Young machining entrepreneur

09 Feb 2021

Engineering capacity news posted by Andy Sandford

Shortlisted for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2021 and a finalist in 2020, 27-year-old Alun Cheung started his own subcontracting business, SLAC Precision Engineering Ltd in 2018.

At a time when his friends were buying their first houses, Alun used the money he had saved to rent a factory unit in Basingstoke and put a deposit on a Hurco VM5i 3-axis vertical machining centre He quickly established a loyal customer base within the aerospace, automotive, medical, and oil and gas industries. Jobs so far have been mainly in aluminium, stainless steel and nylon, although virtually any material can be machined.

In May 2020, Alun purchased a larger Hurco VMC, a VM10i with a 762 x 406 mm table, more than doubling his capacity. At the time he was busy fulfilling a contract for a new customer in the satellite communications sector, involving the production of a couple of dozen different, mainly aluminium components in batches of one- to 50-off. Many of the components fitted perfectly in the VM5i and those that were smaller could be fixtured two at a time on the table of the VM10i, helping to cope with the required production volumes.

Today, Alun also offers subcontract turning and shot blasting in addition to milling.

He also started manufacturing his own product at the beginning of 2021, a competitively priced end stop for assisting machinists to position parts accurately in a vice on the table of a milling machine. He markets the stops under the trade name, SLAC Workholding.

SLAC Precision Engineering Ltd has held ISO 9001:2015 quality management accreditation ever since it started operation. In 2019, the company was presented with a Lotus award for sustainability and ethics on the basis of recycling everything that is in use at the Basingstoke factory, from swarf and offcuts to tooling and paper.