Now known as Dynamatic-Oldland Aerospace (UK), it is the Bristol-based arm of Indian engineering group Dynamatic Technologies. Acquired in 2008, it has done well. The original Bristol site is 23,000 ft²; a new facility in Swindon that houses five Hermle machining centres served by an Erowa automation system has 160,000 ft² of floor space. Additionally, it has also recently completed a purpose-built 10,000 ft² extension to house a new DMC 340U RS4 Giga Milling Centre from DMG Mori (02476 516137), said to be the first machine of this type in the UK private sector.

The UK operation has sister Dynamatic-Oldland Aerospace companies operating out of two factories near Bangalore in India. These Indian firms supply aerostructures and assemblies for fuselages and wings directly to aerospace primes, including Airbus, Boeing, Bell Helicopter and Hindustan Aeronautics.

The company is an Airbus Centre of Excellence for flap track beams that act as guides for wing flaps; it is said to be the only company in India to be a single-source supplier. Success in supplying those parts, as well as many others, has come from leveraging the best from each of its locations.

Dynamatic-Oldland Aerospace (UK) managing director James Tucker explains: “Essentially, where we have a company in the UK or mainland Europe, a sister company operates in India. The businesses are linked and work closely together. For the aerospace division, it allows entire high precision complex machining operations to be carried out in the UK and the more labour intensive assembly work to be completed in India.”

Efficiency is key to the company’s growth, as new projects such as the Airbus A330 platform will go through a FAIR (first article inspection report) process. September 2016 will see the first component part deliveries to India. These details will be assembled into flap track beam structures and the same ethos of the FAIR process will be applied, so that detail manufacturing in the UK and assembly in India can become an integrated process. Dynamatic-Oldland Aerospace produces two variants: one for the A320 – around 50 sets per month – and the other for the A330, at eight sets per month.

Dynamatic-Oldland Aerospace (UK) project manager Ajay Gururaj explains the company’s approach to production capacity planning: “We get involved in projects at an early stage, with a nine-to-18 month cycle of industrialising and optimising for cost-effective manufacture. During this phase, we develop special tools and strategies and identify machines – for delivery in 9-12 months – necessary to solve complex problems. Because of the scale of our operation, we are able to plan well ahead, as we are dedicated to longer term contracts from a minimum of five years to the life of the product. We have a strategy for investing in capital equipment and manufacturing in the UK as the cost of money is low and we are close to our market here.”

Automation, courtesy of REM Systems, is a key part of the five-machine installation at Dynamatic-Oldland Aerospace (UK)

The Swindon facility houses the company’s most advanced automation system. Installed and commission in the first quarter of 2016, it comprises five Hermle CNC machining centres, with 200 pallets and measures 30 m in length. Geo Kingsbury is the UK dealer of Hermle, but the system was installed by REM (01452 750581, Erowa UK agent) and Erowa Systems. The FMS line has three loading stations, ranging in component size capacity from 200 by 200 mm to 1,300 mm long. It has been configured to efficiently support the Hermle 5-axis machine fleet that consists of four C42 Dynamic machines and a larger C52 unit.

Pre-installation engineering of the Erowa cell involved cutting tool optimisation and rationalisation, NC program verification and data transfer, fixturing systems and scheduling.

Adds Tucker: “The Erowa scheduling software is very intuitive, and we have set it up to communicate with our ERP system so that parts are produced by priority. It also provides real-time data about the time required to produce the part, which is key to optimising production planning and control.

“The robot cell knows the location of the pallet-loaded raw material required and the tooling software checks that all the cutting tools needed for the part are both present and have the tool life remaining to finish the machining cycle. Any issues are immediately flagged up and can be quickly addressed.

“We are trying to eliminate human error and achieve scrap rates of zero, which is why we aim to finish the part within the cell. We have removed the need for hand-operated deburring by adding a deburring cycle to the machines. Consistency and efficiency will secure our future within the aerospace industry.”

Like the Erowa system, the DMG Mori milling centre benefits from automation, but in the form of a four-pallet changer that allows the machine to run unattended, or allows parts to be set while the machine is running. A single- or dual-pallet machine would not have been able to offer continuous machining cycles at Dynamatic-Oldland Aerospace (UK).

And there is already sufficient work to fill the capacity of DMG Mori for parts requiring a cut tolerance of 50-60 microns, well within the capabilities of the machine. However, the firm says that it also sees an opportunity to broaden its horizons by moving toward production of engine and landing gear parts with tolerances of 15-20 microns, which the machine can also achieve.

Says Tucker: “The versatility of this machine in the manufacture of complex parts in aluminium alloy, steel and titanium alloy fits well with our existing machine pool. [It] will help us to serve our existing and new customers, and deliver larger and much more challenging parts.”

The portal-format machine has a capacity of 3,400 by 3,400 by 2,000 mm in X, Y and Z, offers axis rapid traverse rate of 60 m/min, handles workpieces of 16 tonnes, and features a magazine holding 180 tools, each of which can weigh up to 30 kg.

Project manager Gururaj praises the quality and reliability of DMG Mori brand machines, but adds that service was an important purchase criterion, too: “Local support is available in the UK and in Bangalore where we can have access to telephone support or, if necessary, an engineer can be on-site in two hours. Because of the cost of the DMC 340 U RS4, the support we get will be a key factor, as we will need to keep the machine running.”

This article was published in the November 2016 aerospace supplement of Machinery magazine.