Bringing manufacturing back to UK

Kendal-based engineering company Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon has made a seven-figure investment with Yamazaki Mazak to significantly increase productivity and bolster its UK manufacturing base.

Gilkes specialises in the design and manufacture of hydro-electric turbines and cooling pumps for high horse-power diesel engines, with parts sourced worldwide. The company has acquired a Mazak Integrex e-1250V/8 vertical multi-tasking machine, with the intention of increasing capacity at its Kendal facility and ultimately re-shoring the manufacture of vital components back to the UK.
Specifically, Gilkes currently sources fully-machined turbine runners from an Eastern European supplier. The new Mazak machine will enable the company to bring 40% of this machining work back to its facility in Kendal.
Gilkes’ new Integrex e-1250V/8 – one of the largest machines in the Mazak range – is designed for the multi-axis machining of large, complex workpieces. The machine is capable of performing a variety of tasks that would normally be completed by multiple machines, including turning, milling, boring and drilling operations. In addition, Mazak will be supplying a complete tool management system to reduce manual input and set-up times.
“Our current machine tools in Kendal are great workhorses, but we’ve gone about as far as we can with them,” says Rebecca Sandham, head of operations at Gilkes. “With the Mazak, we will be able to significantly increase our productivity levels, which will enable us to continue being highly competitive in our global markets.”
She continues: “The Integrex acquisition forms part of a long-term plan to upgrade our manufacturing capabilities. Ultimately, we want this investment to be seen as proof of our commitment to UK manufacturing operations and our responsibility to provide jobs for the local area.”
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