The success is being attributes to the latest machine tool introductions and an exceptional MACH 2018 exhibition, combined with continued growth in demand for large-capacity Doosan machines and turnkey solutions.

says Kevin Gilbert, Mills CNC’s managing director: “Last year was tremendous for Mills. Business activity was strong in the first quarter and was sustained throughout the year, even during the traditionally quieter summer months. The number of machine tool orders and deliveries demonstrate the continuing strong demand for Doosan machines, backed by Mills’ aftersales service and support.”

Introductions in 2018 included the Doosan DVF 5000 simultaneous 5-axis machining centre, which features direct-drive spindle technology and integrated thermal compensation systems. Also launched was the Doosan DNM 4000, a compact vertical machining centre with direct-drive spindle technology; the Doosan V8300M, a rigid box guideway vertical turning lathe with driven tooling capability; and the Doosan NHP 4000/5000, a range of horizontal machining centres equipped with high-torque spindles and integrated automation.

Last year was also a MACH year, and Mills invested significant resources into making the event a success. Exhibiting 16 Doosan machines, the company welcomed over 3,000 visitors on to its stand and sold 20 machines at the event. However, the true impact of MACH should not only be calculated by the number of machines sold during the show.

“Prior to MACH, sales of new Doosan machines were already increasing,” states Gilbert. “In the weeks and months after the event this upward trend was more visible, demonstrating the importance of MACH and the impact it has on future sales performance.”

In 2018, Mills also saw an increase in demand for its turnkey and process improvement solutions, as technical director Tony Dale relates: “Delivering what are often complex turnkey and process improvement solutions to customers is a hallmark of Mills. Component manufacturers operating in advanced and highly-competitive sectors are increasingly relying on us to design and deliver solutions that help them improve productivity, efficiency and performance.”

Throughout 2018 Mills has started and completed a number of high-profile projects for customers in the automotive, aerospace and energy sectors. A significant percentage of these involved automation; robots and/or workpiece load/unload systems.

The growth in demand for large-capacity Doosan machines was evident throughout 2018.Although the oil and gas sector which, in the past, was a major market for large machine tool sales remained fairly static, there was a noticeable increased demand for large Doosan horizontal borers, horizontal machining centres, vertical turning lathes, mill-turn machines and vertical machining centres from customers operating in the aerospace, automotive, mining and power generation sectors.

Other notable highlights occurring during 2018 included a marked increase in sales achieved by the CNC Training Academy (Mills’ independently operated training arm) and a significant increase in the number of Mills customers taking out service contracts on their Doosan machines.

In actual fact, it wasn’t just Mills CNC that experienced significant growth in 2018, it was a similar situation for Doosan Machine Tools in South Korea. The parent company experienced record-breaking growth last year, building and delivering 16,766 machines, up 2,700 from what was achieved in 2017.

Looking forward, Mills has a number of new initiatives and developments planned for 2019.These include an increase in the number of external exhibitions the company will be attending for the first time in its history, such as Future Engineering Ireland (FEI) in January, Southern Manufacturing in February and Offshore Europe in September.

To consolidate its position as a supplier of automation solutions, Mills has recently created a new business division called Mills CNC Automation. This operation is located at Mills’ facility in Leamington and will be responsible for driving sales of the company’s industrial and collaborative robot systems and solutions in the UK and Ireland.

Concludes Gilbert: “We aim to build on the successes of 2018 and, among the many initiatives planned, will continue making significant investment in our people, plant, processes and systems to further improve our customer service and overall business performance.”