome – MJ Engineering has had strong links with the motorsport sector – especially with leading racing car engine manufacturers.
These relationships have been further developed under the watchful eye of current MD, David Simpkin, so much so in fact that all the racing cars on the grid in this year’s F1 season either have engine or chassis parts machined by the company!
(Anyone familiar with the time, quality and cost pressures associated with supplying high-precision machined parts to the sector will recognise this as being a significant achievement).
But establishing and maintaining profitable relationships with customers operating in the motorsport supply chain and other high-value sectors reliant on high-precision, performance critical machined components doesn’t happen by chance.
Advanced machine tools, capable of machining tough and difficult materials to tight and repeatable tolerances and surface finishes, and having a skilled workforce able to get the most and the best from the machines, are obvious pre-requisites and, in MJ Engineering’s case, help explain its investment in Doosan technology and its use of the CNC Training Academy (part of Mills CNC) for programmer and operator training.
Says David Simpkin:
'Doosan machines are reliable and are attractively priced. Since being installed they have helped us increase our productivity significantly. This is exemplified by our DNM 400 vertical machine which, to complete a particular job for a customer, was running virtually non-stop 18 hours a day/ 6 days a week for a considerable period of time.'
'We have also used the CNC Training Academy to help address out training requirements.
'Following attendance on Academy-run courses on and off site our staff, as well as being proficient in the operation of the machines, have been able to exploit the productivity potential of the machines’ Fanuc Manual Guide i software which, with its easy to use and understand ‘conversational programming’ functionality, reduces job set up times and makes us more efficient.'
To help improve the company’s performance and competitiveness, MJ Engineering regularly specifies and invests in multi-tasking machine tools.
For example, the 6' chuck Lynx 220LM lathes supplied by Mills feature driven tooling technology, and the DNM 650 II machine was supplied with a high-quality 4th-axis unit.
Explains David Simpkin:
'Productivity is always a critical concern for any and every manufacturer. The Doosan machines, with their multi-tasking capabilities, enable us to machine-to-completion precision parts in fewer set-ups and reduced cycle times.'
Although motorsport is an important sector that makes a healthy contribution (year-on year) to MJ Engineering’s annual turnover, the company has deliberately avoided becoming too dependent on it.
In 2001 a major customer upped sticks virtually overnight and relocated abroad taking their work with them, this has naturally made the company cautious about putting 'all of its eggs into one basket.'
Says David Simpkin:
'We have a diverse range of customers from an equally diverse range of industries. This means that we are better prepared and able to cope with a potential downturn in one sector.'
As a consequence MJ Engineering has increased its presence in the aerospace and pharmaceutical sectors – and the investment in Doosan machines has helped the company consolidate and grow its position in both.
To help take the pressure off the company’s Doosan DNM 400 machine that was installed in 2010, and to ensure that it could deliver a huge aerospace order for the machining of complex cooling system parts made from Inconel, the company invested in a larger Doosan DNM 650 II model in August 2014.
This machine with its large work envelope, powerful spindle technology and integrated thermal compensation system provides the company with extra capacity and flexibility, and improved rough and finish machining performance.
Concludes David Simpkin:
'We have made a significant investment in Doosan machines over the last few years. The machines have performed to a high standard. The Training Academy and the Service Contracts offered by Mills are also equally impressive.'