Cornwall-based DP Engineering, one of the most trusted engineering companies in the UK, has seen a challenging 18 months due to COVID-19. One of their key sectors; Aerospace was significantly impacted, and orders slowed as a result. However, the business remained positive and stayed fully open through this challenging period, and was keen to prepare itself for recovery.
Building Business Resilience...
At a time when subdued orders meant lower profits, DP Engineering made the bold decision to invest in the very latest machining equipment to build a stronger, more resilient business in readiness for recovery. The business invested in 3 state-of-the-art machining centres: 2 multi axis automated sliding head lathes, and a 10 Pallet 5 axis CNC machining centre. These machines utilise some of the latest, cutting-edge technology, and are all capable of ‘lights out’ operation, which brought about a significant step-change for the business.
Addressing current challenges through new technology…
Like many businesses, DP Engineering has experienced ongoing challenges around skills and recruitment. One of the planned benefits of the new equipment was to reduce reliance on highly skilled staff to operate machines.
Using advanced automation technology, their new machines can run ‘lights out’ throughout the night, lowering the staff count needed for the unpopular night shift. This provides an opportunity for key operational staff to be trained during the day shift, developing their capabilities and enabling skilled staff to concentrate on the higher value, more complex jobs on other machining centres.
Using cutting edge, Industry 4.0 technology and data systems, the new machines can also connect seamlessly to other business systems to make vital process information available in real-time. This enables a much higher degree of process performance monitoring. Coupled with industry-leading capabilities like LFV (Low-Frequency Vibration), the new equipment gives significant benefits in terms of speed, capacity, accuracy, and optimised tool management.
Further Investments and Future Plans…
This recent investment represents a real step-change for DP Engineering, putting them firmly back on the leading edge of their competition. This bold move has also had a knock-on effect, prompting further investment in automated CNC inspection systems that are also highly interconnected to other business systems. This provides not only internal confidence in process performance, but also verification for their most demanding customers.
SWMAS has been supporting DP Engineering for almost 20 years and, in this time, has seen the business go from strength to strength through several challenging economic periods. Most recently, support has been provided through the Cornwall Manufacturing Advisory Programme (CMAP). Since April 2020, the business has attended a number of SWMAS' Manufacturing Resilience webinars to help them address a range of topics and challenges, and we were also able to arrange a grant to help support the investment in their additional CMM technology.
SWMAS look forward to seeing this forward-thinking company's achievements over the next 20 years, and continuing to support them as and when they need it.
Paul Gilbert , Manufacturing Specialist