Seco aids growth at Mecaprec

French precision machining company Mecaprec has found that working closely with Seco has helped it to grow tenfold in a decade while supplying parts to the world’s biggest aerospace companies.

Company CEO Jean-Marc Gomez acquired the company in 2008 when it employed 12 people and had annual sales of €780,000. Shortly after, when Mecaprec invested in a series of Makino machining centres, it brought Seco Tools to the company’s attention.

“They had the tools we needed for a big contract that we landed in 2011 for Aubert & Duval, a world leader in upscale metallurgy,” says Gomez. “The distributor was too expensive, so we were happy to work directly with Seco, and the rest is history.”

Since then, the two companies have worked together closely, adopting new tools as they have been developed, which has helped Mecaprec to further expand its product range while reducing unit costs. Seco is now the company’s biggest supplier of cutting tools.

Today, Mecaprec employs 75 people and has annual sales of €10.5m, providing parts for customers such as Airbus, Boeing, Dassault, Embraer and Airbus Helicopter, along with tier-one suppliers like Figeac Aero, Aubert & Duval, PCC France, Artus and Mecachrome. Some 98% of Mecaprec’s work is in the aerospace industry, working mainly in titanium, Inconel and stainless steel. The company mills parts in dimensions ranging from 10 x 10 mm up to 1500 x 1500 mm, producing some 80,000 components every year.

“We want cutting tool specialists who will bring us their new technologies, supply us seamlessly, train our people, listen to our needs and keep us at the cutting edge – in Seco’s case, literally,” says Gomez. “We have a great relationship with Seco, and we look forward to that continuing long into the future.”

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Cutting the cost to Industry 4.0

The cost of entry into productivity-boosting Industry 4.0 technology is now under £200 following the introduction of a secure cloud-based smart app by tech start-up FourJaw Manufacturing Analytics. Following the launch of the app – and easy to install MachineLink sensors – manufacturers can access Industry 4.0 levels of data analytics that are able to unlock five-fold increases in shop-floor productivity. Early adopters include Chesterfield-based CBE+, Sheffield-based Edward Turner & Son, and Kent-based Cajero.

FourJaw co-founder and CEO Chris Iveson says: “We designed the app and hardware to be simple to install and even easier to use. Installation takes less than four minutes. This gives operators and managers immediate visibility of business-critical data on a tablet, smartphone or laptop. The beauty of the system is that it can be deployed on any machine, of any model or age.”

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£1m opportunity for Deritend

A fabrication and mechanical engineering specialist is setting its sights on rapid expansion after securing a string of new contracts, including a £1m framework extension for Northumbrian Water. Deritend Group, which employs 14 people at its purpose-built workshop in Middlesbrough, has secured a deal that involves the design, fabrication, coating and site installation of load-bearing platforms and other structural fabrications.

The company is now looking to bounce back from the challenges of Covid-19 lockdowns by maximising recent investment from GE Renewables and the announcement of a Teesside Freeport, not to mention transferring its technical manufacturing expertise into new opportunities in nuclear, oil and gas, chemicals, and renewables. This strategy will involve investment in training and workshop equipment to allow the business to compete in highly compliant sectors, as well as the recruitment of a new lead administrator and two new apprentices.

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Lotus completes £100m investment

Pre-production of the new Lotus Emira is getting underway following over £100m of investment at the company’s UK facilities, which includes two new production halls at the iconic home of Lotus in Hethel, Norfolk. Furthermore, with the launch of Emira, Lotus is creating more than 200 new operations roles and recruitment is already underway.

Elsewhere, recent investment at Lotus Advanced Structures (LAS) in Norwich includes a new fabrication facility. Here, the chassis and front-end assembly line, including robot bonding agent application, is now operational, supplying components for Emira pre-production. Eight new CNC milling machines are being installed, with four more transported from Worcester. The commissioning of a new laser cutting machine is also taking place to manufacture fuel tanks, rear subframes and many of the steel and aluminium components used on the vehicle.

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Centreless grinder uses NSK roller guides

The new Tschudin Cube 350 centreless grinding machine is using NSK’s RA series of low-friction, high-rigidity roller guides, which are helping to generate excellent levels of surface finish on machined workpieces.

Tschudin’s Cube 350 operates using the centreless cylindrical grinding method, where the drive design has a major impact on performance. Deploying linear drives in three axes (X-axis/control wheel adjustment, U-axis/grinding wheel adjustment and W-axis/workpiece adjustment) lays the foundation for obtaining both high productivity and flexibility. All drives must operate with micron-level accuracy. In the case of linear drives, this ethos also applies to the guide elements.

As a result, Tschudin has been using linear guides from NSK’s RA series in its centreless cylindrical grinding machines for many years. Thanks to their proven reliability, these high-performance products are now also demonstrating their worth in the Cube 350.

RA series roller guides offer high maximum load capacity and rigidity, thus delivering the traverse and repeat accuracy necessary in machine tools such as the Cube 350. Moreover, these capabilities are particularly desirable in applications that require superior surface finish.

The RA guideways run with high precision and low vibration, while at the same time meeting tough rigidity requirements. Rigidity is always a key factor in centreless grinding, where pressure and counter-pressure constantly exert on the workpiece, the grinding wheel and the regulating/control wheel. The RA guideways absorb these permanent forces to deliver traverse and repeat accuracy, as well as a prolonged service life.

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