Milling strategies and experience pave way to new business for Takumi with support from Ceratizit UK & Ireland
During its 20-years in business Limerick, Ireland-based Takumi Precision Engineering has delivered consistent growth working across many sectors, including medical device, pharmaceutical, aerospace and precision engineering. As it puts the finishing touches to its latest factory expansion, that almost doubles floorspace to 40,000 ft2 the company is also driving its own productivity through adoption of new machining strategies.
“At Takumi we have always invested in high-end machine tool technology and we have always been aware that there is no point in having this capacity without investing in the right tooling and software to maximise its capability,” says Gerry Reynolds, Managing Director, Takumi Precision Engineering. “Finding the right machines, tooling and CAM system ensures that we retain a competitive edge, at the same time we can improve our margins and attract new and different work. A visit to the Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre as a guest of Ceratizit UK & Ireland proved to be a lightbulb moment for me, which resulted in the next stage of our investment.” This saw the arrival of Open Mind’s hyperMILL MAXX Machining CAD CAM software along with tooling from WNT in support of two new Matsuura five-axis machining centres. “The combination of tooling, software, and machine capability allowed us to do work that would previously not have been commercially viable, in fact, I think we may simply not have been able to machine the parts full stop without the input from Ceratizit UK & Ireland through Shane their applications engineer, who came in at weekends to prove the WNT tooling and strategy would do what we wanted.”
Making these investments is a major commitment and one that needs a strong appetite for change, suggests Gerry Reynolds: “Change isn’t scary, but you have to embrace it and everyone within the business has to back-up the technology with enthusiasm, which is what we have at Takumi and why everything falls into place. Machining technology has moved on dramatically and, with the developments in tooling that we are seeing from WNT and manufacturing software, we aim to stay ahead of the wave. Being an early adopter of these technologies, we intend to make major gains from our willingness to invest.”
An example of this ‘investment payback’ is in the medical sector, where Takumi has worked with WNT to significantly reduce lead times by machining artificial femoral component complete in a single operation and at the same time eliminating previously required grinding and hand-finishing operations. “Prior to applying these new machining techniques these femoral components would require multi-machine processing that would result in extended lead-times measured in weeks, we now machine them from raw casting to finished part in under an hour by maximising the machine tool’s capability with the right cutting tools and software,” says Gerry Reynolds. “The long lead times and convoluted supply chain on this project/product have been accepted as the norm, until now. By combining our experience gained across multiple industry sectors machining complex components, particularly aerospace where cost-down is accepted as the norm, we can approach any job without fear in the knowledge that we can machine it, and machine it efficiently. This has to be a combined effort by all involved though from suppliers such as Ceratizit UK & Ireland with their WNT tooling, through all of our people.
Takumi Precision Engineering’s way of working, investing in new technologies and strategies has worked well for it over the years. A big believer in cellular manufacturing, with typically four machines per cell has driven efficiencies and growth has come from the scaling up of existing business and the addition of new work. Its only constraint over the past 2-3 years has been space, but the current extension that is nearing completion will allow a further two, four-machine cells to be introduced that will provide capacity for planned growth for a few years to come. “Takumi Precision Engineering has been a remarkable success and one that we at Ceratizit UK & Ireland are pleased to be associated with,” says Ceratizit UK & Ireland’s Applications Engineer Shane O’Donnell. “The enthusiasm from Gerry and his team to embrace new machining strategies and technology is refreshing and, our commitment to invest time in to developing these strategies with them is paying immediate dividends in terms of productivity and the development of new business in areas, such as medical. Significant gains can be made if the desire to invest is there, which it is at Takumi.”