Sustained investment in skills and machinery has helped Stroud based subcontractor Truturn branch out from its local roots and establish a healthy export business.
The milling, turning, fabrication and electrical mechanical assembly specialist began life servicing the local engineering and manufacturing community, but thanks to a relentless focus on training and accreditation, and investment in the latest manufacturing technologies exports to Europe, the Far East and the US now account for almost a third of its business.
According to general manager Bob Wilkins, the firm’s relationship with machine tool supplier Mazak has been central to its transformation in recent years, with its investment in an Integrex j-300 – one of Mazak’s multi-tasking machines – proving a key turning point.
“We knew that if we didn’t invest in new machines, we weren’t going to grow,” said Wilkins, “not least because our customers were looking for us to take cost out of our processes and pass on the savings to them. I would say it was a culture shock for us when we started with it, but it has proved its worth and I would estimate that the Integrex j-300 has taken about 15-20% of our costs out of the products.
The machine has had a positive effect on morale said Wilkins: “I have three guys on there who know the j-300 inside out, they’ve been on the training courses and developed their own skills which is very positive for them. I also have one of our apprentices on there a lot and he loves it. “
The Integrex system was quickly followed by a Quick Turn Nexus 250M CNC turning centre. “That machine has been a revelation for us, particularly in terms of us being able to put development and prototype work on there. We’ve completed a wide variety of jobs on it, from tube through to complex blocks, but the key point is that we no longer have to complete a secondary milling operation, which means we’ve cut set-up times by 30-40%.”
Going forward, Wilkins believes the future for Truturn lies in 5-axis machining and potentially a specialist milling machine. “The focus for us is 5-axis now. We’ll need some support from Mazak to get there, but that is where we want to go.”