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The challenge

In our seveneth month we ‘re looking at our new machine investments for 2017/2018  and the overall shop floor efficiency’s.

​Our Operations Manager, Michael Newman, introduces this month’s  first continual improvement by discussing the benefits our new capital investments will bring to our shop floor and the impact this has on our customers.  

​For our second case study Machine Shop Manager, Paul Coupland, takes a look back on our continual improvements and efficiencies made so far throughout our campaign.

Everything we do is precision focused so our task was to find those small areas of improvement and showcase how they make an overall big improvement.

Next month we’ll be looking at continual improvements within our research and development department, voted for on a recent case study Twitter poll.

New machine investments at Tridan-

​Yamazaki Mazak & Quickturn 200MSY Smooth G

Tridan Engineering are proud to announce another new addition to its mill / turn capability. We will receive our new Quickturn MSY in December of this year.

​This machine has a second spindle allowing us to complete parts in “one hit” compared to conventional single spindle machines. In addition to this it has full “Y” axis capability giving the opportunity for complete milling cycles to be performed. So not only will we be able to complete turning operations in one there will be no need for other operations to be performed by our milling section. Components will be produced in one cycle reducing cycle and set up times whilst reducing overall non-conforming parts due to the lack of manual intervention between operations.

​The machine boasts the latest Mazak control, the Smooth G system which has touch screen functionality for ease of use. The system also allows computer generated models to be imported and programmed from thus reducing set up times further.

Incorporating a fully programmable “C” axis to 0.001-degree increments gives this machine unique versatility.

​We expect to see at least 37.5% improvements in efficiency from conventional CNC lathes and will free up around 40% capacity from our Mini Mill cell. Combined with lights out machining opportunities we will see an extra 90 hours plus extra capacity.

​In April of next year, the Tridan portfolio of machinery will be added to with another Yamazaki Mazak Variaxis i500 SmoothX twin pallet machine. The business already runs these machines with huge success. It has full simultaneous 5 axis capability allowing contouring of complex parts and “one hit” machining of more conventional parts which would usually take three to six operations on 3 and 4 axis machines.

​The Variaxis is equipped with Mazak’s latest control, the SmoothX system which is fully touch screen ready. This in conjunction with our suite of off-line programming software sees minimal set up times on even the most complex of parts.

​We will be linking the machine to a six-pallet automated system, the Palletech made by Mazak. The system increases the two-pallet machine to six allowing multiple parts to be machined without loading. The Palletech is also fully programmable with its own scheduling system to allow different operations of the same part or completely different parts to be ran in one set-up.

​Lights out machining opportunities with this configuration is also a huge benefit. We will see 20 hours a day extra capacity and running out of hours to realise 120 hours plus machining a week. Pallets can be set up while the machine is running on alternative pallets making down time a thing of the past.

​The Palletech system is also of a modular design so can be added to with further pallets and machines.

Review of our continual improvement’s so far-

​Within a blink of an eye, 6 months have past since we started our Challenge Tr1dan, so for this month I though it would be good to have a review and report on the improvements we have implemented.

May: CNC milling & one machinist – two machines

In May I talked about the Trochoidal milling trials that we were undertaking. This milling strategy has proved to be so beneficial in terms of tooling costs and time savings, that we have now made this our default strategy, and this has been implemented into not only new parts, but also our historical parts.

​Our new 5-axis is still proving its worth, and has continued to provide gains in setting and running against some of our older style machines, a fact that has contributed to 2 more machines being placed on order with Mazak for delivery early 2018.

​The second part of the month William Vaughan-Chatfield discussed our drive to reduce downtime and make better use of in cycle run time. By selective planning and having the right machinist on the right job, we have managed to reduce our lost time as company month on month, in fact we were in the black on planned to actual times for the month of October. A great effort by all involved.


We handed the reigns over to our turning department for June with the Supervisor Tom Kidd providing an insight into his Apprentice Mentoring role and our approach to our apprentice intake. One of our 2nd year apprentices Matt Myles provided an insight of how he feels about his role and the training he receives. Matt has passed his 2nd year and is currently progressing well in his 3rd year training. Matt has quickly established himself as a competent turner, and is a valued member of the Tridan Team. We have another apprentice to our team, Jordan, who has joined our CNC Milling team.

Trochoidal turning was our 2nd case study of the month, with the problem of removing large amounts of material from Titanium without the associated heat and movement. We approached one of our tooling suppliers who suggested Trochoidal turning. Using code supplied by our tooling company we made the necessary changes required to the machine in terns of being able to read the code. Significant improvements in chip removal rates and cycle times were seen, as well as an improvement in the stability of the part during machining.


Michael Newman, our Operation Manager, provided an insight into the changes we are making to reduce our footprint on the environment, from a change of process to reduce paper usage, to the introduction of LED lighting throughout the building. Since this case study we have been re-certificated to ISO14001. 

​We also made some significant changes to our fleet of company vehicles, placing fuel consumption and carbon emissions at the front of our search. We now have a van with class leading fuel economy figures, as well as a hybrid company vehicle for our MD. The use of couriers has also led to a reduction of fuel costs and mileage.

August: HR & Jigs and fixtures

With the summer sunshine blazing, Paul Hawkins, our MD, spoke about our people strategy, from the way we encourage individual growth to a change in how we manage people as a company, including an introduction into our ASR process and the communication this gives us with our employees. Paul also spoke about the quarterly company newsletter that has been introduced. This is still being well received and provides all with an insight into the company.

​The second half of August I discussed our ability to manufacture all our own jigs and fixtures onsite, giving us the ability to have full control of the manufacture process, from design through to production, we can provide the complete service to our customers.

September: day to night shift & new bms as9100

Communication was the spur for our case study, particularly how to get the best communication between the shifts that we operate. By moving one of our skilled Supervisors (Jerry) on the day shift to Supervisor for the night shift, we were able to instantly improve the communication received between the two shifts. This communication between shifts is then re-laid though 2 production meetings held daily, morning and afternoon. We also moved another of our skilled machinists (Matt) onto the nightshift with the intention of him learning his supervisory skills from the existing Supervisor. Matt took the role under his wing so well, that the we promoted Matt to a supervisory role.

​Michael Newman introduced us to the new BMS that we implemented, explaining the thinking behind the change, and the benefits the change would bring. Since going live, we have attained our Rev D status as well as ISO14001 for 2015. We now have a system that works for us, not us for it.


Paul Vaclavik, one of our Quality Inspectors, provided us with an insight on the role the inspection department has within the company, and how forward planning within the department, helps to reduce the amount of downtime that the shop floor has.  The processes that Paul discussed have contributed to the gains we have seen in production efficiency.

As you can see, we all have a role to play in the process, and every small change we make is starting to have larger effects on the process. As we like to say, Tridan are the essential engineering component, you don’t just get one of us, you get all of us.