Gas spring manufacturer explains its machine tool set-up


Since 1984, Metrol has been designing and manufacturing gas springs predominantly for the automotive industry for customers such as JLR who incorporate the springs into their own press tools.

The company, based in Northampton, has its own catalogue of parts and impressively manufactures all its own products. Since its formation, the business has grown significantly, diversifying into two strategic divisions – Metrol Tooling and Metrol Motion Control.

Company director Paul Hynes’ association with Metrol began 27 years ago as an apprentice: “In those days our machining capability comprised two lathes, a Bridgeport mill and a pillar drill,” he recalls. “Today we have a well-equipped, modern production facility – but that’s only part of the story. We pride ourselves not only on manufacturing world-class products, but also offering an exemplary aftersales and support service as well.”

In terms of preferred suppliers, Metrol has been working with Spanish turning centre manufacturer CMZ since 2013 as Mr Hynes explains: “As a machine tool partner, CMZ has played a key role in our progression and success. Ethically they share the same values as us – excellent products backed by sterling service and support.

“We’ve been using CNC machines since 1994 but in those days, our operations – loading and unloading our turning centres for example – were predominantly manual and labour-intensive. As we’ve evolved, progressed and expanded globally, we’ve had to become more efficient and competitive, and that’s manifested through integrating more automation into our processes. On the turning side, CMZ has been integral to that transition.

“We were first introduced to CMZ through a supplier back in 2013 and the timing couldn’t have been better as it coincided with a need to eliminate manual feeding of our turning centres towards a more automated approach.”

He continues: “We bought our first CMZ lathe, a TC20, and then a TC30, both spec’d with gantry loaders. Like all CMZ products, they’ve been solid, robust and reliable. Once set-up and running they produce consistently high quality parts time after time. They also offer unmanned lights out capabilities which is a massive benefit to us. The bottom line is in a competitive world, we have to make parts faster and our CMZ machines help us to achieve that objective.”


Metrol’s latest acquisition from CMZ is a TX66 Y2 Quattro twin spindle, twin turret turning centre which has enabled the company to take a particular part down from six minutes production time to less than three minutes.

Featuring a Y-axis on both turrets, the TX 66 Y2 Quattro, thought its configuration, facilitates the complete and simultaneous machining of multiple parts. The ‘66’ denotes the maximum bar diameter the machine can accommodate and as with all machines in the TX range, a fully programmable servo-driven parts catcher – which can access all areas of the machine – is included as standard.

The Maximum turning diameter is 255mm and distance between spindles is 639mm. With this particular purchase, Metrol also specified a LNS Move S2 3.2m barfeeder.

Mr Hynes concludes: “We’re in the process of expanding our business again with a large extension on the back of our current facility which will be used to enhance our machining capacity.

“Naturally CMZ will be part of those plans in terms of new equipment – in fact we have another machine, this time a TD-30-YS-800 due for delivery at the end of June. This will feature 3-axis gantry loaders with stroke to workstockers on both sides of the machine offering us 28 pallet capacity.”





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