A recently signed annual Preferred Partnership Agreement between Walker Precision Engineering and Seco Tools UK provides the former with access, not only to Seco’s best-in-class cutting tools and tooling solutions, but also to its range of innovative and integrated technical, consultancy and support services.
Glasgow-based Walker Precision Engineering (WPE), a progressive technology-led contract manufacturing company, has recently entered into a Partnership Agreement with Seco Tools.
The Agreement, with its emphasis on continuous improvement and best-practice methods to help WPE increase productivity levels, reduce operational costs and optimise their machining processes, provides the company with preferential and priority access to a range of Seco’s technical consultancy services that include -:
- On-site and off-site technical support;
- Turnkey and process improvement project design, management and installation utilising the skills and experience of Seco’s Component Engineered Tooling Team;
- Documented Cost Reduction (DCR) programmes;
- Custom Tool design, manufacture and supply;
- STEP (Seco Technical Education Programme) training courses;
- Regular updates on new technologies and process developments, and new tooling and service introductions and upgrades etc.
To ensure that the Partnership Agreement is focused, proactive and maintains momentum regular monthly planning and quarterly review meetings with key personnel from WPE and Seco are scheduled.
Within the first few months of the Agreement being signed in December 2017, the collaborative Partnership Agreement was delivering impressive results – most notably with the machining of a complex precision chassis part manufactured by WPE for a defence industry customer.
Working in partnership with Seco’s product and technical staff, and employing process improvement strategies and a focused DCR programme, WPE has been able to reduce cycle times for this part by 40%.
As mentioned the monthly planning meetings act as a forum to discuss issues and progress with existing projects, agree the direction and responsibilities of new projects and, for Seco staff, to alert and inform WPE personnel on new products and services.
At one of these meetings, Seco’s Technical Sales Engineer, Douglas Austin presented an overview on My Pages – Seco’s powerful, flexible and simple to use digital portal that provides customers with fast and easy access to Seco’s product information, cutting data, previous purchase history and test reports.
In the past WPE staff, especially those working in the company’s Design, Planning and Programming Department, had used Seco’s Machining Navigator publication, a voluminous printed paper resource, to access the latest product information.
Whilst being satisfactory, the Machining Navigator publication did have some drawbacks.
Explains David Hunter, one of WPE’s Planning Engineers:
“Seco’s Navigator is a good reference resource but it is a bit cumbersome especially when you want to find information quickly.
“When My Pages, along with its onboard SUGGEST feature, was presented to us we could see the immediate time saving benefits.”
These benefits include the ability to quickly and reliably find the most appropriate tool for any specific application. This is achieved by searching the SUGGEST database and selecting specific component characteristics, machining priorities and machining strategies that will be employed.
Key search criteria include workpiece material, machine tool technology to be used, component shape and dimensions, machining conditions, machining priorities i.e. speed, quality etc.
From the information supplied SUGGEST will generate 2D and 3D models, tooling recommendations and related cutting data (i.e. speeds, feeds, depth of cut etc.), program code to machine the component and tips and best-practice to help optimise the specific machining process in question.
Since the Partnership Agreement was signed WPE the company’s Design, Planning and Programming Department staff have increasingly relied on Seco’s My Pages and SUGGEST.
Says Kieran Murphy, Planning Engineer at WPE:
“My Pages and SUGGEST have become vital tools and we use them constantly.
“We are continually looking at ways to improve our efficiency and reduce time spent across all of our operations and My Pages and SUGGEST help us achieve these objectives in a number of ways, from tool selection and CAM planning right through to off-line CNC programming.”
In addition to its time-saving product search capabilities, My Pages can be used to check previous order history and users can also place new or repeat orders by clicking through to Seco’s On-Line Store.