Penta Precision investigates the market and selects Doosan machine tools from Mills CNC.

Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of Doosan machine tools in the UK and Ireland, has recently supplied three new Doosan vertical machining centres to Portsmouth-based precision subcontract specialist, Penta Precision Engineering Ltd.

The three machines – all Doosan DNM 4500 models – were installed at Penta’s 4,000 square foot facility during February, and are being used to machine a wide range of precision components, made from a diverse range of materials (i.e. aluminium, plastics, stainless, tool and carbon steels together with yellow metals), for the company’s rapidly growing customer base.

Since 2014 Penta Precision has experienced significant growth and, in the last 12 months alone, sales turnover increased by over 40%.

Explains Edward Moss, Penta Precision’s Technical Account Manager:

“Our customers and UK manufacturers in general, no doubt helped by the decline in value of Sterling, have become more competitive in the markets where they operate and, as a consequence, are extremely busy.

“Many have managed to win-back work and contracts previously lost to overseas competitors and needed access to a reliable and experienced machining partners capable of meeting their (and their customers) quality, lead-time fulfilment and cost requirements.”

Typical part made on one of the Doosan DNM 4500 vertical machining centres is a MediaportR – an all-weather telecommunications solution that ensures mobile broadband connectivity.
Prior to finishing operations, the part is machined from solid aluminium billet, and is machined in 3 operations on the machine’s 4th-axis unit.

Penta Precision, with its reputation for providing technically-excellent and value-added design-to-manufacture consultancy, and a comprehensive range of precision machining and secondary finishing services, needed to expand to handle the increase in demand from its existing customers and to also secure business from new customers too.

The demand for Penta Precision’s machining services is clearly great news for the company but it did, naturally enough, create some issues and put pressure on its existing in-house manufacturing capacity and capabilities.

Continues Edward Moss:

“We constantly audit and review our operational efficiency and effectiveness as part of a company-wide continuous improvement programme.

“As part of this process we identified that (some) of our older machine tools were experiencing reliability issues and causing production bottlenecks.

“It became clear that, to help alleviate these problems, we needed to invest in new, high-performance machine tools.”

As part of its continuous improvement programme the company has already significantly revamped its Turning Section and has invested in three new 8”/10” chuck Fanuc controlled CNC lathes with twin-spindle and Y-axis capabilities and integrated bar-feeders.

The company has now, through its investment in three new Doosan DNM vertical machining centres, similarly improved its Milling Section.

Why Doosan? Why Mills CNC?

Penta Precision’s decision to opt for Doosan milling machines from Mills CNC is multi-faceted.

Explains Edward Moss:

“We manufacture small-to-medium sized precision components for the aerospace, defence, electronics, pharmaceutical, medical and marine sectors in small-to-medium batch sizes. And the materials we machine are equally diverse (metal through to plastics).

“Prior to investing in the new Doosan machines our milling capacity comprised nine machining centres with Heidenhain Controls. Whilst performing satisfactorily, some of these machines, because of their age, were prone to the occasional breakdown resulting in machine downtime – something we could ill-afford.

“To address our immediate and future machining requirements, we needed to replace our ‘unreliable’ machines with ones that were more versatile and capable of delivering improved accuracies, repeatability’s, surface finishes and cycle times.”

Looking to further upgrade to multi-axis CNC milling operations in the future, Penta Precision recognised the need to take time to investigate and select a long term milling technology partner who could supply high-performance machines and provide equally high service and application support.

Although not a Mills CNC/Doosan customer at that time, Penta Precision cast a wide net researching the entire machine tool market to identify the most suitable machine(s) and machine tool supplier.

Other key considerations in their search included:

  • Technical capabilities of the machines:
    Critical issues that included the build quality of the machines and their durability and reliability were of particular importance. 
  • Reliability, Application and Service Back-up:
    As well as the machines being able to deliver the performance required from day one, Penta Precision clearly needed the machines to be reliable and for the machine tool supplier to have in place proven and responsive after-sales services (professional machine tool servicing, quick access and delivery of OE spare and replacement parts etc.), to ensure minimal disruption to production. 
  • Small Footprint:
    With space at a premium at Penta Precision’s facility, the company needed high-functioning, compact machines with small footprints. 
  • Cost-competitive Price:
    Cost, as always, was an important consideration especially as Penta Precision was in the market for three new machines. 
  • Fanuc Control:
    To ensure that Penta Precision’s turning and milling operations were compatible with each other and to enable part programs to be transferred easily, the decision was made to opt for machining centres with the latest Fanuc Control technology. 
  • Machines’ availability:
    Penta Precision had an immediate need to improve its milling capabilities. As such it was important that the new machines could be delivered, installed and commissioned quickly.

Says Edward Moss:

 “Doosan’s DNM-series of vertical machining centres are popular, proven and have a good reputation in the market.

“Having contacted Mills, the distributor of Doosan machines in the UK, we visited their facility in Leamington to see the DNM machines, and to discuss our requirements in more detail.

“We were impressed with Mills’ approach and by the after-sales service and support they provide to customers. These, in addition to the machines’ performance, technical specifications, competitive price and rapid delivery – all helped us to select Mills CNC as the preferred machine tool supplier.”

The DNM 4500 machines

The three Doosan DNM 4500 machines supplied to Penta Precision are all equipped with a 10.4” console, the Fanuc 0iMF control (with 200 block Look-Ahead), a BT 40 direct-coupled 18.5kW/12,000rpm spindle (117.8 Nm), a 30-position ATC and high-rigidity linear guides on all axes.

In addition to their standard specification Penta Precision also requested Renishaw spindle probes and Filtermist oil/mist extraction units on all three machines, and a Nikken rotary table on one of the machines.

Concludes Edward Moss:

“Since being installed the three DNM 4500 machines have been working flat out.

“Our investment in Doosan machine tools from Mills CNC is having a positive impact on our productivity, performance and profitability.

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