An inside view of two precision engineering operations in South Australia provides a valuable insight into the approaches skilled engineering shops are taking to achieve internationally competitive prices in high precision, quality components.

Kennewell CNC Machining is a precision engineering company based in Murray Bridge, South Australia which has successfully launched a project supported by the Government of South Australia’s Regional Development Fund, integrating a Fanuc Robot with the Genos M560V and purchasing the Okuma LB3000EX-II-MYWx800 Multi Axis CNC Lathe with OSP-P300L Control.

Established in 1995 Kennewell CNC Machining was already an important Okuma customer over many years and Managing Director Brett Kennewell had served his apprenticeship on Okuma machines more than 25 years ago. “The Okuma machines are robustly built for stability and precision - as an example our eleven year-old machine, is still operating and is as accurate today as it was on installation,” said Brett Kennewell. “Okuma personnel do everything they can to assist us with technical advice and support which is readily available locally and remotely. The ongoing training is a key factor in the relationship with this partner as we strive to make use of every technological feature within the Okuma machines,” he said.

Intensive on-going training has been provided by Okuma in API Software and additional Apps in a strong partnership relationship that provides peace of mind.

The Development Grant is allowing the company to push towards full automation with the use of Multi-Axis precision machines coupled with robotics to allow the operation to run 24 hours / 7 days along with communication monitoring from anywhere via the internet.

“The most recently commissioned Okuma machine provides spindle speeds almost double that of current machines with Hi Cut Pro accuracy and a controller jam packed with features. Anti-vibration technology eliminates harmonic problems resulting in longer tool life and improved surface finish. Customer demands on some products has required us to double our output without jeopardising the quality and at the same time retain a competitive advantage against international competition. This latest investment is enabling us to retain production within Australia rather than it being redirected overseas,” commented Brett.

To inspire members of the Kennewell Machining team, Managing Director Brett Kennewell sent three of his personnel to the USA to attend the Okuma 2017 Winter Showcase for Training and Information where the very latest technology was on show. The three were also privileged to see this technology in operation in a real world environment during conducted tours of some of the most advanced engineering shops in the USA, opening their eyes to the use of advanced CNC machines to the maximum of their capacity and utilising all of the Okuma technology. Since their return from Okuma America the company is pushing further advancements in automation. Brett sees collaborative robots, upgraded machine tools and bar feeders and metrology to enhance and increase productivity.

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The market for this enterprising company is Australia wide with indirect export sales via customers. Its diverse range of products and components include intricate clinical devices, components for agricultural, mining and defence machinery and motor sport.

‘It is my view that the Australian economy will be buoyed by the introduction of advanced technology and investment, creating exciting career opportunities for young people in manufacturing, design and development,” said Brett. “We are privileged to own Okuma machines and we know that the machine itself is never the limit as we move to operate these to the maximum of their capacity with the use of advanced technology, tooling and advanced communications,” he said.

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NYLASTEX Engineering Solutions is a South Australian manufacturing business that produces plastic injection moulds, special purpose built equipment and conducts precision machining services and fabrication of complex metal and non-metal products for their clients. The company operates from its 2000 square metre modern facility at Edwardstown.  Products are manufactured by Nylastex for a diverse range of industries, including key companies in the mining, defence, construction, agricultural and renewable energy sectors.

Nylastex has been in business for 27 years with current owners Geoff and Winnie Philips and has built a reputation for innovative thinking and consistently high quality machining processes.  These qualities have allowed Nylastex to retain and build its customer base and diversity away from the automotive industry over the last decade.  This diversification coupled with Laser Scanning, 3D design, high-tech machinery and skilled qualified personnel provides Nylastex with the capability to complete projects from concept to final commissioning followed by after sales service.

The company has ISO 9001:2015 Accreditation, along with a NATA Accredited laboratory for metrology and calibration operating from the same premises.

Nylastex has had a strong relationship with Okuma which spans more than eight years and has invested heavily in high end manufacturing equipment, with the latest investment being the Okuma LB3000EX-II-BMYC Multi Axis CNC Lathe with OSP-P300L Control complete with full length bar feeder and product unloader.  The new machine complements two other similarly optioned machines but has additional features including ECO suite energy saving functionality.  The combination of the three machines positioned within close proximity to each other can provide 50% more capacity and may have just one operator at times. 

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Nylastex now has six Okuma CNC Machines within its facility, capable of machining components up to 400mm diameter x 2000mm long on CNC Lathes and 1000mm x 500mm travel on CNC Mills with integrated 4th axis.

“With improved tool change features, the machines are ideally suited for both short and long production runs and our production can also cater for both large and small customers” said Geoff Philips.  “Our machine operators get great job satisfaction from producing high quality precision components on these excellent machines” he said.

Okuma was selected because of its performance, consistent stability, service, technical support and training, all available from their Adelaide office.

There is an air of confidence going into the future for this quality precision machining company with long term contracts and customers’ experiencing strong growth.