Flexible cell machining strengthens growth

Gerry Reynolds, founder and chairman (left) with Donal Galligan, CEO (right) pictured with the new SMX 2600 Synergi Sprint automated manufacturing cell at Takumi Precision’s production facility in Limerick
Gerry Reynolds, founder and chairman (left) with Donal Galligan, CEO (right) pictured with the new SMX 2600 Synergi Sprint automated manufacturing cell at Takumi Precision’s production facility in Limerick

Investment in DN Solutions machine tools from Mills CNC at Irish precision manufacturer Takumi Precision is part of the company’s continuous improvement programme and has led its growth in the aerospace, medical and industrial markets it serves. PES reports.

Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of DN Solutions’ (formerly Doosan) machine tools and a major automation systems solutions provider to UK and Irish component manufacturers, has recently supplied Takumi Precision, a leading global engineering solutions provider based in Limerick, with a new flexible automated manufacturing cell.

The cell, installed at Takumi’s 50,000ft² facility in September 2022, comprises an advanced, and recently introduced, SMX 2100ST multi-tasking mill-turn machine, integrated with a Mills CNC Synergi Sprint automation system.

The automated manufacturing cell, currently being put through its paces by Takumi’s production and applications engineers, is significantly increasing its machining and manufacturing capacity and capabilities, and has further cemented Mills CNC’s position as a technology provider of choice to one of Ireland’s leading precision subcontract manufacturing companies.

Company connections

Takumi Precision regularly invests in advanced machine tool technologies and, since 2016, has chosen Doosan machine tools from Mills CNC.

The type and range of machines acquired by the company over the last six years has changed dramatically reflecting and reinforcing its desire and ambition to both consolidate, and strengthen, its position within its customers’ supply chains and to become a preferred partner to many of them.

The company currently has more than 20 Doosan machines at its disposal with most organised into discrete and dedicated machining cells for fast and efficient part processing. These machines comprise a number of Lynx and Puma lathes with sub-spindles, Y-axes and driven tooling capabilities as well as different-sized vertical machining centres.

Recent acquisitions include two twin turret/twin-spindle turning centres, a 5-axis machining centre with integrated automatic workpiece pallet change capability and a high-productivity, multi-tasking mill-turn machine.

Collectively, this machining resource is as impressive as it is formidable and reflects Takumi’s commitment to continuous improvement and to being as it describes, ‘the best it can possibly be.’

“Doosan machines are reliable, competitively priced and represent great value. They deliver excellent cutting performance and help us achieve the part accuracy, repeatability and surface finish we expect and our customers demand,” says Donal Galligan, Takumi Precision’s CEO.

“In addition to their performance Doosan machines are backed by Mills CNC’s aftersales service and support which we believe is second to none. Dedicated sales, service and applications engineers located in Ireland ensure a fast response and from our experience, means that any issues affecting machine uptime are dealt with quickly and efficiently.”

Pandemic investment

To improve productivity, process efficiencies and overall competitiveness the company has recently invested in machine tools with integrated automation as well as standalone models.

During the pandemic, at a time when many, if not most, engineering companies were postponing or scaling back their capital expenditure programmes, Takumi made the decision to invest in a compact, high-productivity and flexible DVF 5000 (5-axis) machining centre with an integrated (10-position) automatic workpiece pallet changer.

The company followed this up, just a few months later, with an investment in its first Doosan mill-turn machine – a large-capacity SMX 2600.

“Multi-tasking machines and automation are the way forward: they help make us leaner, more agile and more competitive, asserts Gerry Reynolds, Takumi Precision’s founder and chairman. “Although the pandemic did impact operations with customers cancelling and postponing contracts, we believed that the hiatus was temporary and were confident that our aerospace and medical business would return. 

“We used the time to prepare for that eventuality and, with help from the Irish Government via its SBC1 COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme, invested in high-performance machine tools to enable us to hit the ground running when it did.”

The DVF 5000 simultaneous 5-axis machining centre, with its integrated pallet change capability, enables Takumi to capitalise on lights-out production by running the machine unattended, overnight and over the weekends.

During the day the DVF 5000 is used to machine prototypes, pre-production parts and jobs with shorter cycle times and, at the same time, to set up production jobs, often with longer cycle times, on the available pallets ready to run overnight.

Being increasingly involved in many customers’ new product introductions and in designing and proving out machining processes means that Takumi needs to invest in high-productivity standalone machines: the acquisition of the SMX 2600 being a case in point.

Testing, trialling and verifying a machining process that can often involve numerous iterations, takes time and, rather than tying up a production-led machine with such operations, is best handled on a multi-tasking, standalone machine.

“We are involved in High-Mix Low Volume (HMLV) work and have to organise ourselves, and deploy our machining resources, accordingly,” Mr Reynolds says.

With business returning to pre-pandemic levels and demand for Takumi’s high-quality machining services at an all-time high the company decided to invest in its second (SMX) mill-turn machine from Mills CNC. Initially, the intention at the time of order, was for the SMX 2100ST to operate as a standalone machine. However, owing to the company’s experience of investing in automation, and the positive impact made on its performance – Takumi, working collaboratively with Mills, altered the order mid-stream.

“The SMX 2100ST, with its lower turret, is flexible, high-productivity mill-turn machine capable of processing complex, high-precision parts in one-hit,” Mr Reynolds explains. “The productivity gains experienced from the DVF 5000 investment got us thinking about whether we could do something similar with the SMX 2100ST.

“After discussing our requirements with Mills, the decision was made to change the original machine tool order – augmenting it with the addition, and integration, of a robot to create a flexible, automated manufacturing cell.”

Sprint integration

The 8” chuck SMX 2600ST with its left and right opposing spindles (5,000rpm), B-axis milling function, Y-axis and 12-station lower turret is a productivity powerhouse of a machine. It is now integrated with a Synergi Sprint automation system comprising a Fanuc industrial robot with a 25kg payload, a part load/unload grid plate (900mm x 900mm), end-of-arm tooling, laser floor scanner technology, industrial guarding, and a 17” touchscreen HMI with a separate keyboard.

The cell is controlled by Mills’ proprietary Synergi software – a powerful and intuitive solution that incorporates logical navigation and user-friendly menu screens.

“The SMX 2600ST/SYNERGi Sprint cell is the first robotic automation system to be acquired by Takumi in its 24-year history. We are currently putting the cell through its paces and organising our production schedules to be able to take full advantage of the latest investment,” comments Mr Galligan.

Takumi Precision’s continuous improvement programmes and strategies are in evidence all across the company’s operations. To complement its investment in 5-axis machine tools in particular, the company has upgraded its CAD/CAM capabilities by investing in Open Mind’s HyperMill - a modular and flexible CAM solution for 2.5D, 3D and 5-axis milling. Programming using HyperMill, with its one post-processor interface and true-to-detail simulation and collision control, ensures fast and reliable part processing.

Furthermore, to improve lead- and turnaround times, Takumi made the strategic decision to augment its operation by becoming a materials stockist. This vertical integration decision in addition to acquiring in-house plate and sheet cutting capabilities, has improved operational efficiencies and supply chain management.

Additionally, using best-practice methods that include process and machine validation, model-based inspection and CMM technology, Takumi uses the latest MSCOSMOS, Net-Inspect and Digital FAIR (First Article Inspection Report) management software to streamline its inspection and measuring processes, optimise the flow of information and minimise non-conformance.

Takumi is also currently developing an in-house treatment and finishing resource at its facility. Created to help reduce customer lead-times and ensure better operational and cost control, the resource will include shot peening, anodising, painting, NDT and passivation treatments.

The introduction of a proprietary ERP system via MADO and developed by Takumi, provides integrated and seamless management of the company’s main business processes in real-time. The system allows different departments to communicate and share information improving accuracy, productivity, reporting and efficiency. MADO is a transparent system that, through a portal interface, also allows customers access to relevant information pertaining to their specific jobs and the manufacturing processes employed.

Acquisition and future

In July 2022, Takumi Precision was acquired by the Acrotec Group. Through its group of companies, located mainly in Europe and Asia, Acrotec’s focus is on high-precision technology markets that include watchmaking, medical devices, automotive, aerospace, aeronautics and electronics.

Continuing to trade as Takumi Precision, the acquisition will enable the company to grow, enter new markets and provide value for customers and shareholders alike.

A major new development Takumi has in the pipeline, and one that will improve the layout and efficiency of its machine shop and provide more space to accommodate future investments in new technology, is to significantly increase its floorspace by an additional 40,000ft² over the next year.

Takumi Precision

Mills CNC

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