Offering the perfect mix of experience and technology

19th December 2014 - Fine Cut

When it comes to manufacturing, there are two areas that can really define the quality of a business. 

These are the level of experience of its personnel and the technology they have access to that enables them to do their job effectively. 

It can be argued the two are dependent on one another, as without that practical knowledge staff will struggle to get the most out of the machines they operate. Similarly, skilled engineers will find their talents limited if they are working with outdated facilities.

At Fine Cut, we recognise just how important this balance is - which is why we're continuing to invest not only in the latest technology but also the continual development of our staff.

The most recent example of this is the acquisition of our second 5-Axis machining centre and state-of-the-art Faro measuring and scanning arm.

This represents a significant step forward for us, as it enables us to shape and cut aluminium and composite metals in any shape or form. Composites are used in many of the industries that we work with, including the avionic, military and motorsport sectors.

"From a business point of view, it certainly opens doors for us," says tooling manager Grant Sutherland. "Unless your machine has got a full carbon fibre kit on it, you can't cut composite materials because they hold static electricity and that fries computers very quickly.

What's more, the large 3.6 m by 2.6 m bed means our highly-skilled team will be able to offer further support to our customers by offering an even greater range of services than before.

The addition of the Faro arm gives us the ability to offer something we've never been able to before - creating full inspection reports on the work we produce.

"It's what people expect nowadays, things aren't just run over with a ruler," Grant says. "It's highly accurate, complicated work, and people want to know they're getting exactly what they asked for.

"You can clip it onto any machine and tell instantly if it's doing the work correctly. We can now send a part to anywhere in the world with a full inspection report and our customers can pick it up and feel happy they don't have to carry out inspections of their own - they have everything in writing."

However, you could argue that any piece of machinery, no matter how cutting edge, is only as good as its operator. Thankfully, we can match our technology with some of the finest engineers in the country.

"We've always prided ourselves on our quality. We're only a small band but the quality we produce is second to none," Grant explains.

"One of the people we've got was my apprentice when he was 17 and he's now 40  - he's been machining all those years. Another guy is an ex McLaren Formula One machinist and he's a great asset to the company."

The investment we've made recently, thanks to the support of the Coast to Capital Regional Growth Fund, will enable us to cut down delivery times and take on bigger volumes of work. Job quotes of eight weeks can be cut to four weeks, and in an industry where time is of the essence, that makes a big difference.

So what about the future for Fine Cut?

Grant says: "My five-year plan is to acquire another machine and run a 24/7 factory. We want to bring in another couple of people and start running a double shift - and that's when things will really take off.

"If you get the workload and keep customers happy, they'll return to you. It's what we always strive to do - keep delivery dates on time and keep quality to a premium. Stick to that mantra and you can't go wrong, can you?"

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