Mills CNC has recently supplied Sub-CNC Precision, a subcontract specialist based in Luton, with a new fixed-head multi-tasking lathe manufactured by DN Solutions. The machine, a compact FANUC-controlled Lynx 2100LSY equipped with a sub-spindle, Y axis and driven tooling, is providing Sub-CNC with a fast, accurate, flexible and reliable turning solution. It arrived at the company’s 15,000 sq ft facility in April 2023.

Established in 2008 by current co-directors Yian Stavrou and George Dingley, Sub-CNC Precision today employs 23 members of staff and is ISO 9001 certified. Over the past 16 years the company has grown exponentially and regularly makes strategic investments in its people, plant and equipment as part of an established and successful continuous improvement programme.

The Lynx 2100LSY is the first machine from DN Solutions acquired by the company in its 16-year history. Since installation, the machine has been put through its paces producing a range of small, high-precision and often complex components for a number of tier-one customers operating in the automotive, aerospace, defence and medical sectors.

Sub-CNC Precision machines from solid and from a wide range of materials that include aluminium, mild steel, stainless steels, titanium, brass and bronze. Batch sizes are typically up to 200-off with parts machined to tight tolerances in the realm of 50 µm and exacting surface finishes. At present, the Lynx 2100LSY is seeing use as a chucking lathe, although the imminent arrival of a 51 mm capacity bar feeder in the coming weeks will increase the machine’s versatility.

The bar feeder integration will also see the Lynx 2100LSY used to machine lower volume batch work processed currently on the company’s sliding-head lathes.

Says Yian Stavrou, Sub-CNC’s managing director: “The Lynx 2100LSY has been a great addition, improving our in-house machining capabilities. With its one-hit capabilities, the lathe is proving instrumental in strengthening our supply chain position, securing new business from existing and new customers in the UK and mainland Europe.”

The synchronisation of the lathe’s main and sub-spindle allows, via quick and seamless part transfer, the machining of component front and back ends in a single set up. The result is faster part cycle times, improved accuracies and increased work throughput.

Driven tool capabilities in conjunction with the machine’s Y axis enable the quick and efficient generation of milled and drilled axial and radial features, eliminating the need to transfer parts to a separate machining centre for finishing.

“Technology such roller-type LM guideways, a sub-spindle, Y axis and driven tools help deliver high accuracy, fast part processing times and improved process efficiencies,” says Stavrou.

Although the multi-axis Lynx 2100LSY has strengthened Sub-CNC’s machining capacity and capabilities, back in early 2023 the company was originally looking at a ‘simpler’ and more straightforward fixed-head lathe investment.

Recalls Stavrou: “We were initially in the market for a two-axis lathe that could undertake secondary reworking operations on selected parts that had already been machined overnight on our existing, production-oriented fixed-head lathes but which, for various reasons [typically broken or worn tools] failed to meet the required part quality standards.

The company knew of Mills and had a positive impression of the company, its machines and the aftersales service.

“We approached Mills CNC to see if they could identify a suitable machine,” reveals Stavrou. “It was Mills’ customer and visitor centre in Leamington where we were first introduced to the Lynx 2100LSY.”

Discussions with Mills technical and sales staff helped Sub-CNC clarify its new investment requirements, with the company duly opting for a multi-axis, multi-tasking lathe. This more sophisticated and higher specification lathe would still enable Sub-CNC to use it for reworking operations, as per the original intention. However, when not in use for such work, the Lynx 2100LSY would also provide the company with a high-productivity and flexible turning solution for producing low-volume high-precision parts in one hit.

Says Stavrou: “This, we decided, was the better option, and was one that would not only address the reworking issue but also provide us with an accurate, high-productivity lathe to handle new work.”

The fact that the Lynx 2100LSY was in already stock, with delivery and installation available in just a few days, was also a major selling point.

DN Solutions’ Lynx 2100LSY is a best-selling 6-inch chuck/51 mm bar diameter lathe with a 300 mm maximum turning diameter and a 510 mm maximum turning length. The machine features a 15 kW/6000 rpm/127 Nm main spindle, a servo-driven 12-position turret with fast indexing capabilities, driven tooling (6000 rpm), a ±52.5mm Y axis, a 5-inch chuck sub-spindle (5.5 kW/6000 rpm) and FANUC 0iTP control with 15” touchscreen.

The Lynx 2100LSY supplied to Sub-CNC also featured a parts catcher, automatic tool setter and Filtermist extraction unit.

“The Lynx 2100LSY has been a good investment,” states Stavrou. “It is fast, accurate and reliable, enabling us to secure new machining contracts from existing and new customers.

The decision to invest in a multi-tasking lathe as opposed to a two-axis model has been vindicated, with the Lynx 2100LSY making a positive contribution to our growth.”

He adds: “Delivering high-precision components to customers on time and in budget is what Sub-CNC is all about. We regularly monitor and benchmark our performance against KPIs and, where and when we identify areas for improvement, we act quickly and decisively to address them.”

In addition to investing in advanced machine tools and integrated automation systems, the company in November 2020 relocated to its current facility in Luton. Sub-CNC has spent considerable time and resources in modernising and kitting out the machine shop and its administration and office areas.

The facility features a discrete inspection facility in the machine shop and separate assembly/sub-assembly, packaging, distribution and raw material stock areas. The company has also recently invested in a sophisticated ERP system to automate, manage and streamline core business operations and processes in real time, thus improving efficiencies and productivity.

To address current and future skills shortages, the company operates a successful in-house apprenticeship programme in conjunction with a local college, and a trainee foundation programme for new employees.

Although primarily a precision turned-part specialist using a range of sliding- and fixed-head lathes, the company is always looking to grow and has recently invested in two machining centres and a grinding machine to fulfil a machining contract for a newly-acquired customer.

For further information www.millscnc.co.uk