When Darren Chisnall created Warrington-based Roant Precision Engineering back in 2001, it was as a small precision sub-contractor relying on a selection of manual machines to make a living. Now, 18 years on the company has just completed the takeover of its biggest customer, Eiger Torrance, a manufacturer of mixing, milling and de-aeration systems for the production of paints and printing inks with a history going back to the 19th century. This investment will secure machining work for Roant Precision Engineering, as well as providing further growth opportunities for both businesses.

“We have had a 15-year relationship with Eiger Torrance, working on fabrication and machining of their range of products, and have invested in machinery over the years to support that work, such as the recent arrival of an XYZ XL 1100 large capacity lathe. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to buy the business, it made perfect sense as it protected the future of our business and opened up even greater potential,” says Darren Chisnall, Managing Director, Roant Precision Engineering. “We have integrated all of Eiger Torrances activities into the one building alongside our machining and fabrication activities, which has delivered further streamlining of the businesses.”

XYZ XL 1100 Lathe at Roant Precision Engineering

The arrival of the XYZ XL 1100 from XYZ Machine Tools is the latest in a long line of XYZ machines at Roant Precision Engineering, the first of which an XYZ SM3000 bed mill was a prize won at MACH 2002! “That first XYZ machine changed how we approached work and was the start of our success, and the ProtoTRAK control has served us well as we expanded our machining capacity with more XYZ ProtoTRAK mills and ProTURN lathes. We did need larger capacity though, hence the decision to go for the XL 1100, which was bought specifically for Eiger Torrance work, but once word got around that we had the capability to swing 1100mm components weighing up to 4000 kg we soon found work coming in from other customers.”

The knock-on effect of having the larger turning capacity was that Roant’s milling capability then needed an upgrade, so an order was placed for the largest ProtoTRAK mill in the XYZ range, an SMX5000 bed mill. With a table size of 1930 by 356 mm and a maximum load of 850 kg, this machine can handle the vast majority of Roant’s milling needs, alongside the three other XYZ bed mills, including the original SM3000 from 2002.

Just some of Roant Precision Engineering’s extensive range of XYZ Machine Tools

“Looking back winning the XYZ SM3000 at MACH 2002 was a major point in the ongoing success of the business, up to then we had been all manual machines and being honest, struggling to be competitive. Back then I never dreamt that I would one day buy out my largest customer, but the ProtoTRAK control changed how we worked and transformed the business, hence our continued reliance on that control for our milling and small to medium size turning,” says Darren Chisnall. “We now have eight XYZ machines, seven of which have the ProtoTRAK control, that familiarity has helped to develop the skills and experience we need to produce work to exacting tolerances needed for the products designed by Eiger Torrance and others that we work for.”

A row of ProTURN Lathes at Roant Precision Engineering

In addition to the work for Eiger Torrance, Roant Precision Engineering continues to provide specialist one-off and low-volume milling, turning and grinding to customers across the north west of England. The ProtoTRAK control from XYZ Machine Tools is the perfect solution for this type of work, thanks to its easy-to-use conversational programming and other user-friendly characteristics. Its success is summed up by Darren Chisnall who says: “If I had a £1 million to spend on machine tools, I’ll still buy XYZ ProtoTRAK as it is perfect for the work we do.”