Investment in Matsuura secures future growth for Bowmill Group

Supplying predominantly to the aerospace industry, the Bowmill Group is a long-established precision engineering business employing 180 staff from four UK facilities.

The company’s range of services includes both volume and complex manufacturing disciplines including machining, assembly and test, grinding and material surface processing. Three years on from its initial investment in Matsuura automation, the business has gone from strength to strength.

Bowmill’s journey with Matsuura started in 2019 after securing a prime contract that required a highly accurate but flexible machine. As part of a thorough evaluation process, MX-330 PC10 from Matsuura was reviewed - a machine that offers full 5-axis capability and probing, which is critical for Bowmill’s required positional tolerances of 3-4µm.

The machine also had the benefit of 10 pallets so it could run several component variations through the same machine utilising unmanned/lights out operations, which provided a measurable competitive advantage from conventional methods and standard single table machines. Having seen the machine in real-time automotive operation and after rigorous evaluation, Bowmill chose to invest in this machine for its main site in Poole, Dorset.

After six months of running the machine, improving cycle times and implementing flexible manufacturing sequencing on not only new components but also existing parts, Bowmill decided to purchase a second Matsuura MX-330 PC10 for its site in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire in March 2020.

The MX-330 PC10 is configured with 10 pallets and 90 tools, offering Bowmill assured and reliably unmanned 5 axis production, a route to growth and returning real value to its customers with efficiencies and productivity gained from this investment.

Some months later, the company needed a larger 5-axis machine (500mm cube) for the Tewkesbury site and due to increasing customer demand once again looked to Matsuura to invest.

Following the success of the first two MX-330 PC10s, Bowmill decided to purchase a Matsuura MX-520; adding Bowmill’s innovative production models to the process allowed further logistical flexibility by moving components from one machine to another using existing programs without incurring downtime.

Nick Epps, managing director of Bowmill Engineering comments: “Despite the global situation, investing in the MX-330 PC10 and MX-520 has been key to the future success of our business.

“The machines offer great flexibility, precision accuracy and reliability you would expect from Matsuura which allows us to remain globally competitive and responsive to increasing customer demand and expectations.

“We have already seen significant improvement to cycle-times and OEE data on numerous components. This has been equally supported by the service and technical support we have received from the Matsuura team which has been exceptional. We’re extremely pleased with our investments.”

Simon Higgs, South West area sales manager at Matsuura Machinery adds: “It’s great to see businesses like Bowmill Group investing in Matsuura automation and futureproofing their business. Matsuura’s automation delivers on its promises; running profitably unmanned at night and weekends, whilst reducing operator dependency and the associated labour costs. We believe automation is essential for UK companies to compete and thrive in today’s market.”

Matsuura Machinery www.matsuura.co.uk

Bowmill Group https://bowmill.co.uk

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Bowmill Engineering [**]

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