In Norwich, England, a precision engineering subcontractor serving uses a combination of novel workholding and Edgecam software to protect its margins, as customers demand price cuts, and material and consumable costs rise. Milltech Precision Engineering Ltd.’s manufactures high-value components in low volumes, for medical, aerospace, nuclear/oil/gas, marine, mechanical handling, packaging, automotive and motor sport customers.

According to operations director Darren Osborne, absolute precision is vitally important to the shop’s work. “Without precision we don’t have a business – and Edgecam gives us that precision,” he said.

Edgecam is a CAM program developed by the Vero Software Group that combines sophisticated toolpath generation with seamless CAD integration, thereby offering a complete solution for milling, turning and mill-turn programming.

The components that Milltech produces are used as connectors for robot arms that inspect the inside of nuclear cores; or, for oil-and-gas subsea equipment, for down-hole drilling and wellhead control. Other applications include suspension assemblies, braking systems, and prototypes for the development of fuel efficiency and emission controls for the automotive industry; packaging equipment; camera parts, along with stainless steel ventilator tubes and CT housings for the medical industry; and rear wing parts for Formula 1 cars.

Mike Ottolangui, managing director of Milltech, which has an estimated $5.5-million turnover, with 38 employees, said the greatest threat to his firm’s growth has been the nationwide shortage of skilled craftsmen. But, since installing Edgecam last year (on the advice of a customer that is long-standing Edgecam user), just one manufacturing engineer, Daniel Clements, handles all the programming that would have required eight people to complete previously.

Edgecam drives Milltech’s 21 Haas machining centers, including two 4-axis horizontal mills, and plans are well advanced to bring it in for their 18 lathes.