Founded in 1992, P&T Precision Engineering has an established reputation as a subcontract manufacturer that specialises in the production of jigs, fixtures and machined components for the food, medical and pharmaceutical sector. Historically a manual machine shop, the County Kildare based company has made the transition from manual to CNC machining with the support of the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) Ireland.

Discussing the transition from manual machine shop to CNC facility, Darragh Walsh, managing director of P&T Precision Engineering, says: “We were a small family company with six employees and we decided to invest in CNC machines from ETG. We ended up buying quite a lot of new equipment. This helped us to grow in certain sectors and helped our customers to get more products in shorter lead times. In a short period, we have gone from six staff to 22, but we have also grown our number of machines – and we hope to grow that into the future as well.”

Jamie Fletchmore, managing director at ETG Ireland, adds: “P&T was an up and coming family-run business that was transitioning from manual machines into the CNC world. They approached us and we sat down and spoke about the first machining centre, introducing them to the Quaser MV184. From there, we migrated on every two years and they were buying more technology, which included the Nakamura AS200L turning centre. Two years later they purchased another Quaser MV184.”

The Quaser MV184 vertical machining centre from ETG is a model that provides X, Y and Z-axis travels of 1020 x 610 x 610 mm. This spacious work envelope covers a 1200 x 600 mm bed upon which users can load parts weighing up to 500 kg. The BT40 taper spindle machine provides a maximum spindle speed of 12,000 rpm, supported by a 30-position ATC.

“This type of machine is a big step up from where they were, machining parts on manual machines in multiple operations,” says Fletchmore. “With the Quaser MV184, P&T were able to take those manually machined parts from drawing and CAD model straight into the machine with a finished part coming off. As a result, they were able to get the parts through the shop floor much faster, and that also reduces the downtime involved with going from one operation to another as part of the manual process. Investing in our machines and technology has enabled P&T to move through different types of components and different kinds of materials, especially harder materials. This has allowed them to enter new markets.”

He continues: “It opened doors and opportunities that led the company to then look at the Nakamura AS200L turning centre. The AS200L introduced P&T to a new range of machine tools. They were making parts in multiple operations on a lathe, but by using the Nakamura AS200L turning centre they can finish those parts complete in one operation. P&T are now able to do all of the milling, drilling, tapping – and transfer parts to the second spindle – in one complete operation.”

The Nakamura AS200L twin-spindle turning centre from ETG is a 65 mm diameter bar capacity machine with an 8-inch chuck that offers a turning capacity up to 340 mm diameter with a maximum turning length of 570 mm – providing sufficient capacity for the requirements of P&T. With an 11/15 kW, 4500 rpm main spindle motor and a sub-spindle unit offering 5.5/7.5 kW and 6000 rpm, the Nakamura AS200L is suitable for the productive turning of all material types with its blend of power, torque and spindle speed. A driven tooling unit has a capacity for up to 15 tools with a maximum spindle speed of 6000 rpm and 3.7/5.5 kW spindle power.

“P&T is a very creative company and they do a lot of design work for their customers,” says Fletchmore. “They came to us with particular types of work and asked if they could do it on our machines. We sat down with them and supported and guided them through the different ways that we could approach jobs – in a way that was different to what they were doing in the past. That has enabled P&T to create much better components, much quicker, while retaining and improving upon the precision and the tolerances of parts.”

Says Walsh: “We went to ETG because they provide great support and service, as well as fantastic quality machines with great repeatability and durability. We have never had any issues with any machine that ETG hasn’t been able to fix within a couple of hours. The Nakamura AS200L turning centre has enabled us to machine components in a much faster time because there are fewer set-ups. So, instead of taking jobs from the lathe to the mill, we can now do it all in one shot. This has decreased our machining times, reduced our delivery times and means we can get more parts through the machine shop.”

ETG Ireland provided all of the training, as the Heidenhain CNC control was new to P&T. This included full operator training where ETG Ireland went in and set P&T parts up with the shop floor machinists and went through the full machining aspect. In short, ETG Ireland has taken P&T from manual machining to full CNC.

Looking to the future, Walsh concludes: “The future for P&T will hopefully see us expand to 2000 sq ft and grow our workforce to help increase capacity. This will certainly result in more machine tools from ETG Ireland.”

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