In January 2010, Konecranes expanded its machine tool service (MTS) business in the UK by acquiring Scotland-based company Axis Machine Tool Engineers, East Kilbride. It is the latest move, in the UK, by the Finland-headquartered company that aims to become the largest independent machine tool servicing operation in the world, says Victoria Jeal, marketing and communications, Konecranes MTS. Prior to this latest acquisition, over the past two years Konecranes had acquired three MTS companies in the UK. Lincoln-based K&B Europe, with its subsidiary K&B Machine Tool Services, located in the East Midlands, was acquired in July 2008; Electron Service, Wednesbury, was acquired at the end of October 2008; and the assets of Machine Tool Services (GB), Lewes in Sussex, were acquired at the beginning of November 2008. These have combined net sales of approximately €4.5 million and more than 32 employees. All companies now trade as Konecranes MTS, as will Axis, in due course, which also represents some machine tool suppliers. Image: Konecranes moves in the UK are part of a global picture Up until 2008, Konecranes MTS was focused on Finland, Sweden and Norway. It then acquired its first UK companies. Recently, outside of the UK, in October last year it acquired Machine Tool Solutions Unlimited, Cincinnati, Ohio, US, while, in January this year, AH Maskinservice A/S, Denmark, was snapped up. MTS now has operations in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Ukraine, Estonia, US, Denmark and, of course, the UK. The services that Konecranes MTS supplies include: breakdown response; general service and maintenance contracts to meet the requirements of ISO 9001:9002; geometry and alignment checks; safety audits that meet EU regulations; maintenance management, incorporating TPM (total productive maintenance) and OPM (operator planned maintenance); machine scheduling and planning; installation and relocation for an individual machine to a complete factory relocation; rebuild and retrofit; technical telephone support hotline; parts procurement; rotary table and barfeed specialists; plus the supply of a wide range of ancillary products, including indexers, rotary tables, pallet systems and automation. Konecranes MTS offers service under five levels: Level 1 – Contact – Konecranes MTS provides the required services, spare parts and other products, but leaves the responsibility and freedom to arrange and manage the maintenance activities to the customer. Level 2 – Condition – For periodic and scheduled inspections, Konecranes MTS provides inspection services to analyse equipment. The inspection report gives exact information for the planning of maintenance activities, including the need for repairs and other preventative actions to improve equipment reliability. Level 3 – Care –Konecranes MTS takes responsibility for planning, arranging and managing inspections and preventive maintenance activities. It also provides planned repairs, based on its recommendations. Level 4 – Commitment – Konecranes MTS offers a complete maintenance solution package, with a long-term development plan, tied to critical performance indicators. It plans, arranges and executes activities, including inspections, preventive maintenance, spare parts, on-call service, personnel and site management, as well as long-term planning. Level 5 – Complete – a long-term contract, where Konecranes MTS provides a complete service package, with full responsibility for equipment and personnel. Cooper Roller Bearings, Kings Lynn, is a Konercranes MTS customer. For years it had been experiencing problems with inconsistent and costly machine tool service providers. Critical machine downtime and costs had become a significant problem. Konecranes MTS offered a complete preventive maintenance package that ensured machine tools were serviced on an annual and six-monthly basis, which minimised downtime. This was scheduled on its on-line Q3 maintenance management system that enabled Cooper Roller Bearings to interact with the maintenance options. The complete package provided Cooper Roller Bearings with regular service, improved availability, reduced downtime, machine tool condition monitoring, a professional and prompt service and a cost-effective solution, reports Konecranes MTS. First published in Machinery, March 2010