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Carney UK began life as a business development consultancy in 2014 to deliver the project management expertise of founder Simon Carney to small and medium sized engineering companies. While working on a business turn-around project for a fabrication company, things fell into place, with Carney UK Engineering & Automation being invited to work as project manager on the design and development of fixtures for power train assembly for a luxury vehicle manufacturer.

Simon Carney (blue jacket) with CAD/CAM programmer Martin Fogg and the XYZ 750 LR and XYZ 500 LR vertical machining centres

This opportunity was the first step in the transformation of Carney UK into a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of bespoke assembly jigs and fixtures, production line equipment such as end-effectors for robots, pneumatic handling systems and special purpose machinery for assisted assembly, all with a focus on the automotive sector. “Through hard work and dedication to delivering projects on-time and to budget we overcame the challenges faced by small businesses breaking into large OEM automotive manufacturers. We are extremely proud of what we have achieved,” says Simon Carney. With a UK customer base ranging from prestige, low-volume, manufacturers through to high-volume vehicle producers, Carney UK develops solutions to their assembly and automation needs. This looks set to grow thanks to significant interest generated by its products, such as multi-purpose jigs that can be used on more than one model of vehicle; plus the rise in start-ups in the electric vehicle sector and, interest from as far afield as China and its burgeoning automotive industry

A complete multi-function assembly jig destined for a prestige automotive company

Initially, the machining required on the designs created by Carney UK was carried out by sub-contract machine shops local to it in Runcorn. As demand grew and time-pressures from customers increased, these sub-contractors began to struggle to deliver what tended to be lots of low-volume batches of parts. With the relocation to its current premises, Simon Carney therefore took the decision to start to bring machining in-house. Initially, this was low-key, with a few ‘old’ manual machines as stop gaps, but he recognised that investment in new machining technology was the way to go. Having employed Edward Hibbert as his technical manager, Simon asked his advice as to what the next move should be, his overwhelming response was XYZ Machine Tools.

Through working with sub-contractors, I had seen XYZ machines almost everywhere I went, this along with the trust that Eddie put in them convinced me it was the way to go. Our first purchase was an XYZ 500LR vertical machining centre, which was quickly followed by an XYZ CT65 turning centre. We then added further vertical machining centre capacity with an XYZ 750LR with 4th axis capability and, to round off, for now, to cover smaller turning work we brought in an XYZ 1330 manual centre lathe.

Carney UK Technical Manager Edward Hibbert at the control of the XYZ CT65 turning centre and the XYZ 1330 manual lathe

The two XYZ LR machining centres, which make use of the latest in linear rail technology, provided the ideal starting point for Carney UK, with the Siemens 828D control system providing straightforward conversational control. At the same time the control allows the business to develop its use of CAD/CAM systems to generate programs and overcome the local challenges of finding skilled machine operators. They also provide the capacity needed for the vast majority of its components, with the XYZ 500 LR and XYZ 750 LR having axis travels of 510 x 400 x 450 mm and 750 x 440 x 500mm respectively; with both machines featuring the same 8000 revs/min 18 hp (13 kW) BT 40 spindle and 20 m/min feedrates in all axes. These are complemented by the CT65 for turning capacity, with its 65 mm bar capacity and 23hp spindle, a maximum turning length of 260 mm and maximum diameter of 200 mm, along with the use of the ShopTurn version of the Siemens 828D control, the CT65 provides a compact yet highly capable addition to manage the company’s turning needs.

Typical component machined by Carney UK

“The XYZ vertical machining centres and the addition of the 4th axis on the 750 LR machine, along with CT65, give us the versatility and competitive edge that we need, but most importantly we now have total control over our machining requirements. While initially we programmed at the machines, the move to use ONECNC CAD/CAM software is a further step for us in developing and streamlining our machining capability, we are now confident that we can machine anything that falls within the capacity of the XYZ machines,” says Simon Carney. “As we move forward as a business, we are confident that we will continue to expand and realise greater ambitions. While we first went to XYZ because of recommendations, we have developed a good relationship with them as they share the same dynamic and forward thinking outlook that we have. As we grow I am confident that they will continue to provide the support we need to meet our future machining challenges.”