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Williams and Co, a Southampton-based manufacturer of precision components, has invested in two turning centres from Yamazaki Mazak.

Under the guidance of managing director David Fripp, the past seven years have seen AS9100-registered Williams and Co reassess its business and manufacturing capacity.

One of the biggest restrictions placed on the business was a lack of space at its Southampton factory.

Fripp said: ‘We have invested heavily in manufacturing systems and machine tool capacity to bring the business up to date.

‘The sole aim of this process has been to improve service to our customers and the two Mazak Quick Turn Nexus machines are a crucial part of that plan.

‘The turn/mill capability of these machines has enabled us to achieve much greater output and reduce work in progress and it was vital that we had a capability to finish turn and mill on one machine, given our limitations on floor space,’ he added.

The investment included a Mazak Quick Turn Nexus 200-II M and a Quick Turn Nexus 200-II MY, both manufactured at Mazak’s European headquarters in Worcester, UK.

The addition of these two machines is delivering leaner manufacturing to Williams and Co through a reduction in setup time, an overall reduction in setups by eliminating separate milling operations, improved cycle times and less work in progress.

A typical example quoted by David Fripp is a component that features a six-start spline that is now machined complete in two operations on the Mazak Quick Turn Nexus 200-II M.

Fripp continued: ‘This job used to take 40 minutes to machine using our previous machines.

‘Now we produce them in less than six minutes,’ he said.

Williams and Co’s customer base stretches from a vintage car enthusiast with a requirement for a one-off gear through to clients in the aerospace and nuclear industries, which account for 85 per cent of its turnover; the only constant is pressure on pricing.

Fripp added: ‘The investment we have made in these Mazak machines allows us to remain competitive and profitable at the same time.

‘The reduced cycle time and setup time that we can achieve with the Quick Turn Nexus machines is crucial, hence the decision to invest,’ he said.

Mazak’s Quick Turn Nexus II series of turning centres delivers in terms of advanced technology, productivity and value.

Ranging from two-axis machines through to full turning centres with Y-axis, rotary tool spindles and a second spindle, the series is intended to provide a versatile solution for modern manufacturing requirements.

The Quick Turn Nexus 200-II M installed at Williams and Co features a 380mm maximum machining diameter with a 65mm maximum bar diameter and a 5,000rev/min, 26kW spindle, which is supplemented by a 4,500rev/min, 5.5kW rotary spindle for milling operations.

The Quick Turn Nexus 200-II MY has an identical specification but with the addition of a 100mm Y-axis stroke, which gives an added milling capability to the machine.

In addition to both machines being manufactured at Mazak’s manufacturing facility in Worcester, the Quick Turn Nexus 200-II MY was also partially designed in the UK by Mazak’s European Design Engineering Group.

Yamazaki Mazak Ltd

Yamazaki Mazak is the world’s largest manufacturer of computer controlled (CNC) metal-cutting machines. With over 260 different models, the Mazak product range includes CNC lathes, machining centres, multi-tasking machines and flexible manufacturing systems as well as laser processing machines.

Machine tools are called “Mother Machine” because they relate to the manufacturing of almost every product around us and are very important in supporting the base of “world manufacturing.” Our mission as a machine tool maker is to enrich people’s lives and contribute to society by developing and providing high performance machine tools that can produce high accuracy work in a short time.

We were among the first to start foreign production as a Japanese machine tool maker. Following the establishment of Mazak Corporation in the USA, we expanded our production base worldwide to include the UK, Singapore and China, as well as further expanding our Japanese manufacturing operations. We are the only machine tool maker to have established a global production system. With these local plants, we have been able to provide high quality service and have built strong relationships based on mutual trust with customers from all over the world.

True to the Yamazaki principle of supporting the customer locally, Mazak’s European Manufacturing plant, in Worcester UK, opened in June 1987 and was immediately recognised as the most advanced machine tool manufacturing plant in Europe. The factory has expanded three times since then and now offers over 29,000m2

This is a complete machine tool manufacturing plant. Mazak machines the components that go to make its spindles, turrets, tool magazines and Mazak even manufactures its own sheet metal covers. As with all Mazak manufacturing plants, the most rigorous practices and Kaizen programmes ensure continuous improvement.

Serving all of Europe’s markets, more than 80% of the machine tools built in Worcester are exported from the UK into Europe. More than 17,000 Mazak machines have been manufactured here so far and this number continues to grow every day.

Mazak European Manufacturing Plant is recognised for its factory automation, technology and overall management practices. Selected as one of the “Top Ten Companies in the World” by the Swedish Royal Academy of Science and Technology underscores this worldwide reputation.

As with all Mazak factories, this facility comprises a variety of flexible manufacturing systems, consisting of machining centres, multi-tasking CNC lathes, and a sheet metal FMS – all designed for unmanned operation.

The plant benefits from highly skilled employees who are committed to continuous improvement through the 25 “Kaizen” teams in operation.

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