Bespoke production solutions are key to expansion of sales territories for Citizen Machinery

2 min read

Due to unprecedented growth in sales of Cincom sliding-head and Miyano fixed-head turning centres, which has doubled Citizen Machinery UK's turnover since 2016, the company has decided to increase the number of its area sales managers from five to six in order to maintain the high level of customer support for which the supplier is renowned.

Consequently, two promotions have been made within the existing business. Simon Fitzpatrick will serve Ireland, Scotland and territories in the north of England, while James Taylor will look after the south-west. Both have excellent technical expertise and product knowledge gained in applications.

At the same time, Tony Nolloth has been appointed UK & Ireland Sales Manager to coordinate full-time the activities of all sales territories. He is well placed to fulfil his new role, having previously been responsible for sales in the south-west and having gained a wealth of knowledge and experience of the company and its products since joining in 1989.

Edward James, managing director of Citizen Machinery, said: "Our success over recent years has been largely down the introduction of the proprietary LFV (low frequency vibration) chip breaking function in the control system of our Cincom lathes, coupled with robust mechanical enhancements, which are now also available on selected Miyano models.

"In the last five years since the technology was launched, we have sold 600 machines to bring the installed base of our lathes in the UK and Ireland to approximately 5,000. Last year we achieved our second best turnover and even during the height of the pandemic in 2020 we hit 82 percent of our sales target."

"Another pillar in achieving this outstanding performance has been a dramatic increase in deliveries of our fixed-head lathes, the range of which has expanded considerably. A decade ago Miyano products accounted for just 10 percent of turnover whereas today they make up almost half of sales."

A facet of the supplier's business central to its success is that its engineers are always available to provide advice, ensuring that customers receive exactly the right production solutions for their applications. It applies equally to new purchases and to machines already installed and running. The ethos is that only if users are optimally served can the Citizen brand grow strongly.

To this end, the company inaugurated in early 2021 a solutions centre at its Bushey headquarters to design and assemble customised production cells. The service encompasses full applications engineering support including programs, tooling, additional functions such as cleaning and packaging, and comprehensive machining trials prior to acceptance, delivery, commissioning and training. Solutions can be either stand-alone or integrated into larger manufacturing plant.

Automation to allow lights-out production and minimal operator attendance often plays a part, consistent with the increasing demand for Industry 4.0-compliant manufacturing systems. So also does integration of other processes in the working area of the lathes, such as laser cutting, to enable one-hit machining of complex parts.

Projects are frequently demanding in terms of their scope, level of innovation, process capability and return on investment. Despite these constraints, there will always be a sound business case for what Citizen Machinery delivers. It will be pragmatic, process-optimised and cost-effective, not necessarily the top solution possible, which may be overly expensive and take too long to amortise.

Freeing space in Bushey to house the solutions activity was made possible by the opening in July 2019 of a 680 square metre turning centre of excellence in Brierley Hill. That in turn was only sanctioned by the Japanese parent company due to buoyant sales of its products in the UK and Ireland. It is a classic case of success breeding success, which has resulted in Citizen Machinery becoming the largest supplier of bar-fed lathes into these markets.