A break with tradition.

Sub-CNC Precision Ltd., a leading precision subcontract specialist with extensive in-house sliding- and fixed-head turning capacity and capabilities, invests in its first new DN Solutions’ multi-tasking lathe from Mills CNC.

The investment, made as part of Sub-CNC’s continuous improvement programme, has been instrumental in helping the company win business from new and existing customers.

Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of DN Solutions’ and Zayer machine tools in the UK and Ireland, has recently supplied Sub-CNC Precision Ltd., a leading precision subcontract specialist based in Luton, Bedfordshire, with a new DN Solutions’ (fixed-head) multi-tasking lathe.

The machine, a compact Fanuc-controlled Lynx 2100LSY, equipped with a sub-spindle, Y-axis and driven tooling, has provided Sub-CNC with a fast, accurate, flexible and reliable turning solution, and was installed at the company’s 15,000 sq. ft. facility in April 2023.

The Lynx 2100LSY is the first DN Solutions’ machine acquired by the company in its 16-year history and, since installation, has been put through its paces machining a range of small, high-precision, and often, complex components for a number of, primarily, Tier One customers operating in the automotive, aerospace, defence and medical sectors (to name but a few).

Parts are machined from solid and from a wide range of materials that include aluminium, mild steel, stainless steels, titanium, brass, bronze etc. Batch sizes are typically small (up to 200-off) with parts being machined to tight tied-up tolerances (50 microns) and exacting surface finishes.

Since its arrival some 12-months ago, the machine has been used as a chucking lathe although the imminent arrival, and integration, of a 51mm capacity bar feeder in the next few weeks will increase the machine’s versatility allowing Sub-CNC to take advantage of the Lynx’s true capabilities, and fully exploit its productivity potential.

The bar feeder integration, it is envisaged, will also see the Lynx 2100LSY being used to machine (selected) lower volume batch work currently being processed on the company’s sliding head lathes.

Says Yian Stavrou, Sub-CNC’s managing director:

“The Lynx 2100LSY has been a great addition, and has improved our in-house machining capabilities.

“The lathe, with its one-hit capabilities, has been instrumental in helping us strengthen our supply chain position with, and secure new business from, existing and new UK and European customers.”

Specific strengths of the Lynx 2100LSY, from Sub-CNC’s perspective

The Lynx 2100LSY is a popular and proven DN Solutions’ multi-tasking turning centre designed for fast and accurate small parts processing.

The lathe has many key features and strengths which, from Sub-CNC’s perspective, include the following:

  1. Flexibility and speed

The synchronisation of the lathe’s main and sub-spindle allows, via quick and seamless part transfer, the front and back-end of components to be machined in a single set up resulting in reduced part cycle times, improved accuracies and increased work throughput.

  • Productivity and efficiency

The lathe’s driven tooling capabilities which, in conjunction with its Y-axis, enables milled and drilled axial and radial features to be machined quickly and efficiently on parts eliminating the need to transfer them to a separate machining centre(s) for finishing.

  • Repeatability and process reliability

The machine’s ability to deliver high accuracies and repeatability’s consistently, whatever the time of day, and without the need for warm up cycles to be undertaken or completed.

Says Yian Stavrou, Sub-CNC’s managing director:

“Technology features that include roller-type LM guideways, a sub-spindle, Y-axis and driven tools help deliver high accuracies, fast part processing times and improved process efficiencies.”

Lynx 2100LSY investment: the need and decision making process

Although the multi-axis Lynx 2100LSY has strengthened Sub-CNC’s machining capacity and capabilities, the company, back in early 2023, was originally looking at a ‘simpler’ and more straightforward fixed head lathe investment.

Remembers Yian Stavrou:

“Initially, we were in the market for a 2-axis lathe, essentially to undertake secondary re-working operations required on selected parts that had already been machined overnight on our existing, production-oriented fixed head lathes but which, for various reasons (i.e., broken or worn tools), failed to meet the required part quality standards.

“Rather than scrapping this often high-value work, or attempting to re-work these parts on our existing fixed head lathes, which would interrupt and compromise production schedules and workflow, the intention was to acquire a new 2-axis lathe to handle this work.”

Although Sub-CNC had not invested in a Doosan or DN Solutions’ machine from Mills CNC before that point, the company knew of Mills and had a positive impression of the company, the machines it supplied and the after-sales services it provided.

Continues Yian Stavrou:

“We were in effect looking for a reliable, back-up lathe and, as such, approached Mills CNC to see if they could identify a suitable machine. We also visited Mills’ Customer and Visitor Centre in Leamington to discuss our requirements further.

“It was there where we were first introduced to the Lynx 2100LSY.”

Discussions with Mills technical and sales staff helped Sub-CNC clarify its new investment requirements and resulted in the company opting for a multi-axis, multi-tasking lathe instead of going down the (initial) 2-axis route.

The decision to opt for a more sophisticated and higher specification lathe, it was determined, would still enable Sub-CNC to use it for re-working operations, as was the original intention but, when not being used for such work, would also provide the company with a high-productivity and flexible turning solution that could be used to machine new and/or existing low-volume high precision parts in one hit.

Says Yian Stavrou:

“This, we decided, was the better option, and was one that would not only address the re-working issue but also provide us with an accurate, high-productivity lathe to handle new work.”

The fact that the Lynx 2100LSY was in already stock, and that it could be delivered and installed in just a few days was also a major selling point.

The Lynx 2100LSY: a closer look

The Lynx 2100LSY is a best-selling 6” chuck/51mm bar diameter lathe with a 300mm maximum turning diameter and a 510mm maximum turning length.

The machine is equipped with a 15kW/6,000rpm main spindle (127N-m), a servo-driven 12-position turret with fast indexing capabilities, driven tooling (6,000rpm), a +/- 52.5mm Y-axis, a 5” chuck sub-spindle (5.5kW/6,000rpm) and the advanced Fanuc 0iTP control that features a 15” touchscreen iHMI.

The Lynx 2100LSY supplied to Sub-CNC also featured a parts catcher, an automatic tool setter and a FllterMist extraction unit.

Says Yian Stavrou:

“The Lynx 2100LSY has been a good investment.

“The machine is fast, accurate and reliable and has enabled us to secure new machining contracts from existing and new customers.

“The decision to invest in a multi-tasking lathe (as opposed to a 2-axis model) has been vindicated, and the Lynx 2100LSY is making a positive contribution to our growth.”

About Sub-CNC

Established in 2008 Sub-CNC, set up by current co-directors Yian Stavrou and George Dingley, today employs 23 members of staff and is ISO 9001: 2015 certified.

The company over the last 16 years has grown exponentially and regularly makes strategic investments in its people, in its plant and equipment and in its processes and systems as part of a well-developed and successful continuous improvement programme.

“Delivering high-precision components to customers, on time and in budget, is what Sub-CNC is all about,” says Yian Stavrou. “We regularly monitor and benchmark our performance against KPIs and, where and when areas for improvement are identified, we act quickly and decisively to address them.”

In addition to investing in new, advanced machine tools and integrated automation systems the company in November 2020 relocated to its current facility in Luton, and has spent considerable time and resources in modernising and kitting out the machine shop and its administration and office areas.

The facility features a discrete inspection facility (located in the machine shop) and separate assembly/sub-assembly, packaging and distribution, and raw material stock areas. The company has also recently invested in a new, sophisticated ERP system to automate, manage and streamline core business operations and processes, in real time, to improve efficiencies and productivity.

To address current and future skills shortages, the company operates a successful in-house apprenticeship programme, in conjunction with a local college, and a trainee foundation programme for new employees.

Although primarily a precision turned part specialist using a range of sliding-head and fixed head lathes, the company is always looking to grow and has recently invested in two machining centres and a grinding machine to fulfil a machining contract for a newly-acquired customer.

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