Longstanding relationship continues between JC Engineering Products and Ellesco
The two latest generation Timesavers machines installed at JC Engineering Products are enhancing quality and productivity, while eliminating a need for manual deburring
Having purchased its first Grindingmaster deburring and graining machine from Ellesco almost 40 years ago, JC Engineering Products can genuinely claim to be a longstanding customer. Fast forward to 2020 and the company, as part of a large investment programme, has just taken delivery of two latest generation Timesavers machines. To ease the purchase, the original machine, along with another 30-year old Grindingmaster, both of which were operating daily, were used in part exchange.
The investment at JC Engineering Products is part of the company’s ongoing development strategy, which has benefited from a mix of organic growth and acquisition. Serving a range of industries, including retail, aerospace and electronics, the Reading-based business witnessed an upturn at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, with business levelling off in recent weeks. “Covid had a limited impact on business as we initially saw an upturn with customers ordering for stock and while certain sectors that we supply, such as aerospace, dropped off dramatically, our spread of customers enabled us to continue to develop the business,” says Ashley Churchill, Director, JC Engineering Products.
The two new Timesavers machines, a 22 Series (22-900-W) machine for graining sheet material, along with a larger 32 Series (32-1100-WRb) that is capable of graining, deburring and radiussing thanks to the addition of rotating brushes. The latter was also equipped with a Climavent LW22P/5.5 kW extraction system. These new machines will be running 8-9 hours/day, typically six days/week and the reliability of Timesavers and the support available has been central to JC Engineering Products’ relationship with Ellesco. “The service we receive from Ellesco is pivotal in our relationship. Machines will run perfectly for 99 percent of the time, it is the one percent where you need to know that you can rely on a supplier and manufacturer,” says Ashley Churchill. A prime example of this support was when the initial inquiry was made. “We visited Ellesco and took with us a selection of the most difficult components we could think of. Nigel, our machine operator was expecting Ellesco to struggle with some of them, but nothing posed a problem for them.”
JC Engineering Products focuses its attention on producing fine limit, high-quality and accurate parts, along with the capability to meet customer needs in terms of lead times. The latter is part of the reason for buying two Timesavers at this time. The smaller of the two machines can handle deburring, while bringing in the larger 32 Series machine means that 2 m x 1 m sheet can now be processed, with the added advantage of deburring as well as graining.
“The technology in the new Timesavers also eliminates some of the black art of graining and deburring, eliminating the manual skills we used to rely on.”
Since the arrival of the 32 Series, Nigel confirms that he has not had to manually deburr a single part: “Another advantage is that the 32 Series machine can deburr laser cut pieces with the protective plastic coating still in place. This means that after processing through the Timesavers machine, we can then bend the parts and the coating prevents any bend marks appearing on the part. We are also seeing significant time savings thanks to the ease of use and consistency of the Timesavers machines,” says Ashley Churchill.
JC Engineering will now dedicate two operators to these machines, father and son team Nigel and James. Nigel has experience of the old machines and now Ellesco has provided training on the new product. With the two machines located next to each other, Nigel is passing on his knowledge to his son. “We always want a Plan B,” says Ashley Churchill. “So, having two operators capable of setting and running both machines gives us security of production.”
Other advantages that soon became apparent with the move to the latest technology included the working environment both external and internal of the machine. The Climavent 5.5 kW extractor fitted to the 32 Series, Timesavers is highly efficient at keeping the working area clean and free of dust. Internally, the new 32-Series machine has a self-cleaning capability and after a set amount of running will automatically go into a cleaning mode. This eliminates most manual intervention and ensures the machines are functioning at their optimum performance. The increased use of electronics and a reduced reliance on compressed air has also assisted the environment by reducing noise and energy costs.
Cooney South invests in Timesavers to address changing customer needs
Founded in 2017 following a merger of the metal fabrication department of Sunseeker and Cooney Marine, Poole-based Cooney South has seen significant growth in its business supplying high-end superyacht manufacturers in the UK with precision stainless steel and aluminium components. This has been achieved through investment in machinery and people, with its latest purchase, a Timesavers 22 WW Series dry finishing and deburring machine, providing a solution to two challenges being faced by the company.
The first of these challenges was a drop in quality of the polished stainless and aluminium sheet material being supplied to Cooney South. “With the quality of raw material falling off the result was that when after laser cutting, we were having to scrap components due to the finish not meeting customer expectations,” says managing director James Cooney. “At the same time, we were under pressure to take quality to the next level, in terms of polished finish, by our customers in the superyacht sector.”
This led to an increase in hand polishing of components and delays.To overcome this, it was recognised that some automation was required. As its sister company Cooney Marine was already operating a Timesavers machine at its Kettering facility, the initial plan was to transfer work between the two locations. However, after further discussion the decision was taken to invest in a second machine, leading to evaluation of what exactly was required with input from Cooney South management, shopfloor staff and the expertise of Ellesco.
“The Timesavers machine at Cooney Marine was a single head variant and, as we wanted to increase throughput, we initially looked at buying a three-head version of the Timesavers 22 Series,” says Chris Sleet, production manager at Cooney South Ltd. “When we visited Ellesco to carry out trials on our own components, we were drawn to the two-head machine and, after experimenting with a variety of belts with different grit sizes, we discovered that the twin-head machine was more than twice as productive as the single-head at Kettering. It was also much less expensive than the three-head variant, so would save a considerable amount of money. Not only that, but with the twin-head being in stock could be delivered quickly to meet an urgent order.
“Ellesco came up trumps and the support we received from them was excellent, from initial training and fine tuning for our applications, through to installation, commissioning and follow up support. When it came to dust extraction, we had planned to use our existing supplier, but they couldn’t meet the pressing deadline. Ellesco recommended Climavent, a supplier that it has recently started to work with and the support of Climavent sealed the deal for us as they designed, manufactured and installed the extraction system within three weeks, which was vital to us getting the Timesavers machine up and running to meet this pressing order. I would say it was the slickest installation we have had, both here and at Cooney Marine.”
The arrival of the Timesavers 22 Series at Cooney South enabled the company to meet the uplift in quality requested by its customers, 99 per cent of which are in the high-end marine sector, with products including many of the visual elements on superyachts, many of which require a mirror finish. The two-head machine installed at Cooney South by Ellesco has a 900 mm wide table, which feeds parts past two abrasive belts, each of which can be fitted with differing grit sizes to meet the specific finish requirements of individual components. The result is that quality and consistency of the sheet coming off the Timesavers machine minimises the need for hand polishing. Furthermore, the speed of processing components is more than double the capability of the single-head machine installed at Cooney Marine and, as a result of this additional capability and capacity, Cooney South is opening up new opportunities to expand the business outside of its traditional customer base, with architectural clients coming on board.
“Apart from the initial requirement to meet a customer order, the main driver for this investment and others that we have made and continue to make is to target growth and our willingness to invest is what customers want to see,” says James Cooney. “The combined resources of Cooney South and Cooney Marine mean we can take flat plate from raw material, through laser cutting to mirror finish to superyacht standards, effectively under one roof. We have positioned ourselves, through investment in people and equipment to become one of, if not, the biggest suppliers of fabrication and polished products in Europe, in the sector we operate in.”
Ellesco improves productivity and quality for made-to-order bedmaker
The Timesavers 22 Series dry finishing and deburring machine installed at The Wrought Iron and Brass Bed Company has drastically reduced processing times on bed frame production (bespoke bed shown and has opened up opportunities for other types of work
Manufacturing a range of standard and bespoke beds is a labour-intensive process that includes welding, fabrication, assembly, painting and coating. All of this is undertaken in-house at the Wrought Iron and Brass Bed company, whose manufacturing facility is located in Wolferton on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. However, increased demand put pressure on production and the need to automate certain processes became inevitable. Technical director, Jack Thompson turned to Ellesco for a solution.
The Wrought Iron and Brass Bed company is a family-owned business that has been trading since 2003, in that time it has developed a range of standard bed frames that can be supplied ‘as is’ or customised to suit individual requirements, who are not only human as a range of dog beds are also available. Success in selling to individuals and leading high street retailers saw business boom and Jack, who was previously a development engineer with a major pharmaceutical packaging company joined his parents and brother in the business to oversee manufacturing of standard and bespoke products. These projects include one to supply 12 super king-sized beds for a private residence in London as well as a one-off canopy bed for a famous playwright. With these successes and as part of a long-term development plan, manufacturing was concentrated under one roof three years ago and the focus turned to streamlining production.
All Wrought Iron and Brass Bed Company’s products are made to order, so production is a mix of parts with relatively low volumes, with control of the process from order to delivery of the finished product undertaken in-house. Part of that process includes deburring of individual component parts for each bed and, where required creating a brush finish prior to coating for specific parts. This was a process that was undertaken manually and would take a full week to fully prepare a complete set of components by hand. The installation of a Timesavers 22 series dry finishing and deburring machine by Ellesco has reduced the time required to a single day.
“The Timesavers machine has given us major time savings on what was an extremely labour-intensive process. We have freed up people to work on other things,” says Jack Thompson. “As we develop the business, the Timesavers machine will also be a great asset in deburring flat sheet products.”
The Timesavers 22 Series is a versatile machine that can be supplied in three widths: 900 mm, 1,050 mm and 1,280 mm and can be equipped with a wide abrasive belt for removing heavy burrs or a ScotchBrite belt for a brushed finish, as is the case at The Wrought Iron and Brass Bed Company. As well as a belt, it can be equipped with a rotary brush head for deburring punched parts, removing the secondary burrs and edge rounding. Depending on the finish required it is a quick process to change over the abrasive belts on the Timesavers 22 Series and one that The Wrought Iron and Brass Bed company makes full use of, utilising belts with grit sizes ranging from 80 to 400, depending on what material or style of finish is being processed. Another feature of this particular installation is that Timesavers reversed the machine to make it effectively left-handed. This was required as the plan is to integrate the 22 Series machine into a flow line that will eventually include a waterjet machine.
While bed manufacture remains central to the company’s development, the increased efficiency and capacity created by the addition of the Timesavers machine is allowing expansion into other areas, with gazebos and garden sculptures now available.
“The plan is to have a standard range of these products, made from section material or flat sheet, but we have the flexibility and capability to design and manufacture to offer a bespoke service. The Timesavers machine will be a big advantage here as we can process flat sheet quickly, creating a brushed finish and round off corners on all edges. This corner rounding is vital both in terms of health and safety for customers, but also a precise corner is essential in the coating process to ensure good adherence to the material,” says Jack Thompson.