In 2019, Midas Pattern Company decided to reduce its carbon footprint to deliver sustainability goals and lessen its climate impact.
Within a year, the Bedfordshire-based business had attained process carbon neutrality and celebrated achieving Net-Zero at the start of 2021. Financed independently, Midas introduced a myriad of green methods as part of the #MidasGreenInitiative, including a farm of 650 solar panels which powers the plant, 100% LED lighting and a compressor system which uses 30% less energy.
On top of this, all packaging is shredded and recycled, single-use plastics are banned and no waste goes to landfill. “There’s been a lot of hard work and investment in the last two years, but it’s certainly been worth it,” says managing director Alan Rance.
Part of this initiative means updating and investing in the most efficient equipment possible. Following the purchase of a colossal Haas VF-11 in 2021, Midas has just taken charge of brand-new VF-9 and VF-4SS vertical machining centres.
“The VF-9 and VF-4SS have slotted straight in. They perform just as well as the larger machine, and they’re a known quantity for rapid reliability and capacity,” Mr Rance says.
“This level of investment gives both our existing and new customers more confidence when placing orders with us. They see we own the right equipment for the job and feel reassured by what we can offer. We have a long-term vision for ourselves and our clients.”
He continues: “The new Haas machines have vastly increased our capacity, our versatility and improved our turnaround. We can now machine much larger jobs in one hit, so we’re not spending time setting up multiple parts. It’s a much more efficient way of working.”
Midas Pattern’s new Haas VMCs share many energy-saving features, including an ‘Auto Power-Off’ setting that turns the machine off after a specified number of minutes idle. ‘Power-Off at M30’ sets the control to start a 30-second timer that will turn off all power unless interrupted. Sleep Mode puts the machine into a low-power mode for a programmed length of time.
In addition to a screensaver, the ‘LCD Backlight Off’ setting blanks the LCD after a specified idle time. A ‘Conveyor Off’ setting automatically turns off the chip conveyor as desired. The ‘Servos and Hydraulics Off’ setting automatically turns off the servos and hydraulic pump after a programmed period.
Midas has enhanced its latest purchases with high-speed machining for greater efficiency in cornering, and the VF-4SS features a super-speed 12,000rpm spindle. The VF-11 and VF-9 have ample room for large parts with an envelope of 3,048 x 1,016 x 762mm and 2,134 x 1,016 x 762mm (XYZ) respectively. All three are equipped with a 30+1 side-mount tool changer.
Mr Rance comments: “The side-mount tool changer is great as it keeps the tools outside the machine. This may not seem like a big deal, but the toolholder and spindle tapers stay clean, leading to less wear and tear.”
Midas Pattern Company was founded by Alan Rance more than 30 years ago manufacturing precision pattern equipment for local foundries. Since then, the site and the business has grown in stature and in capabilities. Midas now commands over 30,000ft² and has diversified into a world-class precision polyurethane moulding company supplying a wide range of industries such as medical, medtech devices and scientific instrumentation.
“Many of our customers have seen increased requirements during the global pandemic, particularly in investigation and testing in the medical and MedTech sector,” Mr Rance explains. “As other industries have naturally seen a quieter period, we have been able to react quickly to the change in volume of work for those who really need it. That has been very satisfying.”
Midas has been a Haas customer for 25 years with its first investment being a VF-3 back in 1997. “Haas has a reputation for providing reliable, accurate machines,” Mr Rance says. The first machine and the support we got from Haas gave us the confidence to come back time and time again.”
Midas’ technical team work closely with clients, creating polyurethane RIM tooling for bespoke designs, which are ordered in low volume and are then repeated over decades. One such project was to produce a set of five mouldings for an electronically controlled dive unit capable of supporting long-endurance and depth capability for some of the best dive units in the world.
It was essential that parts produced could withstand extreme temperatures and all weathers, including salt water. High levels of accuracy were paramount for safety and functionality.
Mr Rance chose to part exchange one of the company’s older machines with his latest deal. This machine will now be brought back to Haas’ newest facility in Norfolk, where it will undergo a full service, alignment checks and testing before being resold.
“We found both the purchase and the part exchange processes very simple,” Mr Rance affirms. “The availability was quick and we know we’re always getting value for money. Haas equipment is a known machining solution.”
Midas Pattern Company