Every year Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of Doosan Machine Tools in the UK and Ireland, supplies class-leading CNC machine tools to Colleges and Universities.

With the broadest range of high-performance, competitively-priced Lynx and Puma lathes, DNM machining centres and multi-axis machines (i.e. SMX mill-turn and 5-axis machines) on the market…it’s not hard to see why.

But, it’s more than our machine tool portfolio that make us the first choice for Colleges and Universities – it’s our after-sales services too. Widely recognised as being the best in the business, these services include:

  • Machine tool finance
  • CNC Operator and Programmer Training (via the CNC Training Academy)
  • Technical support
  • Machine tool servicing
  • Wear and replacement parts
  • Accessories and consumables

To find out more about these services, and our machine tool range check out the relevant sections and pages on our website.

Tameside College does homework prior to making significant CNC machine tool investment!

Tameside 1Tameside College in Greater Manchester has recently invested in six new high-performance Doosan machine tools from Mills CNC.

The machines – three DNM 400 II vertical machining centres (one equipped with a 4th-/5th-axis unit), two Lynx 220 lathes and one Lynx 220LM lathe (equipped with C-axis and driven tooling capabilities) – were installed at the College’s brand new and impressive engineering facility in the Summer of 2016, ready for the start (in September) of the new Academic year.

The new Doosan CNC machine tool investment is significant and has dramatically improved Tameside College’s ability to deliver a range of industry-relevant and high skill level courses to its key target audiences comprising school leavers (16-18), adults and local/regional engineering and manufacturing companies.

Prior to acquiring the Doosan machines the College’s CNC machine tool provision relied almost entirely on four old, and not particularly sophisticated, entry-level type machines that, according to Peter Redfern, Tameside College’s Curriculum Leader for Engineering, “had been good servants but had seen better days”.

Although the machines were delivered and installed during July and August 2016, Tameside College’s machine tool procurement process started much earlier than that… back in 2014.

It was the intention that the process would be completed, and that the machines would be delivered and installed, to coincide with the completion of the new Engineering Faculty – the building works of which had begun earlier in 2014.

The process

Tameside College adopted a typically clear strategic approach regarding both the selection of specific machine tool models and choice of machine tool supplier.

From the outset, a number of options were discounted.

Explains Peter Redfern:

“Some colleges in our position may have explored the ‘used’ machine tool route…but this wasn’t for us.

“To elevate the profile of the College and promote its engineering capabilities and capacity to key target audiences, the decision was made to go for new machines.

“Although used machines can initially appear attractive (certainly in terms of their cost), there are often issues concerning their provenance, as well as potential minefields regarding warranties, parts and servicing. further down the line.”

Other key decisions addressed early on was the number, size (i.e. footprint) and ‘technology type’ of the machine tools required.

Comments Ged Willis, Mechanical Engineering Lecturer at Tameside College:

“To facilitate positive learning outcomes and ensure that our students had the opportunity to access the new technology we decided on six compact and ‘relatively small’ work envelope machines comprising three lathes and three vertical machining centres to complement our suite of manual (lathes and milling) machines.”

To ensure longevity and future proof their machine tool investment, Tameside College was also keen to explore the potential of acquiring ‘multi-tasking’ and multi-functional machines.

Desk Research and Field Research

As well as undertaking comprehensive online ‘desk’ research on different machine tool makes and models to supplement their own knowledge, College staff approached local engineering companies to help narrow down their choice.

Explains Peter Redfern:

“We did our homework because we wanted to know what machines were being used by industry in production-led environments and which machines delivered the best performance and reliability, and represented the best value.

“It was also critical, and we needed the reassurance, that our students would be able to acquire relevant, required and transferable skills using machines that were recognised by manufacturers.

“Overwhelmingly the response from the companies approached favoured Doosan machines supplied by Mills CNC.”

tameside-2As part of the decision-making process College representatives met with Mills CNC staff. Time was also taken to visit the 2014 MACH Exhibition in Birmingham where Mills CNC was exhibiting from the largest stand at the Show.

“We liked the Doosan machines and Mills CNC’s positive and proactive approach”, says Ged Willis.

With Mills CNC on Tameside College’s Capital Equipment Tender shortlist, the machine tool suppliers were, over the next few weeks and months, whittled down. The end result being that Mills CNC was awarded the contract to supply six machines (all with advanced Fanuc CNC controls), scoring top marks for its technology provision, after-sales services and support, and for providing best value.

Use and application

The new Doosan machines are being used by Tameside College’s full-time and part-time engineering students. The College offers a range of full and part time courses including:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Engineering Technology, Level 3 Diploma Mechanical Engineering (City & Guilds) and BTEC Level 3 Diplomas, all aimed at 16 – 18 year olds;
  • HNC and HND in Mechanical Engineering…both potentially leading to a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Tameside College also works closely with local engineering companies and provides a range of Apprenticeship Programmes, including CNC Machining, to meet the requirements of local employers and industries.

Says Ged Willis:

“We are integrating the use and application of our new Doosan machines across all our engineering courses and are actively promoting our revamped provision to employers. “We are now even better prepared to provide their employees and apprentices with high-quality, relevant and practical skills-based learning and nationally recognised qualifications…and are most definitely ‘open for business’.”

You’re in Control!

Mills CNC, through its CNC Training Academy and new ‘Control Centre’ facility is geared up to help College and University teaching staff understand and exploit the full potential of Fanuc, Heidenhain and Siemens CNC Control systems on their institutions’ machine tools.

Control Centre

Control centre logo AWLocated within its Showroom and Machining Demonstration area in Leamington, the new, modern and purpose-built ‘Control Centre’ is the place where College and University staff can, using the latest interactive touch screen technology, learn more about the different CNC Control Systems, including integrated conversational programming software, and put this newly-gained knowledge to good effect when teaching their students.

CNC Training Academy

TA CNC logo NEWThe Control Centre is another example of Mills CNC thinking outside the box, and complements the company’s CNC Training Academy which was established in 2010, and is now recognised as the Number One CNC Training Organisation for manufacturers. Offering a comprehensive range of Fanuc, Heidenhain and Siemens CNC courses (from basic through to advanced) for operators and programmers, the CNC Training Academy has state-of-the-art training facilities (i.e. powerful and sophisticated touch screen CNC simulators) and dedicated CNC machine tools where course attendees can test out their newly acquired skills.

To find out more about how we work with educational institutions – please call us on 01926 736736.

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