Editor’s comment for May 2021

I guess every item of equipment used in a manufacturing process could be loosely termed a consumable.

Even machine tools have a shelf-life although the duration varies wildly. Some companies have investment programs that ensure they have the latest, all-singing, all-dancing equipment every couple of years or so. Others will try to extract every last drop of useful life out of a machine until it eventually gives up the ghost.

Machine tools, properly looked after and maintained can last 20 years. Keeping them that long from a technological standpoint is questionable, but at the end of the day, they are technically still consumables.

Cutting tool manufacturers get a bit of a rough deal here. They manufacture products that are frequently discarded once they wear, yet there’s a ton of science, research, experience and engineering know-how that goes into their design and manufacture. Innovative geometries, materials and coatings don’t invent themselves you know – and there’s so much competition as tooling companies strive to help customers maximise cycle times and minimise tool wear.

Cutting to the chase (no pun intended), tooling is just something that manufacturing companies can’t live without so ensuring a consistent supply is an absolute no brainer to keep machine downtime to a minimum.

Key to this cause is working with good suppliers and here there’s a top level choice. You may prefer to deal directly with the cutting tool manufacturer, which is fine, or you may opt to enlist the help of a tooling distributor to ensure continuity of supply. Of course a combination of the two is another option.

An experienced tooling distributor can be a real ally in keeping the wheels of productivity turning in your manufacturing facility. Their main function in life after all is to sit between the tooling manufacturer and the end user. Typically they carry vast inventories of stock and can supply next day. Distributors are all about service and impartiality – generally they’re not allied to one brand. Those worth their salt have access to a wealth of manufacturers so they can always supply the best product for the job.

One of the biggest and most established in the industry is Cromwell Tools. They have close relationships with practically all the main tooling suppliers and offer access to more than 230,000 cutting tool products. Their main warehouse in Leicester occupies 300,000ft² of real estate, but although Cromwell is a £230 million turnover business, it prides itself on providing a local service with 41 branches scattered around the country.

You may have guessed by now that Cromwell Tools is the focus of our cover story this month. Take a look here.

Company

PES Media

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