Having purchased its first Grindingmaster deburring and graining machine from Ellesco almost 40 years ago, JC Engineering Products can genuinely claim to be a longstanding customer. Fast forward to 2020 and the company, as part of a large investment programme, has just taken delivery of two latest generation Timesavers machines. To ease the purchase, the original machine, along with another 30 year-old Grindingmaster, both of which were operating daily, were used in part exchange.
The investment at JC Engineering Products is part of the company’s ongoing development strategy, which has benefited from a mix of organic growth and acquisition. Serving a range of industries, including retail, aerospace and electronics, the Reading-based business witnessed an upturn at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, with business levelling off in recent weeks. “Covid had limited impact on business as we initially saw an upturn with customers ordering for stock and while certain sectors that we supply, such as aerospace, dropped off dramatically, our spread of customers enabled us to continue to develop the business,” says Ashley Churchill, Director, JC Engineering Products.
The two new Timesavers machines, a 22 Series (22-900-W) machine for graining sheet material, along with a larger 32 Series (32-1100-WRb) that is capable of graining, deburring and radiussing thanks to the addition of rotating brushes. The latter was also equipped with a Climavent LW22P/5.5kW extraction system. These new machines will be running 8-9 hours/day, typically six days/week and the reliability of Timesavers and the support available has been central to JC Engineering Products’ relationship with Ellesco. “The service we receive from Ellesco is pivotal in our relationship. Machines will run perfectly for 99 per cent of the time, it is the one per cent where you need to know that you can rely on a supplier and manufacturer,” says Ashley Churchill. A prime example of this support was when the initial inquiry was made. “We visited Ellesco and took with us a selection of the most difficult components we could think of. Nigel, our machine operator was expecting Ellesco to struggle with some of them, but nothing posed a problem for them.”
JC Engineering Products focuses its attention on producing fine limit, high quality and accurate parts, along with the capability to meet customer needs in terms of lead times. The latter is part of the reason for buying two Timesavers at this time. The smaller of the two machines can handle deburring, while bringing in the larger 32 Series machine means that 2m x 1m sheet can now be processed, with the added advantage of deburring as well as graining. “The technology in the new Timesavers also eliminates some of the black art of graining and deburring, eliminating the manual skills we used to rely on.” Since the arrival of the 32 Series Nigel confirms that he has not had to manually deburr a single part. “Another advantage is that the 32 Series machine can deburr laser cut pieces with the protective plastic coating still in place. This means that after processing through the Timesavers machine, we can then bend the parts and the coating prevents any bend marks appearing on the part. We are also seeing significant time savings thanks to the ease of use and consistency of the Timesavers machines,” says Ashley Churchill.
JC Engineering will now dedicate two operators to these machines, father and son team Nigel and James. Nigel has experience of the old machines and now Ellesco has provided training on the new product. With the two machines located next to each other Nigel is passing on his knowledge to his son. “We always want a Plan B,” says Ashley Churchill. “So, having two operators capable of setting and running both machines gives us security of production.”
Other advantages that soon became apparent with the move to the latest technology included the working environment both external and internal of the machine. The Climavent 5.5kW extractor fitted to the 32 Series Timesavers is highly efficient at keeping the working area clean and free of dust. Internally, the new 32-Series machine has a self-cleaning capability and after a set amount of running will automatically go into a cleaning mode. This eliminates most manual intervention and ensures the machines are functioning at their optimum performance. The increased use of electronics and a reduced reliance on compressed air has also assisted the environment by reducing noise and energy costs.