Starting as you mean to go on

4 mins read

New precision subcontract start-up, Herriott Precision, has acquired its first machine tool – a new DN Solutions’ high-specification, multi-tasking lathe from Mills CNC.

The machine, which was supplied as part of the investment package with a bar feeder and bar support unit (BSU), an oil mist extraction unit and a swarf conveyor and bin, is the first machine acquired by the company since it opened its doors for business in April 2024.

Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of DN Solutions’ and Zayer machine tools in the UK and Ireland, has recently supplied Herriott Precision Ltd., a new precision subcontract start-up, with a DN Solutions’ multi-tasking lathe.

The machine, a Fanuc-controlled 8” chuck/67mm bar diameter Lynx 2100LSYB sub-spindle, Y-axis lathe, was installed at the company’s facility in Worcestershire in April 2024 and was supplied to Herriott Precision through Mills’ ‘SMART Options’ machine tool rental scheme.

SMART Options

This scheme enables manufacturers to ‘rent’ a new DN Solutions’ machine (machining centre, lathe etc.), for an initial 12-month period, and is an attractive and flexible option for component manufacturers looking to increase and improve their machining capacity and capabilities, without being tied to a long-term finance agreement.

With no deposit required and with training provided as part of the package SMART Options, via an agreed schedule of tailored monthly repayments, also provides customers with a number of commercial advantages:

  1. off-balance sheet accounting and reporting
  2. rental repayments being 100% allowable against taxable profits

Despite being installed just a few short weeks ago, the Lynx 2100LSYB installed at Herriott Precision is already earning its keep machining a range of small, high-precision and complex parts for a range of customers.

These parts, typically machined from solid in small batches, are characterised by their tight, tied-up tolerances and high surface finish requirements.

Herriott Precision: Getting the work in

Like all new start-up businesses, Herriott Precision has, amongst to a myriad of other issues and priorities spent, and continues to spend, time and effort raising its profile and promoting its machining credentials in order to attract and secure high-value, profitable and, hopefully, repeat business.

To this end, the company has become a fully signed up member of the Qimtek Supplier Network, a digital portal facility that enables direct communication between subcontractors looking for work and who have machining capacity available, and buyers searching for companies that can quote for, and handle, their machining projects.

Joshua Herriott, owner and director, said: "The Qimtek relationship was our first port of call to acquire work, and is a stepping stone to us securing new, long-term machining contracts in the future.”

Signing up to Qimtek has already paid dividends.

As well as Qimtek advisors helping Herriott Precision develop a new website, which is due to go live imminently, the relationship has also helped the company secure a contract to machine high-precision aerofoil prototype parts for a design engineer/entrepreneur.

This work is ideal for the Lynx 2100LSYB and involves machining, to high and repeatable accuracies, eight separate (housing type) parts made from an aerospace-grade aluminium alloy solid billet.

The front end of the part is machined on the lathe’s main spindle and is then transferred to the sub-spindle for machining the back-end. Milled features i.e., bores, threads etc., are then (axially and radially) machined on the part employing the Lynx’s Y-axis and driven tooling.

Since securing the contract, further discissions with the customer have resulted in Herriott Precision being approached to machine a number of different DELRIN components (four per housing), that complete the entire aerofoil assembly.

Herriott continued: “The Lynx lathe’s multi-tasking, ‘one-hit’ capabilities, combined with my machining and programming experience, enabled a competitive and, what transpired to be, a successful quote to be sent to the customer.”

The Lynx 2100LSYB – a closer look

The Lynx 2100LSYB is a highly-popular compact lathe with a 300mm turning diameter and a 510mm turning length.

The standard machine is equipped with a main 15kW/4500rpm main spindle, a +/- 52.5mm Y-axis, 6,000rpm driven tooling capabilities, a servo-driven 12/24-position turret and a 5” chuck 5.5kW/6000rpm sub-spindle.

Other features include the Fanuc iPlus control with a 15” touchscreen iHMI for fast set-up and programming, an automatic parts catcher, a set of 5” and 8” (3-jaw) hydraulic chucks and an automatic tool setter for improved process reliability.

The Lynx 2100LSYB supplied to Herriott Precision was also supplied with a number of options and accessories.

These included a high-efficiency FilterMist oil mist extraction unit, a MH500 swarf conveyor and bin, Hainbuch collet chucks and a Hydrafeed MSV65 servo-driven, short-magazine bar feeder with an integrated bar support unit.

The inclusion of a bar feeder adds another string to Herriott Precision’s bow and stengthens its ability to secure new business from customers.

Herriott explained: "To date, we have only used our Lynx 2100LSYB for chucking work. However, the integration of a bar feeder enables us to take on new, higher volume work and, where feasible, run the machine unattended to achieve improved productivity and process efficiencies.”

Herriott Precision

Herriott Precision is a new start-up business established by owner and director, Joshua Herriott. He is an apprentice-trained toolmaker and has significant experience in and throughout the aerospace and medical manufacturing supply chains, to name but a few.

In 2019, some years after also completing a HNC in Mechanical Engineering, Mr Herriott decided to become self-employed as a Project Engineer and worked on a range of fixed term contracts for a number of companies.

These contracts varied in scope and scale and included:

  1. designing, developing, standardising and implementing new lean manufacturing processes and best-practice methods for machining super alloy turbine blades for an aerospace customer.
  2. introducing customised ‘one-piece flow’ techniques to improve a medical device (orthopaedic implants) customer’s manufacturing cell’s efficiency and productivity.

It was with the latter where Herriott first came across Mills CNC and the Doosan MX mill-turn machines the company had supplied to this manufacturer.

This knowledge and experience stood him in good stead and when Mr Herriott decided to set up Herriott Precision Ltd., which he acknowledges “was always his end game”, it was natural that he contacted Mills CNC to find out what machine tool technologies might be available, and what support they could offer.

Herriott concluded: "Mills has been very supportive and proactive – exactly what was required to help me get the business up and running.

“Acquiring a high-specification DN Solutions’ multi-tasking lathe on a rental basis, has helped control costs and manage cash flow, and has been a key factor in helping secure machining contracts for prototypes, pre-production parts and small batch production runs.

“There are many complex and time-consuming issues to address and resolve when setting up a new business (i.e., finding suitable premises, attracting and securing funding etc.). The learning curve is steep and without the support of Mills CNC this would have been much more difficult to negotiate.”