Vintage aeroplane restorer soars with Mazak machine investment
Kennet Aviation, a leading restorer of vintage aeroplanes, has increased its capacity and ability to produce challenging bespoke parts by investing in a new turning centre from Yamazaki Mazak
A leading restorer of vintage aeroplanes has increased its capacity and ability to produce challenging bespoke parts by investing in a new turning centre from Yamazaki Mazak.
Kennet Aviation specialises in the renovation and servicing of historic aeroplanes, including Supermarine Seafires used in World War II, to the stringent standards required by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s specialist aviation regulator.
With the aim of enhancing in-house manufacturing capacity and growing its existing business, the company has invested in a state-of-the-art Mazak QUICK TURN 250MSY CNC turning centre. The new machine, which was built in the UK at the company’s Worcester-based European Manufacturing Plant, has enabled Kennet Aviation to quickly produce high-accuracy, bespoke aircraft components, and significantly reduced the time taken to restore the aircraft.
The investment has also opened up new business opportunities for Kennet Aviation by enabling the company to subcontract its capability to manufacture rare parts for vintage aircraft restorers and collectors worldwide.
Tim Manna, director at Kennet Aviation, comments: “Existing components for these older aeroplanes can be very rare, hard to find, and often not available anywhere. As we may only require very small batches, requesting parts from general subcontractors can be expensive and result in long lead times. We therefore decided to invest in a high-quality CNC machine tools to manufacture parts at Kennet, so we could bring selection, quality control, and timing in-house.
“Mazak provided a brilliant service, and we have been very impressed with how quickly and accurately the QUICK TURN has been able to produce parts. In fact, it has been so successful that we have since invested in a second machine, a VCN530C vertical milling machine with an additional rotary axis, which arrived in December. Now it is up and running, we have 100 percent capability to produce any parts we need for aeroplanes and even classic cars, which is a market we’re now making great strides in.”
Alan Mucklow, managing director UK & Ireland Sales & Service Division at Yamazaki Mazak, adds: “A nation’s history can be found in its vehicles, so it is fantastic
organisations such as Kennet Aviation exist to preserve and protect our aviation heritage. “We are thrilled to have played our part in helping the company expand its machining capacity and generate new business in its highly specialist field. We are also excited to see how they have used Mazak machinery to expand into general subcontracting and renovating vintage cars.”
Mazak increases UK production following lockdown easing
Yamazaki Mazak has ramped up production of the CV5-500 at its European Manufacturing Plant following the easing of lockdown restrictions for UK manufacturers
Yamazaki Mazak has increased the number of shifts for production at its European Manufacturing Plant following the easing of lockdown restrictions for UK manufacturers.
The company will be focusing on the manufacture of a core group of machines, including its new CV5-500 fully simultaneous 5-axis machining centre, as well as models from its VCN and VTC vertical machining centre range, and QT Series of high-performance CNC turning centres.
Mazak has also been able to safely increase production levels at its European Manufacturing Plant in recent weeks, following the implementation of a series of stringent new factory systems and processes. The new measures ensure compliance with UK Government guidance on social distancing and workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A 31-page document, published on the Mazak website, provides in-depth details of all changes made to the factory, alongside a full risk assessment for all production and administration areas of the site, and a breakdown of all potential risks to staff and customers, and proposed control measures.
Richard Smith, European group managing director, Yamazaki Mazak UK Ltd, comments: “There is no doubt that the last few months have been incredibly challenging for the UK as a whole and for manufacturing. However, the resilience and adaptability on display across industry has been nothing short of outstanding. I would like to thank our own staff who have adapted to the situation in an overwhelmingly positive way, and have continued to work safely and diligently so as to ensure we are able to meet the requirements of our customers.”
Stuart Astley, production director at Yamazaki Mazak’s production facility in Worcester, adds: “As production director, my primary concern has always been the health and safety of all our staff. As a team, we have collaboratively created a safe working environment that has allowed us to complete machine orders and support our customers during these difficult times.
“The workforce has played a key role in achieving this, not only by helping to establish the new ways of working, but by following them to the letter. They have been incredibly supportive of what we are doing and I am happy to say that the morale on the factory floor has been superb throughout this difficult time.”
Phil King, who is both an assembly worker and a Factory Floor Health & Safety representative, adds: “I feel that Mazak has clearly put into place a system that has allowed myself and others to work during these unprecedented times, while feeling safe and valued. Any concerns that I had at first have been put to rest completely.”
Mazak makes major investments in UK factory
Yamazaki Mazak has made a series of major investments at its UK-based European manufacturing plant in Worcester
Yamazaki Mazak has made a series of major investments at its UK-based European manufacturing plant in Worcester.
The multimillion-pound investments include two new state-of-the-art manufacturing cells making component parts for new Mazak machines produced at the Worcester facility. Each cell is equipped with an INTEGREX i-Series machine from Mazak’s flagship Multi-Tasking solutions range, and RoboJob automation.
The RoboJob Tower automation system is specifically designed to deliver extended periods of unmanned running from a small footprint. The 4.6m-high tower system is equipped with twin-elevator storage trays, with one feeding a robot for transferring workpieces to the machine tool, while the other allows the operator to replenish parts.
In addition, a VTC-800 series machine has been installed in the jig boring area of the company’s manufacturing facility and the case paint area has been moved to increase the assembly space on the factory floor. An extension has also been added to the factory, creating more floorspace for the building of new machines.
Mazak’s Worcester facility is its European headquarters and only manufacturing site on the continent, producing more than 1,000 machine tools every year, with more than 80 percent exported to mainland Europe.
Speaking to the media at the recent EMO Hannover 2019 trade show, Takashi Yamazaki, president of Yamazaki Mazak, also confirmed that the Worcester facility would be upgraded to iSMART Factory™ status, the company’s highest level of Industry 4.0 connectivity, in line with its other plants in Japan and Kentucky in the United States.
Richard Smith, European group managing director, comments: “Our Worcester facility has always been at the forefront of manufacturing innovation as we strive to become even more productive and efficient. The new investments are a clear illustration of our dedication to manufacturing excellence and continued commitment to manufacturing in Europe. The proposed upgrade to iSMART Factory status will bring further improvements and ensure that the facility remains in the front rank of Mazak’s global manufacturing footprint.”