Leading precision motorsport subcontractor invests in its first Doosan multi-tasking turning centre.

Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of Doosan machine tools in the UK and Ireland, has recently supplied market-leading motorsport precision subcontract specialist – Goodman Precision Engineering Ltd., with a new, multi-tasking Doosan turning centre.

The machine, a compact 6” chuck Lynx 2100LY lathe equipped with roller LM guideways, a 15kW/6,000rpm   spindle, a servo-driven turret (12/24 position) and the latest Fanuc control and 15” touchscreen iHMI and supplied with integrated Y-axis (+/- 52.5mm) and driven tooling (3.7kW/6,000rpm) capabilities, was installed at the company’s modern Milton Keynes’ manufacturing facility in January 2022.

Since being installed the Lynx has been used to machine complex, high precision parts, primarily for a range of motorsport customers that includes many F1 Teams and Tier One suppliers, as well as machining components for automotive customers involved, for example, in re-imagining ‘Classic Cars’ for the electric era.

The Lynx 2100LY is the first Doosan machine to be acquired by the company and both highlights and is indicative of a relatively new business strategy implemented by Goodman Precision Engineering over the last three years – namely to significantly grow and strengthen its in-house turning capacity and capabilities.

About Goodman Precision Engineering (GPE)

Since being established Goodman Precision Engineering (GPE) has grown and strengthened its position in the motorsport supply chain and developed close, long-term relationships with many motorsport companies.

In addition to supplying customers with ‘right first time’ high-quality components made from a range of materials that includes steel, aluminium alloys, Stainless Steels, titanium, nylon, rubber, ceramics and plastics (including glass-fibre reinforced PEEK), the company has a well-deserved reputation for machining high accuracy parts (from powertrain and manifold components to parts for cylinder heads and air jacks etc.), with impressive surface finishes.

“Machining components to exacting tolerances and superior surface finishes (i.e., Ra. 0.4µm) from solid or castings is our forte,” says GPE Director, Stephen Reynolds.

GPE currently employs 32 members of staff and, to address skills shortage issues, operates an in-house Apprenticeship Programme.

The company has 14 CNC machines (all DNC linked) at its disposal…regularly invests in new technology…and specialises in the machining of prototypes and one-offs through to small batch series.

Says Stephen Reynolds:

“We are milling-led company and (as such) regularly invest in advanced 3- and 5-axis machining centres to increase our productivity, improve our performance and win new business in the ultra-competitive motorsport sector.

“Whilst milling still remains the company’s primary focus, we recently made the strategic decision to augment our machining capabilities to include turning, and to provide this as an in-house specialism to existing and new customers.”

In essence this has seen GPE, in recent years, invest in new advanced ‘turning’ technologies. The acquisition of the Lynx 2100LY is the latest evidence of the strategy in action.

Developing in-house turning capabilities: the catalyst

GPE is a company committed to continuous improvement and, as a consequence, regularly monitors and evaluates its performance.

Part and parcel of its improvement programme is to identify emerging (industry and market) trends and capitalise on new, viable business opportunities where and when they arise.

Back in 2019, the company made the decision, partly to offset the seasonal ‘feast or famine’ dynamic of working in F1, to expand the scope and scale of its machining operations and services by creating an in-house turning resource.

Up until that point GPE was focused, almost exclusively, on providing high-quality milling services to its motorsport customers, and supplementing them with a range of secondary finishing services (i.e., anodising, coating, painting etc.), subcontracted-out to its preferred suppliers.

Says Stephen Reynolds:

“We knew, from experience and via our contacts, that significant organic growth and new business opportunities existed in the motorsport sector if we could offer both existing and new customers a high-quality turning service.”

This focus on growth resulted in GPE acquiring its first lathe in 2019 as well as recruiting an experienced turner to operate it.

Things were progressing as planned – then Covid-19 happened!

The impact and effects of the pandemic

GPE’s strategy to develop its turning capabilities accelerated rapidly with the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.

Explains Stephen Reynolds:

“The pandemic caused significant disruption to motorsport across the world with events and competitions being cancelled and postponed throughout 2020…and during 2021 for that matter.

“The turmoil created by the pandemic, within our core markets and throughout our customer base, was a real watershed for us and resulted in us forensically reevaluating the business and making strategic decisions about the company’s future direction.”

It was against this backdrop of uncertainty that GPE determined that its previous decision to invest and strengthen its recently introduced in-house turning resource would be given extra impetus in order to:

  1. secure even more work for machining high-precision turned parts from existing, and new, motorsport customers;
  2. lessen its overall dependence on the motorsport sector (in general) by offering proven, high-quality and integrated machining services to customers and companies in different sectors and industries.

Continues Stephen Reynolds:

“In short, we decided, from both a survival and growth perspective, to provide existing customers with new (turning) services, as well as diversifying into completely new markets.”

One step at a time: The Plan

Having made the decision to augment its machining operations, the trick for GPE was to get its relatively embryonic turning operation up to the same level and standard as its milling operation – and to do this as quickly as possible.

Explains Stephen Reynolds:

“We created and are implementing a strategic plan to help us develop and grow the turning side of the business.”

Critical elements of this plan are focused on future capital equipment investments and include the following imperatives:

a) Investment in multi-tasking machines

In order to help reduce job set-up and part cycle times and, as a consequence, make GPE more competitive and better able to meet tight delivery schedules – the company is committed to investing in advanced multi-tasking turning centres.

Says Stephen Reynolds:

“Multi-axis and multi-tasking lathes with, for example, Y-axes and driven tools help us machine complex, high-precision parts in one-hit and make us more efficient.

“Multi-tasking machines help us with production scheduling, always an issue with motorsport customers who often expect part alterations and iterations to be machined and delivered in next to no time.”

b) Investment in machines with compact footprints

With space in the machine shop always at a premium, there is a definite need and emphasis on investing in turning centres with a compact footprint.

The Lynx 2100LY investment

The new Lynx 2100LY multi-tasking turning centre was delivered and installed at GPE’s machine shop facility in January 2022.

Explains Stephen Reynolds:

“The machine ticks all the right boxes: it is an advanced multi-tasking machine with a compact footprint.”

In addition, the Lynx 2100LY also had many more strings to its bow.

Continues Stephen Reynolds:

“Lynx lathes and turning centres are proven and popular. They are reliable, versatile and represent great value. The fact that they are backed by Mills CNC’s after-sales services and technical support only adds to their appeal.”

Since being installed the new Lynx hasn’t missed a beat…it is operating for 16 hours a day… and its ability to machine parts to completion in one set-up means it is more than paying for itself.

As well as being used to machine parts for motorsport customers, the machine has also machined a range of components for the company’s ‘diversified’ customers operating in the aerospace, defence and rail sectors – to name but a few.

Summary

Concludes Stephen Reynolds:

“We have a strong reputation in the market, and with customers, for our ability to machine high-precision, complex parts in low volumes and deliver them within budget and on time…every time.”

“The investment in the Lynx 2100LY has helped us strengthen our position with existing and new customers requiring exceptional, competitively-priced small turned parts.

“We are delighted with the investment.”

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