DNC solutions from MCS are helping a leading precision engineering company to stay agile.
For over 50 years, Whiteley Brooks Engineering has supplied high quality machined components to customers in automotive, medical, defence, diesel test, additive layer manufacturing and Formula 1 motorsport. The company has consistently maintained a commitment to quality and is ISO 9001-approved.
Since it was established, Whiteley Brooks Engineering has stayed at the forefront of technological development. As part of this, the company has been a long-term user of DNC5000 for the transfer of its NC programs. The system has grown over the past few years with it now having a total of 44 connected machines. This complexity increasingly called for a new approach. Eirinn Turner, Director at Whiteley Brooks Engineering, explains:
“The way we used to work was through an RS232 switch box on the wall to switch to the various CNCs that we run. However, the cabling was slow and cumbersome, and we were having to do the archiving and saving of the programs manually and on a daily basis to keep it manageable. With a change of staff, we decided
that the software route was the right way to go. We had worked with MCS through their previous connection with Edgecam. We liked the look of the software and the choice of working with MCS was a no-brainer. We got rid of the old RS232 cabling and MCS completed the entire transfer of the programs, so it was seamless.”
How does the old way of working compare with the new approach? Eirinn says:
“Compared with what we had before, it’s night and day really. It’s easier, quicker and more efficient. Now it’s so much easier to keep hold of the programs. Everything has been automatically archived. We no longer have situations where people are downloading programs that are being worked in because the system locks them while they are being used. It’s really worked very well. Previously, there were situations where programs went missing or weren’t saved. Now, because it’s all automatic, you can’t make a mistake. Our customers appreciate automated software systems that take care of things. In fact, this more streamlined approach is one of the things our customers look for when they audit us. When they order parts, they want to make sure that they are getting the right issue of a specific part. The system that MCS has installed does that perfectly.”
This kind of change can be daunting. How did the team at Whiteley Brooks Engineering find the process?
“We had 15,000 different CNC programmes. It took MCS about a week in total to make the changeover. We did some pre-planning and loaded the programmes into the machines. The change didn’t affect the business unduly. Previously, just one person in our company was responsible for managing all our NC programs, and we picked it up when he was away. It was a daily chore which took about at least an hour every day. Now we have it on three different PCs, shared between three different people and it’s a job that takes just a couple of minutes. It’s so much easier. Because it’s flagging all the changes that have been made on the shop floor, you can have a quick look through, make sure you agree with the edits and save it with a click of the button, safe in the knowledge that you’ve got your original, you’ve got your new program back and that any subsequent changes made have been archived so you can get hold of any of those.”
Does Eirinn have any advice for other companies thinking about making the move to using software like that offered through MCS?
“It’s best to be forward-thinking when it comes to these things. I think everybody’s a bit suspicious sometimes of labour-saving technology, especially software, but it really was the right choice for us. It has saved us literally weeks and weeks every year that we would have shuffling programs and doing paperwork. It all happens in the background now and hasn’t let us down in any way, shape or form. For any minor issues, we’ve had, the response from MCS is very quick.
He points out that the change has also had an impact on the wider business:
“Without the new system from MCS, we wouldn’t be spending so much time going out and getting new work and making sure that the work is delivered on time! It more than pays for itself on a year by year basis. Our old system was a time-consuming operation. Because there were a lot of stages, there was plenty of scope for human error. The new software is not only saving us time, but our customers are also very impressed when they see that all of our NC programs are being seamlessly managed behind the scenes.”
For more information about Whiteley Brooks Engineering, visit https://whiteleybrooks.co.uk/