Fifth Nakamura Ramps-up Productivity at Velden
As part of its continued investment strategy, Velden Engineering (UK) Ltd has just taken delivery of a Nakamura-Tome NTY3-150 twin spindle 3-turret turning centre from the Engineering Technology Group (ETG). Delivered in March, the new addition has been purchased to produce high-volume components beyond the size capacity of the company’s sliding head turning centres.
Based in Bolton, Velden was the first UK job shop to achieve ISO: 9001 in 1987 and has since won a multitude of prestigious OEM contracts and awards along the way. The Lancashire subcontract manufacturer now offers a complete range of services from CNC machining, laser cutting, waterjet machining, sheet metalwork, assembly, design and development and more. The company now serves clients in sectors as diverse as nuclear, offshore, rail, motorsport, aerospace, automotive, environmental, medical and pharmaceutical.
In 2012, the manufacturer acquired its first Nakamura-Tome turning centre, a compact WT100 twin-spindle twin turret machine. This formed part of a strategy to replace older machines with modern multi-tasking machines to reduce the number of operations and improve efficiency. Commenting upon this, Velden Engineering’s Lee Valentine, Plant Manager says: “Originally, Velden was looking to buy a different brand of machine, but we were impressed upon seeing a Nakamura WT100 at an exhibition. When we learnt that the next generation of this machine was about to be launched with a new large screen Windows-based control, the decision to purchase our first Nakamura, the WT100 was made on the back of it fitting perfectly with Velden’s Industry 4.0 aspirations. Velden became one of the first companies to take delivery of this next generation machine, which became an instant success. The machine is very reliable with higher overall equipment effectiveness that made it particularly impressive to all customers and visitors who saw it in action.”
The relationship with ETG blossomed and in 2013, the company took delivery of a larger Nakamura-Tome WT150II twin spindle twin turret turning centre with an upper turret Y-axis after winning a new contract. Four years later, a second WT150II was planned to service an increase in demand, but with no machines available in European stock at that time, ETG loaned Velden an AS200 until the second WT150II arrived. As it turns out, the Nakamura AS200 was perfect for certain lower volume projects with its fast set-up and programming. The result was Velden taking delivery of the second WT150II and also purchasing the AS200 that had been loaned.
As part of its continuous improvement strategy, the company replaced its oldest Nakamura, the first WT100 machine that arrived almost a decade ago with a brand new WT150II that arrived in November. This has now been followed by the new Nakamura-Tome NTY3-150.
Prior to the Nakamura-Tome NTY3-150 arriving, Lee said: “Many of our enquiries are now for parts in higher volumes with increased complexity that are above the size parameters for our sliding-head machines. As a 3-turret machine all with Y-axis, the Nakamura NTY3-150 machine opens up a greater opportunity to do even more simultaneous machining and it will deliver even faster cycle times. This will be possible through the use of special tooling on what will be very price-sensitive parts. The additional cost of the Nakamura NTY3-150 will be offset by allowing us to be even more competitive on certain packages of work and it will therefore enable us to win a lot of new business off the back of it.”
Now the machine has arrived, everything Lee said before the arrival of the Nakamura-Tome NTY3-150 is coming to fruition. “Just on one specific part that we have transferred to the NTY3-150, we have seen a reduced cycle time of 40%. That has taken the cycle time from 2 minutes 30 seconds to less than 1 minute 30 seconds. The cost implications are therefore huge. We already had very productive machines, but the new Nakamura-Tome NTY3-150 means we can be competitive on parts where we used to struggle to compete previously. This will obviously open up new markets, industries and production opportunities for us.”
“The capability of simultaneous machining and three turrets with Y-axis is now allowing us to machine parts of even greater complexity that we could either not have done or done competitively previously. Furthermore, having the other Nakamura machines and in particular the WT150II, the latest NTY3-150 fits in nicely and is familiar to our business and our operators. The new NTY3-150 offers extra capacity, improved productivity, flexibility and capability and it extends the life of our range of fully reliable turning machines. We are once again delighted with the level of service and technology that has been supplied and supported by ETG,” concludes Lee.