Volz turns on the power


To help get its new subcontract machining operation up and running Volz Engineering has installed two  multi-tasking with integrated automation.

Mills CNC supplied the Rochdale company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volz Filters UK, with an 8” chuck Lynx 2100LSY turning centre, equipped with a sub-spindle, Y-axis and driven tooling, and a DVF 5000 (5-axis) machining centre equipped with an 18,000rpm spindle and a 120-tool position ATC.

To increase a Hydrafeed Multifeed 65 short magazine bar loader was integrated with the Lynx lathe, and a Doosan 8-pallet Automatic Workpiece Changer (AWC)  is fitted to the DVF 5000.

Managing Director Alan Reeson said: “As part of our ambitious growth strategy we have recently rationalised and refocused the scope and scale of our operations: divesting low-growth and less profitable business activities in favour of ones that offer a better growth trajectory and a more favourable return on investment.”

As a consequence, Volz Engineering’s focus, moving forwards, will continue to be on the manufacture of high-quality components for its parent company, as well as on the design, development and manufacture of specialised, application-specific automated filtration production machines.

In addition to these core business activities, the company has also made the strategic decision to diversify its operations and create a high-quality, precision subcontract machining operation located at its existing facility.

“This is where the real opportunity for significant and sustained business growth lies”, added Mr Reeson.

He said: “The danger, when setting up any subcontract machining operation, is to lack focus and attempt to try and be ‘all things to all people’. This approach invariably means that you can end up chasing your tail and are tied up dealing with unprofitable work.

“For our operation we have adopted a different route and implemented a ‘sniper’ strategy, targeting those sectors and specific companies, where we know we can provide real value and develop long-term, mutually profitable relationships.

“By researching the market and understanding customer needs and requirements, as well as competitor strengths and weaknesses, we have been able to create differentiation in the market based on quality, service and reliability, and cost-competitiveness.”

The scope and scale of Volz Engineering’s subcontract machining operations determined are focused on the milling and turning of complex, precision parts, made from a range of materials, and characterised by their tight geometric tolerances and high surface finish requirements.

The focus, again determined by market demand and business opportunities, but also conditioned by the physical space available at Volz Engineering’s existing facility, is on milled parts (typical dimensions up to 500mm x 500mm) and turned parts (typical diameter up to 65mm).

James Alletson, Operations Director, said: “Like every company we have limited space available.

“In setting up our precision subcontract machining operation we clearly had to keep in mind these limitations as well as the footprints of the new equipment we required.

“Another aspect of our subcontract service was on our ability to machine one-offs and prototypes, through to pre-production parts and low-to-medium volume batch series.

“Multi-axis and multi-tasking machines, like the Lynx 2100LSY and DVF 5000, are critically important if you want to reduce set-up and part cycle times.

“The ability to machine parts to completion in a single set up improves productivity and operational efficiencies and delivers a real competitive advantage.

“As a relative newcomer onto the subcontract machining stage, so to speak, we simply couldn’t be seen as a ‘me too’ supplier. Instead, the investment in multi-axis machines, enabled us to differentiate ourselves in a cluttered market, and deliver real, tangible and provable benefits to customers.”