Milestones achieved and landmarks reached

Doosan Puma SMX2100ST Multifunction Mill-Turn Centre

Mills CNC achieves best sales results in its 50-year history and explains how it was done.

Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of DN Solutions’ and Zayer machine tools in the UK and Ireland, and a leading supplier of advanced automation systems to component manufacturers, has had a great 2023.

The company, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, announced that combined sales revenues from all of its operations over the last 12 months, surpassed £78M for the first time in its history.

“It’s a fantastic achievement, and demonstrates that demand for our advanced machine tool technologies and market-leading automation systems, backed by our best-in-class after-sales service and support, shows no sign of abating.”

Tony Dale, CEO of Mills CNC

Mills’ strong sales performance in 2023 can be explained, in part, by the depth and breadth of its DN Solutions’ machine tool range which, always evolving and improving, saw the introduction of a number of new series and models over the year. 

DVF 5000 simultaneous 5-axis machining centre with open door

The launch of the new DNT series of 8” – 10” chuck lathes that included models with Y-axes, sub-spindles and driven tooling capabilities, was a case in point as was the introduction of the new DVF 4000, the company’s latest addition to its highly-successful (DVF-range) of simultaneous 5-axis machining centres.

Whilst these new models undoubtedly played their part in helping Mills achieve such “outstanding sales results”, it was the continuing high demand for specific machines in the company’s best-selling Lynx and Puma lathe series, its popular and proven DNM vertical machining centre ranges, and its advanced TT and SMX multi-tasking mill-turn machines, that had the biggest impact on sales.

“Component manufacturers looking to improve their productivity and process efficiencies, as well as addressing their own internal skills shortages, invested in tried, tested and trusted DN Solutions’ machine tools last year. 

“These included existing customers looking to either increase or upgrade their machining capacity and capabilities, as well as new customers investing in our machine tool technologies for the first time.

“The recent trend of customers acquiring multi-axis and multi-tasking machine tools was once again evident, with sales of our DVF 5000 simultaneous 5-axis machining centres and our SMX mill-turn machines being worthy of special mention.”

Tony Dale, CEO of Mills CNC

The increase in economic activity in Industries and sectors severely impacted by the pandemic, i.e., oil and gas, power generation and automotive (including EV), also helped drive sales of large-capacity DN Solutions’ machines tools with big and powerful Puma lathes, NHP and NHM horizontal machining centres and DBC horizontal borers all witnessing an increase in demand.

To increase Mills’ share of the large machine tool market the company signed a distributer agreement with Zayer Machine Tools at the tail-end of 2022 and, from January 2023, began to sell the latter’s range of CNC horizontal bed mills and travelling-column and gantry-type milling machines to UK and Irish component and mould tool manufacturers.

“Interest in and enquiries for Zayer machines grew throughout the year. 

“However, these large machine tool acquisitions, often part of complex and involved turnkey solutions, do take time to finalise and complete. 

“Significant pre-sales ‘spadework’ with many customers looking to invest in Zayer machines has already been undertaken this year, and we are confident that this will result in a number of sales ‘dropping’ in 2024.”

Tony Dale, CEO of Mills CNC

Mills also, significantly, grew its automation business during 2023 with sales of its SYNERGi automated manufacturing cells hitting new heights during the year.

Mills offers two main, modular SYNERGi automation systems (SYNERGi Premier and SYNERGi Sprint), which can be further customised to meet and match customer requirements.

Synergi automated CNC machine

These SYNERGi systems, comprising industrial robots, innovative work loading/unloading stations, requisite caging and fencing, laser floor scanning technology and easy-to-use HMIs etc., are driven by (Mills’) proprietary SYNERGi software, and can be integrated with one (or more) DN Solutions’ lathes and turning centres, machining centres and/or mill-turn machines.

“SYNERGi systems have rapidly become a flexible automation cell solution of choice for manufacturers across the UK and Ireland.

“They are helping customers do more with, and get more from, their machine tools enabling their machines’ true productivity potential, achieved through unattended and lights-out operations, to be realised.”

Tony Dale, CEO of Mills CNC

To support the increase in machine tool and automation system sales in 2023, Mills strengthened its after-sales operations throughout the year. 

More service and applications engineers were recruited and joined Mills’ ranks to ensure that the installation of new machines and that planned service interventions and visits went ahead as agreed and planned.

Other investments and developments at Mills’ Technology Campus in Leamington also took place in 2023, including a major expansion of the company’s CNC Training Academy. Due to be completed in January 2024, the revamped Academy will have more training classrooms and dedicated (DN Solutions’) machine tools at its disposal.

“2023 was a real watershed for the company.

“We introduced new models into the market. We began selling Zayer machines to UK and Irish customers. And our automation and turnkey solutions’ business went from strength to strength.

“These, combined with higher demand for our more established DN Solutions’ machine tools, resulted in us achieving our best sales performance in our 50-year history and I would like to thank all our customers for their continued support this year. 

“A big ‘shout out’ also goes to our incredible team because, without them, we simply couldn’t have achieved such ground-breaking results.”

Tony Dale, CEO of Mills CNC

To continue its strong sales trajectory into 2024 and beyond, Mills has a number of plans already in place. 

The company is exhibiting at the Southern Manufacturing Show in February where, amongst the highlights, it will unveil a new DVF 4000 simultaneous 5-axis machine to visitors, and at MACH 2024, in April, a total of 16 machines (including two automation cells) will be showcased from, what will be, the largest stand at the event.