Return of investment Programme of investment in turning and milling machines pays dividends
Matthew Boyt, Managing Director of CR Engineering in Wotton Underwood near Aylesbury bought the company from his previous employer in 2020 and since then has had a programme of investment in XYZ Machine Tools to keep up with demand.
Originally formed in 1947, CR Engineering started off with watchmaking but now makes precision components for a wide range of applications including X-ray machines, bottle filling machines, bath lifts and specialist laser machinery.
Matthew Boyt says: “Before I bought the company and worked as an employee, Colin Rapsey, the previous owner, had already invested in XYZ Machine Tools installing the first machine in 1998. All the employees liked and were familiar with the Prototrak controls and, the machines themselves, had proved their reliability and return on investment, so it was an easy decision to continue working with XYZ Machine Tools as the business has grown.”
For turning, the company currently has three XYZ machines a CT65 HD lathe with 66 mm capacity Hydrafeed bar feed system, Siemens 828D Shopturn Touchscreen Control and tool setting probe; a Proturn RLX425 Gap Bed lathe with 480 mm swing and 2500 RPM spindle, both purchased in July 2022 and; a Proturn SLX 355 with 1000 mm between centres which came with the company purchase.
For milling from XYZ it has a KMX 2000 Turret Mill with 762 x 380 mm travel; a RMX 3500 Bed Mill with Prototrak RMX control, 787 x 508 x 508 mm travel and 5000RPM spindle and; a RMX 5000 with Prototrak RMX control, 1524 x 596 x 584 mm travel and 7.5 HP programmable variable speed head. The latest acquisition is a XYZ 1100 HD Vertical Machining Centre. Matthew Boyt says: “This is my dream machine, and it would not fit in our previous factory. We moved to our new premises in August 2022 expanding our operation to 3,600 sq ft. Purchasing this machine was one of the first things I did. We can fit three vices on the bed so typically we can machine multi sided parts in one setup, simply moving and turning them from one vice to the next to produce a finished part straight off the one machine. Not only does this save on handling, but it also improves accuracy and quality.” The XYZ 1100 HD comes with a 33 HP 10,000 RPM spindle, a 1200 x 600 mm table and a Siemens 828D Shopmill 15″ Touchscreen control or a Heidenhain TNC 620 control.
Ideal for small batches
CR Engineering’s move to its new factory was orchestrated by XYZ’s haulage, moving the all the machinery and installing the new RMX 5000 in the space of one and a half days. Matthew Boyt adds: “To recommission all the machines and install the new RMX 5000 so quickly minimised our downtime and was an impressive feat. Even better, the RMX 5000 paid for itself with the first job we put on it.”
The company specialises in small batch quantities between about two and 200 parts in a wide range of materials including stainless steel, mild steel, aluminium, brass, acetel and nylon. Programming is all carried out on the machine control, taking advantage of the easy Prototrak, Shopmill and Shopturn interactive conversational programming. Matthew Boyt says: “We find this works well for the small batch quantities we make. However, a really useful feature is the Traking on all the XYZ machines which gives us the ability to run forwards and backwards through a programme by turning the handwheel, quickly proving it out before hitting the start button, avoiding scrap and expensive damage to the machine.”
The investment in new machinery has impressed CR Engineering’s customers and it is seeing a growth in orders thanks to the large capacity machines it has where some parts are up to 2.5 metre long. No one locally has the capability to machine components of this size. Similarly, it is reaping the benefits of reshoring where customers are re-evaluating security of supply. The company is BS EN 9001:2008 registered so accuracy, repeatability, traceability and on time delivery are important parts of its ethos. Matthew Boyt concludes: “We now have ten employees, adding a further four since I took over in 2020. Our staff are highly motivated and prepared to go the extra mile for our customers. Working with XYZ Machine Tools gives us the confidence that we can achieve our aims. The machines are well built and reliable and the service is excellent. We hardly ever have any trouble with the machines and, if we do, it is fixed the next day. We have found the machines very good value for money and will continue investing with XYZ Machine Tools as our business grows.”