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21 Doosan machines at OLD Engineering
21 Doosan machines at OLD Engineering
21 Doosan machines at OLD Engineering

21 Doosan machines at OLD Engineering

Added to MTDCNC by Mills CNC Ltd on 02 February 2015

Market-leading, precision manufacturing subcontract specialist - O.L.D. Engineering Ltd – is a company committed to continuous improvement.

Integral to, and indeed underpinning, the company’s improvement programmes and strategies is a positive and single-minded approach to investing in new advanced machine tool technologies as a route to improving company performance and competitiveness.

In this respect the company has, since 1995, built a strong partnership with Mills CNC and, during this period, has invested in some 21 new Doosan machines - seven of which have been installed at the company’s manufacturing facility in Hinckley within the last four years.

The partnership with Mills extends beyond the supply of advanced machine tools with O.L.D Engineering taking full advantage of Mills’ range of after-sales services e.g.  applications, training and machine tool servicing and parts provision.

Indeed such is the close working relationship between the two companies that O.L.D. Engineering has also recently invested in smart new work wear for its shop floor staff with jumpers, fleeces and polo shirts etc., emblazoned (on each sleeve) with the Mills and Doosan logos. This move, according to O.L.D Engineering’s managing director, Mary Topp, 'presents a professional corporate image to visitors, and demonstrates the close working relationship between Mills and ourselves.'

Doosan machines

The new Doosan machine tools have helped O.L.D. Engineering capitalise on the economic upturn (following the slowdown in 2007/08), enabling it to significantly expand and diversify its customer base.

A quick look at O.L.D. Engineering’s most recent Doosan machine tool acquisitions is illuminating, and explains the company’s new technology investment philosophy.

The machines in question – 1 x Puma 600 (large capacity) lathe; 2 x Puma 400 lathes and 2 x Lynx lathes with driven tooling, a VM 960L vertical machining centre and 2 x VC 500 (twin-pallet) vertical machining centres – are all high-productivity, multi-tasking models and demonstrate that O.L.D. Engineering’s rationale, when investing in new machines, is concerned more with ‘improving manufacturing capability’ as opposed to merely ‘increasing machining capacity’.

Comments Mary Topp, managing director:

'Multi-tasking machines make us more productive and increase our flexibility. The sectors we serve are highly competitive, so the technology we invest in has to help us make precision parts faster...better and more economically than the competition.

'This is especially true in ‘new’ sectors and with ‘new’ customers, where we need to demonstrate and provide compelling reasons for customers to change from their incumbent suppliers.'

The Doosan machines purchased by O.L.D. Engineering enable the company to manufacture completed parts in fewer set-ups and in reduced cycle times (both of which help reduce operational costs and help the company meet their customers’ stringent delivery schedules).

O.L.D. Engineering machines precision components from cast iron, aluminium and steel through to stainless and more difficult-to-machine materials for a diverse and growing range of customers operating in the power generation, electronics, fluid power, packaging, automotive and motorsport sectors (to name but a few).

The parts themselves are equally varied too and include everything from prototypes and one-offs, on one hand, through to small-to-medium batch production, on the other.

Says Mary Topp:

'Without multi-tasking machine tools we would find it difficult to cope. We would have to transfer parts between machines and, as well as such action potentially affecting component accuracies, the resulting bottle-necks would seriously compromise our operational efficiency. '

Flexibility is important for most precision manufacturers but is especially pertinent to O.L.D. Engineering. The company, since the early 1980’s, has manufactured parts (shafts, manifolds, elbows, connectors etc.) for a leading diesel engine OEM, and during the 1990’s became a preferred supplier to this customer -  a position it still holds to this day.

Whilst the regularity of this work is naturally welcomed there are dangers associated with such a relationship.

Explains Mary Topp:

'We value this customer’s business but don’t want to be too dependent on it because if it slowed down for any reason, the knock-on effect would be damaging to us.

'Conversely if and when this customer is busy there is a real possibility that all of our machining capacity could be used fulfilling this one customer’s requirements...obviously to the detriment of our other customers. This is something we clearly wish to avoid.'

O.L.D Engineering’s investment in Doosan multi-tasking machines means that the company has more than enough machining capability and capacity to cope should its diesel engine customer ramp-up its machining requirements. The new machines have also enabled the company to secure profitable work from a range of new and existing customers that more than offset any dip in business from this customer.

Concludes Mary Topp:

'Doosan machine tools are a cornerstone of our business. They help improve our productivity and increase our flexibility, and have been more than instrumental in us securing new work from new sectors and diversifying our customer base.'

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