Kingsbury’s INDEX MS40 helps in the fight against COVID-19
Based in Welwyn Garden City, Unicut Precision is a subcontract manufacturer for some of the transport, power and pneumatic industry’s biggest names.
A long-standing client of Kingsbury, Unicut Precision recently invested in an INDEX MS40 – a multi-spindle machine which can be used to build a variety of parts. Although Unicut aren’t afraid to invest in new machinery, the company’s Managing Director, Jason Nicholson, will be the first to admit that the investment was an entrepreneurial leap.
He explains, “We bought the machine with some work in mind but it was a bit of a gamble. Work that was coming in was only making use of part of the capacity.”
However, as Jason soon discovered, this gamble would pay off.
The race to produce ventilator parts
Until last month, the MS40 was used to build parts for the so-called ‘yellow-goods industry’ but when COVID-19 began to take hold, everything changed. After the Government’s ventilator announcement, orders came in quickly for Unicut. The company has agreed to produce up to 780,000 critical components over the next seven weeks, which is something that Jason admits they’d be in no position to tackle without the MS40.
“The MS40 is very flexible which has allowed us to fulfil the demand for ventilator parts.” He adds, “The capabilities on the machine have assisted with some of the higher-volume medical parts.”
When orders came in, Jason’s team hit the ground running. “We now have 31 different components that we’ve never made before, running through the factory, all at substantial volumes to support the ventilator builds.”
Due to the vital role that these ventilator parts will play in hospitals, a high degree of precision is required. “Because of the nature of the job, it has to be spot on. People’s lives are depending on companies like ours to deliver parts on time. There is no margin for error.”
However, precision is something that the MS40 delivers on, and at a cost that Jason believes isn’t as large as others in the industry maintain.
“One of the things I find with this particular machine is that a lot of people think it’ll be very expensive, but it really isn’t. The MS40 produces parts much faster and at the end of the day, it’s all about the cost-per-part.”
What does the future hold for Unicut Precision?
Jason and his team are not only grateful for the steady stream of work their purchase of the MS40 has provided for them, they are proud to be helping in the UK’s fight against COVID-19.
“You look at the people that are in the NHS and you feel for them. For Unicut, it’s a chance to support something. At least, doing this, we feel like we can still play a part. Okay, we’re not key frontline workers but we still get to make a difference.”
During these unprecedented times, British manufacturing has played a crucial role in supporting the national effort to produce ventilators. Jason remarks, “It’s really refreshing to see how, at times like these, people really step up. We’ve lent tools to competitors. Kingsbury provided the programming on the MS40 free of charge. At the end of the day, we’re pulling together right the way through the supply chain.”
Jason hopes that this mutually-supportive environment will continue after the ventilator initiative is complete.
“I hope that, after this, people will begin to look at UK manufacturing in a different light. It is very easy to just look at cost. That’s the one thing we’re constantly competing against. In future, I hope that buyers and OEMs feel a responsibility to source from the UK if they can.”
Without the MS40, Jason believes Unicut would not have been in a position to take on the ventilator work, or to keep to the timeframes required. “With the MS40, we started turning parts within three or four days from receiving the drawings, helping us to produce the parts accurately and on time.”
To find out more about the INDEX MS40, get in touch with Kingsbury today.