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Mori Seiki machines have enabled Hi-Force, a manufacturer of high-pressure hydraulic bolting and lifting products, to improve the efficiency of its manufacturing, assembly and logistics operations.

Kevin Brown, managing director, said: ‘We started working with Mori Seiki in 2009 when we decided to manufacture many more parts ourselves, instead of using subcontractors.

‘The aim was to increase efficiency, reduce costs and shorten delivery times,’ he added.

As part of this plan, Hi-Force moved into a 50,000ft2 facility at the end of 2010, and is planning a further 19,000ft2 building for 2013 that will house its logistics operation, providing additional space for manufacturing and assembly.

At the time, Hi-Force had little experience of in-house machining, so it sought technical support from Mori Seiki.

Initially, the company purchased two NL 3000 lathes, two Duraturn lathes and a NMV5000 DCG five-axis machining centre.

Mori Seiki engineers helped Hi-Force to prepare its components for production, assisting in the programming, tooling and fixturing required and training staff so that they could optimise machine performance.

The advantages of in-house manufacture for Hi-Force include shorter cycle times, the ability to respond to customers’ urgent delivery demands, not having to rely on subcontractor availability, 25 per cent more capacity than expected and cost savings of around 30 per cent.

Brown said: ‘The crucial change has been for us to get ahead of demand from our customers, despite the 32 per cent growth in our turnover during 2010.

‘We can now make parts for stock, which takes away the need to make small batches of products to meet individual delivery requirements,’ he added.

Batch sizes are now around 200 parts, which last for six to nine months.

Previously, batch sizes were about 20 components – necessary to keep abreast of changing customer demands.

Further disruption was caused by continually resetting the machines.

Setting times are now reduced and are about 10 per cent of the overall production time.

In addition, scrap rates are less than one per cent.

To further increase the range of high-volume products manufactured in house, Hi-Force installed a Mori Seiki NT4250 in 2010.

This new machine allows the company to make much bigger parts in one hit.

The next expansion phase will increase the manufacturing area by 50 per cent and enable the installation of an additional three or four Mori Seiki machines.

Brown continued: ‘We have invested around GBP2m in manufacturing and machining over the last two years.

‘The changes have enabled us to work smarter; for example, we now have an MRP system that manages demand for our products, our stock levels and our production resources.

‘Furthermore, urgent air freight costs have reduced dramatically as we have parts in stock for immediate delivery.

‘Our distributors also benefit as they can operate with much lower stock levels thanks to our short delivery times,’ he said.

MORI SEIKI with its head offices in Nagoya, Japan, is a pioneer in machine tool building. Founded in 1948 the company has launched more than one hundred different lathe and machining centre series over the years, all NC / CNC models. In total more than 180.000 machines have been produced.

Products from MORI SEIKI are manufactured on the basis of a solid development policy. As manufacturer of machine tools the company has developed a wide range of CNC lathes, machining centres, and multi-axis lathes. Complete solution is the key phrase, as support throughout the full lifecycle of machines is paramount to MORI SEIKI.

MORI SEIKI machines are produced in Japanese production factories Iga, Nara and Chiba, as well as in its production location at Dixi machines in Le Locle, Switzerland. The French company TOBLER SAS – specialists in precise clamping mandrels and clamping tools – also belongs to the Mori Seiki group.

MORI SEIKI has over 90 sales and service technical centres worldwide.

Recent years have seen the company’s dedication in Europe get off to a good start. Various sites have been set up and further expanded. The European training centre is located in the Stuttgart Technical Centre. Here customers, employees and business partners from all over Europe can be trained in extremely well equipped conditions.

We also have a centralised spare parts department in Europe, which has over 23.290 parts in stock, ensuring quicker and more efficient spare parts delivery.

Precision, performance and productivity: that is PURE TECHNOLOGY from MORI SEIKI.

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