Clitheroe Light

A grant for more than 10 per cent of the purchase price has been obtained from the Northwest Regional Development Agency. At the same time, a second grant has been secured for a further, identical HMC, which will be ordered when the level of business dictates.

The global recession has taken some of the momentum out of this sector of the energy industry in recent months. Nevertheless, the volume of work has allowed Clitheroe Light to order a £400,000 Mori Seiki NH5000 50-taper horizontal machining centre (HMC), which is currently being shipped over from Japan.

She went on to explain that, while the requirement for production batches is diminishing at the moment, demand for spares is increasing. Customers want one-offs or small batches of spares at keen prices in short lead-times. This is exactly what the versatility of the FMS accomplishes, while still allowing Clitheroe Light to make a profit on such jobs.

The rationale is that work set-up at one of the two input/output stations of the FMS is off-line and independent of spindle operation in any of the machines linked into the system. Consequently, spindle up-time is high, irrespective of batch size, and throughput is rapid.

In other news from the Lancashire subcontractor, refurbishment of its extended premises on the Upbrooks Industrial Estate is now complete. The factory units have been re-roofed and re-clad and the grounds landscaped. The visual transformation of the site includes the addition of the company’s new logo and company name illuminated on the end building.

Both of the new, half-metre-cube capacity machines, fitted with 240-tool magazines, will sit alongside two other Mori Seiki NH5000s and a Daewoo HMC in the subcontractor’s Fastems flexible manufacturing system (FMS), which was recently doubled in size to accommodate 72 machine pallets on three levels.

“So we have decided to reinvest the money in the new Mori Seiki machining center, which gives us back-up if the multi-pallet cell goes down.“All of the prismatic parts we produce can be machined in the FMS. The extra machine will lighten the load on our machining cell and give us extra capacity to take on more work.”Few UK subcontractors have such a facility, prompting the Northwest Regional Development Agency to comment that Clitheroe Light’s was a “fantastic application” that is deserving of grant aid.

Commented Helen Meloy, a director of Clitheroe Light, “Our Daewoo horizontal machining cell with 7-pallet pool is five years old in November 2009 and will be paid for by then.

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