From concept to production with support from Ceratizit UK & Ireland
When brothers Victor and Finbarr Twohig created T&T Precision back in 1996 it was in a rented barn no bigger than their current reception area, with a manual lathe, mill, surface grinder and an Die Sink EDM machine. Those early days centred around the electronics sector and mould and die work, but with the influx of medical device OEM companies into Ireland and their local area around Cork, business naturally developed in that area. Several relocations have been undertaken to meet growth, the first of which was within six months of starting the business, with the company now located, since 2014, on its own 32,000 ft2 Engineering Campus.
Investment has been at the heart of T & T Precision’s success with €400, 000 being spent just to prepare the buildings at its Campus for the machine tool investments that followed. In the past two years some 12 new machine tools, including five-axis machining and multi-axis turning centres installed, a further €1.5 million is planned to be spent in the next 24 months making a total of €3.5 million spent so far since moving in during 2014, with the support of Enterprise Ireland and AIB bank. This investment has been driven by growth in the aerospace and medical sectors, which between them account for 90 per cent of T & T Precision’s turnover, with customers including Boston Scientific, Stryker, Depuy Synthes, Tornier and Thompson Aerospace. In addition to machining prototype and batch production for these customers, it also provides design and development facilities with five full-time design engineers working on customer projects.
Victor and Finbarr proud of their partnerships with Cork Institute of Technology, University of Limerick & Enterprise Ireland, where they are working together on projects from mould tooling through to material development & industry 4.0, with the target being its own patented medical implant technology by 2019.
T & T Precision is very excited about this venture & it is gathering a lot of interest in the Medtech world!
To support this investment in capital equipment the business has also invested in employee training, software and cutting tool technology, the latter working closely with Ceratizit UK & Ireland and its WNT range of tooling. “With the arrival of these new machines we needed to maximise performance and have worked closely with Jerry and Shane from Ceratizit UK & Ireland to develop new machining strategies, particularly trochoidal milling and the use of their High Feed cutters,” says Victor Twohig. “Every new machine we have is tooled up with WNT tooling and the two businesses have grown alongside each other since we started working together in 2006.”
Between them Ceratizit UK & Ireland’s Technical Sales Engineer Jerry Warren and Applications Engineer Shane O’Donnell are on-site virtually once a week at T & T Precision to provide assistance where needed and ensure everything is in order, including restocking the two vending machines with tooling. “We work with customers from the very early stages of product development, so it is good to have the expertise of Jerry and Shane on-hand to look at initial tooling requirements is extremely helpful, then when we come to production volumes we work together to target improved cycle times and tool life,” says Finbar Twohig. “As we increase our involvement with the aerospace sector this is becoming ever more important as we have to be competitive to win and retain business. For us to achieve our goals in terms of business growth our prices to customers have to reduce, but we also need to remain profitable, so we work hard with our suppliers, such as Ceratizit UK & Ireland. There is no hiding, particularly in aerospace if you can make it quicker and for less, you’ll win the business.”
With turnover at T & T Precision growing by over 100 per cent over the past three years so spend on cutting tools has increased, part of Ceratizit UK & Ireland’s remit is to manage that spend by introducing new, improved tooling that keeps the tooling budget under control and in many instances reduces it. “We have to strike a balance between improved productivity and ensuring tooling costs remain at an acceptable level for all of our customers,” says Jerry Warren, Ceratizit UK & Irelands Technical Sales Engineer. “The role myself and Shane play is to make things work better, ensure the right tools are being used in the right application. The reporting from the vending machines assists in this as we can monitor usage closely across all of the shifts operated at T & T Precision, while achieving the right balance between performance and cost.”