04 August 2020

Embracing change!

BSA-Regal Engineering invests in two large-capacity vertical machining centres from MACH Machine Tools.

Foreward

There’s a transformation taking place at Southampton-based precision subcontract specialist, BSA-Regal Engineering Ltd, a division of BSA-Regal Engineering Holdings.

It’s not the type of transformation that is so gradual, or so limited in its scope or scale, that its impact and effects go largely unnoticed.

Instead this is a root and branch transformation: a radical repositioning of the company focused on improvement and growth, and concerned with strengthening and elevating BSA-Regal Engineering’s position within its existing supply chains, and on winning new high-value business in different sectors and industries.

This whole company approach permeates all levels and aspects of the business; from its progressive recruitment strategies (as evidenced by its recently implemented apprenticeship programme) and the constant reviewing, monitoring and streamlining of its manufacturing processes and systems - through to its strategic investment in the latest and most advanced machine tool and ancillary technologies.

The recent investment made in two new advanced MACH 1062-HD machining centres is a case in point - and demonstrates that BSA-Regal Engineering is a company that is going places.

BSA-Regal Engineering Ltd., has recently invested in two new large-capacity vertical machining centres from MACH Machine Tools, part of the Vigilance Group of companies.

The machines, both MACH 1062-HD models (X-axis/1020mm; Y-axis 625mm; Z-axis 610mm), were installed at the the company’s 12,000 square foot facility in Southampton at the start of 2020: the first arriving in January, the second in February.

Since their installation both machines have been (and are being) put through their paces machining a range of high-precision components (prototypes and one-offs through to larger batch series) from an equally diverse range of materials (i.e. aluminium, stainless steel, tool steel, plastics, titanium, nickel alloys etc.), for BSA-Regal Engineering’s growing UK and international customer base.

These customers operate in and across a wide range of industries and include the defence, rail, marine and shipbuilding, fibre optic, food and drink processing, medical device, tobacco, oil and gas, security sectors etc.

The MACH 1062-HD decision

The two MACH 1062-HD machining centres selected by BSA-Regal Engineering are high performance machines. They were acquired to improve the company’s machining capacity and capabilities and have replaced three of the company’s older machines which were used in part exchange to help fund the new investment.

Explains Martin Clayton, Workshop Supervisor, BSA-Regal Engineering:

“To achieve our growth objectives and to make us more productive and competitive, we need access to high-performance CNC machine tools that deliver the accuracy, speed and process reliability we expect - and that our customers demand.

“In recent years we have initiated an investment programme to replace our older manual, semi-automatic and CNC machines with more advanced machines that now includes multi-tasking lathes and a 5-axis machining centre.

“The two new MACH 1062-HD machines are part of this ongoing improvement programme.”

Although not an existing MACH Machine Tools’ customer, BSA-Regal Engineering had knowledge of the company having previously dealt with Mike Corbett, MACH’s CNC divisional manager, when he was an applications manager at XYZ.

Continues Martin Clayton:

“We know and trust Mike. When he made us aware of the performance and competitive price of the MACH 1062-HD machines, back in September 2019, we sat up and took notice. The machines seemed to be exactly what we were looking for, and we made arrangements to see a model in action at MACH’s showroom in Bristol.

“We were specifically looking to replace two of our older vertical machines, that were a bit long in the tooth, with machines that had larger X-axes; more powerful and reliable spindle technology; and through-spindle-coolant capability.”

Other pre-requisites for both machines included the incorporation of the latest Siemens control system, the integration of an efficient swarf management system and, on one of the machines, a 4th-axis unit.

The Siemens control dimension

BSA-Regal Engineering has made the decision to standardise the control systems on its machine tools in favour of Siemens. This move has helped the company achieve greater operational efficiencies and improved machine tool utilisation - allowing programs to be transferred between machines and, as a consequence, helping to reduce production bottlenecks.

Siemens control systems, with onboard ShopMill or ShopTurn conversational programming software, are also the control of choice with BSA-Regal Engineering’s apprentices.

Says Martin Clayton:

“To plan for the future and to address the ongoing skills shortage, we have introduced an in-house apprenticeship programme in cooperation with City College Southampton.

“All (three) of our apprentices favour, and are more confident using, the Siemens CNC control platform.”

With this in mind BSA-Regal Engineering also traded in a relatively new Heidenhain-controlled machining centre, as well as the two older VMC’s, for the two new MACH 1062-HD models.

The MACH 1062-HD machines in action

The two MACH 1062-HD machines supplied to BSA-Regal Engineering have been in operation for just under six months and, according to Martin Clayton,’haven’t missed a beat’.

The machines are equipped with powerful, high-torque18.5kW/10,000rpm (direct-drive) BBT 40 chilled spindles. This advanced spindle technology delivers excellent performance i.e. high-accuracy volumetric removal rates and superior fine finishing operations.

The MACH 1062-HD machines’ through-spindle-coolant capability is also proving its worth helping to make BSA-Regal Engineering’s machining processes more reliable and helping the company to reduce part cycle times (by employing higher speed and feed rates) and extend tool life.

The high-efficiency chip augur system on the machines is helping to reduce machine downtime and is particularly advantageous during long machining runs. And the incorporation of the GSA 4th-axis unit (which can be used on both machines) increases the machines’ flexibility.

Summary

Concludes Martin Clayton:

“We are delighted with the performance of our MACH 1062-HD machines. They, as intended, are making us more productive, efficient and competitive.

“The machines’ features like their direct-drive spindle technology with through-spindle coolant capability, their generous-sized 24-position ATCs, their good ergonomic design and easy workpiece accessibility have made them firm favourites with machine shop staff.

“Our new machine tool investment programme and our apprenticeship scheme, in addition to us embracing new ways of working (i.e. a focus on offline programming, a movement towards unattended, lights-out operations and more overt and targeted marketing), are helping us raise our profile and reposition the company.”

About BSA-Regal Engineering

BSA Regal Engineering was established in Southampton back in 1965 and today has 25 employees based in its 12,000 sq ft modern unit in the centre of the city. The company was a founder member of BSA-Regal Group when Regal acquired the well known BSA motorcycle group in 1994.

The company provides a comprehensive range of services to customers from supplying high-precision machined, fabricated and sheet-metal components (prototypes, one-offs, small-to-medium batch series) through to assemblies, sub-assemblies and the build of special purpose machines.

The company is BS EN ISO 9001: 2015 accredited.

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