Already installed, the three Nakamura machines (two WT150s and a WT100) are boosting production throughput. The WT150II provides up to 26 kW of cutting power for shaft work with synchronised spindles, while the power of the driven-tool motor is suited to heavy cutting with small tools.
Paul Cobb, managing director, says: “The WT150 has twin spindles and twin turrets, which makes it hugely versatile. As a subcontractor you don’t really know what is going to come through the door on any day, so these machines are almost the optimum for us. We mostly use them for making milled parts, in medium-sized production runs from a few hundred to a few thousand parts – that’s the sweet spot for us.
“The Nakamura machines are incredibly reliable, accurate and very quick,” he continues. “Compared with the machine they’re replacing, which was turning out a part in seven minutes 35 seconds, they can do it in just three minutes 50 seconds. The machines can operate on components up to 65 mm in diameter, which is quite large, and we have linked them up to an automatic rotary conveyor. As a result, we can run them 24-hours a day on aluminium or brass parts, and around 18 hours a day on stainless steel. We just feed the CAD details into the machines and away they go.”
Cobb started HPC in 1997, and the company is now part of the Hemlock Group, founded by his late father in 1986. And business is currently on a high.
“Demand has been huge; we’ve seen no sign of a slowdown over the past year on all sides of the business,” he says. “Better still, it is coming from a wide range of industries.”
Some of the company’s work is returning from China, with many of the multinationals looking to place work in the UK. It is the same for EU orders, with customers opting to make a strategic choice by placing work with subcontractors that can offer fast lead times and repeatable quality.
“It’s because we can deliver what they need in terms of speed and quality,” says Cobb. “Price is important too, but it’s secondary. That’s why reliability is so important, and working with the ETG means we don’t have to worry.”