Citizen’s advice puts tooling company in a strong position

As Unicut Precision closed its 25th year in the subcontract machining business, it placed an order on Citizen Machinery UK for a seven-machine package worth over £800,000. The order for six Citizen Cincom CNC sliding heads and a Miyano fixed-head turn-mill centre has provided the turned part specialist with a common platform of machines to support its continued growth in partner- based contract machining operations.

MWC 5148

Jason Nicholson, managing director, said: “We have an established policy of continuous machine tool upgrade but this is the largest number of machines ever replaced through a single order.”

Unicut has replaced eight existing Citizen L20, K16 and C16 CNC sliding- head machines with six Cincom A20- VIIPL machines which provide a common production platform giving ultimate flexibility, reduction in downtime for setting, common tooling, programming and servicing. Also, as a result of progressive machine development, the six machines will provide greater output potential. The

Miyano BNA-42DHY2 will provide additional capacity requirements on top of the existing five Miyano machines already in production. Currently, the new machine is set to produce seven different components for one customer.

In the past 15 years, Unicut has installed 30 machines from across the Citizen range and currently has a plant capacity based of 29 machines, most of which are from Citizen. The company has progressively grown over the past five years from being a general subcontractor to one largely focused on being an international supplier partner and carrying out extensive cell-based contract machining project type work. The Welwyn Garden City-based company employs 42 people of which six are apprentice machinists.

Unicut has installed 30 Citizen machines in the past 15 years

The decision to continue with Citizen Machinery UK was not automatic. Nicholson and his team investigated alternative machines, due to the major restructuring of production capacity. “Experience and success of three A20-VIIPL’s installed in 2012 and 2014 weighted the setter’s input for the advantages of a common machining platform around the A20,” said Nicholson. “Service, support and return on investment were also important factors from the management perspective.”

Each of the 20mm capacity 7-axis Citizen A20-VIIPL machines has a capacity for 23 tools; eight are driven and rapid traverse rates are the fastest in its class at 45m/min.

Meanwhile, the 7-axis Miyano BNA-42 DHY2 with 42mm bar capacity has two spindles with one eight-station driven tool turret with Y-axis and a second turret with six stations.