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Precision Edge is a cut above the rest thanks to its XYZ 2-OP
Precision Edge is a cut above the rest thanks to its XYZ 2-OP
Precision Edge is a cut above the rest thanks to its XYZ 2-OP
Precision Edge is a cut above the rest thanks to its XYZ 2-OP

Precision Edge is a cut above the rest thanks to its XYZ 2-OP

Added to MTDCNC by XYZ Machine Tools on 06 November 2015

As a bespoke, specialist, manufacturer of precision quality industrial blades and machine knives, Horsham-based Precision Edge has carved out a niche market supplying some of the UK’s household names in the wrapping and packaging, news print, mail room production, food processing and recycling sectors, many of which have been customers throughout the company’s 25 year history. It has achieved this market share and customer loyalty by creating products that exceed the performance of its competitors, through better design and material development, and providing a guarantee of right first time for some of the most demanding, and high speed applications.  

'We are very busy at present and have been for the past two years and this is a trend that we envisage will continue, in part due to our pro-active approach to developing products that generate significant productivity gains for our customers, and also the fact that the industries we support are also pro-active in developing new products, all of which need innovative and effective packaging solutions,' says Precision Edge’s Ross Candfield. The company’s product range includes circular and flat knives and form blades which are used in a wide variety of applications including manufacturing tea bags through newsprint to flow wrapping knives and anvils. Certain blades and knives from Precision Edge feature its unique PowerEdge HPS500 process, which enhances the edge retaining qualities of the blade and extends tool life by up to 20 times.

Manufacturing of the blades and knives takes place in Precision Edge’s 7000 ft2 facility which is split between metal cutting and grinding. For metal cutting the machines are split between traditional manual machines and a selection of mills and lathes from XYZ Machine Tools all equipped with the ProtoTRAK control and these have recently been added to with the addition of an XYZ 2-OP portable vertical machining centre, which is revolutionising the way in which Precision Edge goes about its manufacturing. 'We bought our first XYZ in 2003 and have added to them over the years. The speed that we can set up and be machining, along with the ease and versatility of the ProtoTRAK control for programming, makes the XYZ machines ideal for the small batch and prototype work that we produce. We are fully committed to ProtoTRAK, once you have used it you won’t want to use anything else. However, as we have got progressively busier we recognised that the limitation of the Bed mills was the lack of a tool changer, as most jobs require multiple tools and this was adding time to jobs. We initially looked at the XYZ LPM machine and this ticked most of the boxes, but at the time we decided a larger machine would suit our work better and bought another bed mill, an SMX 5000,' says Ross Candfield.

About 18 months after buying the SMX 5000 the first information on the innovative XYZ 
2-OP machine started to filter through and Ross at Precision Edge knew immediately that this was exactly what he had been looking for, a compact machining centre, with an eight-position tool change, that used the same ProtoTRAK control system that he and his colleagues were familiar with. The inclusion of the Jurgens Ballock system on the machine table also fit perfectly with the workload that Precision Edge has, that is small batch sizes but batches that repeat often, meaning short set up time is vital. 

'As soon as I saw the information come through on the 2-OP I placed an order, sight unseen, as I knew it would be perfect for what we needed. We are using it, not as intended as a portable machine, but as a stand-alone small VMC, and see no reason to move it. The machine is being used between 50-60 per cent of all the knives and blades that we manufacture and has not stopped since it was delivered. It has been a game changer for us. We can transfer jobs from the mills to the 2-OP without any reprogramming, and the ball lock system on the table we have developed a series of fixtures that maximise the machines table size and this, combined with the machine itself, is ensuring that are achieving very high levels of accuracy. Not only that, the flexibility that the 2-OP gives us and the speed at which we can now machine components has allowed us to develop a stocking system that delivers a just-in-time resource for many of our customers, without the 2-OP that wouldn’t have been possible,' says Ross Candfield.

While initially developed to add portable cellular manufacturing capacity by taking over the secondary operations, or prepping parts for fixturing, on higher cost per hour machines the performance and specification of the XYZ 2-OP is seeing many users, like Precision Edge, utilising the 2-OP’s small footprint to add machining centre capacity. The XYZ 2-OP’s footprint of just 760 mm x 1,220 mm x 2,565 mm encases a machining envelope of 355 mm
 X 305 mm x 455 mm (xyz) with a 3 hp, BT30, 50 – 6000 revs per min spindle and 15 m/min traverse speeds in all axes. 

'Before we bought our first ProtoTRAK machine we were 100 per cent manual in our machine shop. At the time we had an ageing workforce and finding new skilled people locally was a problem, so the simplicity of programming the ProtoTRAK made it the perfect progression from manual to CNC. Twelve years on we are now much leaner and more productive than we could ever have been and we have honed our machining skills to produce more, and better products. The addition of the XYZ 2-OP is the next stage in that journey for us,' concludes Ross Candfield.

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