Hilton, Derbyshire-based JR Fabrications specialises in the design, development and manufacture of bespoke, high quality, stainless steel exhaust systems for classic and modern cars that are used for race and road applications. The nature of their work means that many are one-off projects many of which are fitted to high value historic cars, so quality and delivery when promised are critical factors. In producing these bespoke exhausts there is a requirement for specialist fixtures and jigs and in a desire to make the business self-contained Managing Director Julian Robinson, along with his life and business partner Anne, invested in the latest ProtoTRAK controlled bed mill from XYZ Machine Tools.
Julian (left) and Mark Robinson are moving their business forward by bringing machining in-house.
The XYZ RMX 2500 bed mill features the latest development of the ProtoTRAK control, the RX, which with its 15.6” touchscreen that puts all of ProtoTRAK’s advantages at the users’ fingertips with the now familiar ‘pinch to zoom’ type features. With the larger screen more information is available, so for instance there are fly-out windows with tooling information, the screen size allows a drawing to be displayed while the operator is programming on another part of the screen such is its size. This combined with the RMX 2500’s 40 – 5000 revs/min spindle over two programmable ranges, 1245 by 228 mm table size and a maximum table load of 600 kg make for an impressive combination.
Julian with one of the complex exhaust parts for which jigs are machined on the XYZ RMX 2500.
The main function of the XYZ RMX 2500 will be in the development of tooling for the exhausts, but already there are new opportunities arising just by having this machining capability in-house. “While our core business is race exhausts we are very diverse in other areas as we get asked to work on other projects by the owners of the cars that we work on, while we have their cars in the workshop it makes sense to do other work on them,” says Julian. “Given that the vast majority of this work is on a one-off basis we find that sub-contractors are very reluctant to take on our work in the timescales that we want or, charge a high premium. Therefore, it made sense for us to become more self-contained and the XYZ RMX 2500 is a step along that road. Anne was instrumental in setting the business up with me and also in the early discussions with Martyn from XYZ. Sadly she passed away suddenly prior to the machine arriving, so what we are achieving with it is partly in memory of her.”
Work in progress on a complex exhaust system on a customer car at JR Fabrications.
Julian and his brother Mark had limited manual machining experience, so any CNC machine had to be user-friendly and after seeing the ProtoTRAK control at XYZ Machine Tools Nuneaton showroom it appealed to them and ticked all the boxes in terms of functionality. “We are not programmers or experienced CNC operators, our forte is fabrication, so the conversational side of the ProtoTRAK and the simplicity that the touchscreen brings combined with the type of work we undertake made it a good fit as we move the business forward and the XYZ machine has got us going in the right direction.”