When Ben Cheeseman created BCH Services back in 2009 it was as a part-time enterprise working out of the back of his Land Rover providing plant maintenance in and around Kent. It wasn’t until four years later that he went full-time a move that also re-ignited his interest in machining, with some initial investment in second-hand machine tools being made to support his plant fitting activities. With a relocation to the company’s current premises in 2016 space became available to further develop the machining side of the business, with customers coming on-board from toolmaking, plastics, hydraulic, agricultural and vacuum industry sectors, mostly through word-of-mouth recommendations.

“When we moved to our current location, we had the space to expand our machining capacity. Among the old machines we had purchased was an XYZ bedmill with a very early ProtoTRAK control, which we still have. So when we wanted additional capacity, we turned again to XYZ Machine Tools to upgrade our turning capability and purchased an XYZ SLX 425 lathe to bring us more up-to-date,” says Ben Cheeseman.

The XYZ 425 ProTURN lathe added significant capacity to BCH Services with its maximum swing of 700 mm in the gap. The arrival of this ProTURN lathe generated additional business particularly from customers within the injection moulding/toolmaking and, thanks to the 2000 mm between centre distance of the SLX 425, more work came in the form of hydraulic ram maintenance and manufacture.

“The arrival of the SLX 425 was a step-change for us, it opened up many new opportunities and we started to get requests for ever larger workpieces and while we had larger capacity with our older manual machines we needed to keep pace and look at CNC capability for these bigger jobs,” says Ben Cheeseman.

This led him to return to XYZ Machine Tools and its XL 780 lathe with the Siemens control system, which significantly increased available turning capacity at BCH Services. Giving customers even greater choice, XYZ Machine Tools has made the XL 780 available with the latest ProtoTRAK RLX touchscreen control, making the step up from other XYZ ProTURN even more straightforward. With a swing over the bed of 780 mm and in the gap of 1090 mm the XL 780 is able to handle the large diameter flange work that it gets. In addition, with 3000 mm between centres and a maximum turning length of 2900 mm it is ideal for the hydraulic ram and roller work undertaken by BCH Services.

“While the XYZ SLX 425 is quite a sizeable machine, the jump up to XL 780 gives us much greater capability, but even so we are finding we are pushing that to its limits in terms of size of component. When it comes to machining hydraulic rams, the 160 mm diameter spindle bore is a major advantage, extending the length we can machine considerably. Another benefit of the XL 780 is that while it handles all the larger work now, we can also use it for much smaller work if the SLX 425 is busy, adding much more versatility to our turning capacity.”  

The investment didn’t stop at turning with an XYZ SMX 5000 bedmill arriving at the same time as the XL 780 lathe. With its 5.7 kW 5000 revs/min spindle combined with 3-axis ProtoTRAK control and axis travels of 1524 by 596 by 540 mm axis travels, the SMX 5000 complements the large capacity turning capability at BCH Services. “We have built up some very strong and loyal relationships with customers over the years, and these are now enhanced with the additional machining capacity. The XYZ machines gives us the versatility we need as we never know what is coming through the door next and the mix of being able to use them as full CNC or manual machines, they were our only choice as they suit our business perfectly,” says Ben Cheeseman. “With our present capacity the two parts of our business, machining and plant maintenance, work hand-in-hand, with the maintenance side bringing in new machining work. We are now in a good position to provide a full range of comprehensive services to our customers.”