Falmouth-based Feritech specialises in engineering projects that operate in the harshest of environments, specifically sub-sea where its products are used to survey the sea bed and provide geotechnical data for the oil & gas, military and surveying sectors. As sales at the independently-owned business have grown, so has the need for machined components. Initially reliant on external sub-contracting, Feritech took the decision to purchase its own machining capacity, which saw the arrival of its first XYZ machine.
The large capacity of the XYZ 1510 HD VMC is allowing lights out running at Feritech/Carrick Engineering
With further growth planned the decision was taken in 2018 to bring all machining, where possible, in-house. Feritech did this by creating Carrick Engineering to be in-effect its bespoke sub-contract service contained within the same building as the welding and assembly of its surveying and winching systems. Within the next 12 months machining capacity grew significantly and now features five machines from XYZ Machine Tools. These XYZ machines are an SMX SLV turret mill, an SLX 555 ProTURN lathe, TC320 LTY, TC 400 turning centres and an VMC 1510 HD vertical machining centre.
Carrick Engineering’s Production Manager, Marc Goodchild, says: “As a start-up business we needed reassurance from any machine tool supplier that they had a range of machines that fit our needs, which includes some heavy metal removal on some difficult to machine materials, such as Duplex stainless steel, as well as large fabrications that need machining. XYZ Machine Tools VMC 1510 HD with its box slideway construction, 12,000 revs/min spindle and Siemens ShopMill control allows us to do all of that. The SLX 555 lathe with its 3000 mm distance between centres gives us great turning flexibility, while the two turning centres provide large capacity turning, with the advantage of the Y-axis on the TC 320 LTY. Overall it has been nothing but a good experience.”
The two XYZ turning centres with bar feeds are also adding valuable machining capacity as business grows.
Maximum use of space has allowed Feritech/Carrick Engineering to take on additional machining work
Other key factors in choosing XYZ Machine Tools for Marc Goodchild were the proximity of XYZ Machine Tools, meaning that help was at hand quickly if needed, help that included the inclusive training provided with each machine. “The training was brilliant, it gave us exactly what we needed over four training sessions on all of the machines. The knowledge and advice that was passed on to us during these sessions has saved us time. Programming on the Siemens controls is now so much quicker than the G-code alternatives that we were used to at previous companies and is allowing us to easily deploy new machining strategies to cut cycle times. As a result, we feel there is not a lot we can’t achieve on these machines and we are confident that their build quality will take the punishment that we put them under on the work we do.”
The combination of ProtoTRAK controlled turret mill and large VMC gives added flexibility.
With Carrick Engineering’s development of its own product range, made up of smaller parts for off-road vehicles, there is added time pressure on machine capacity, something that is being overcome by ‘smart thinking, utilising the 1600 x 600 mm table of the XYZ 1510 HD VMC to load multiple batches and the barfeed capability of the turning centres. In doing this the company has created a virtual 24/7 machining capability that can be managed easily by the four members of staff. “The past 12 months have been intense, as along with the arrival of the new machines and increased demand from Feritech, we have also opened up opportunities for sub-contract machining to other local businesses, as well as starting the process of developing our own in-house product range for components for off-road vehicles. By working on the Feritech work, which can be in exotic materials, during the day we can then load the machines with our own, light alloy parts, and other sub-contract work, to run lights out, ensuring that we get maximum production from all the machines.”