Increasing Capacity and Automation for Millfield Precision Engineering

Kris Averill with SR20JII

Established in 2011, Millfield Precision Engineering Limited is a specialist subcontract manufacturer, based in Chard, Somerset. Having started out just 10 years ago in a timber shed on a farm, with a £5,000 credit card and a little bit of cash – they now occupy premises of 3,000 square foot on an industrial estate and are looking to expand.

Kris Averill, managing director of Millfield commented, “Those first few years were tough, especially in the winter, but it was worth it – turnover is now in a month what it used to be in a year, in our best month we turned over £70,000.”

Millfield now have a well-established customer base, with a variety of contracts for precision parts and are further investing in their own business to satisfy ever increasing order volumes. Their newest investment is a Star SR20J II Type A Sliding Head Lathe, chosen for both its reliability and versatility.

“Our turning work had reached capacity, and with new contracts coming in we needed to make sure we had the right equipment to meet our customers’ requirements. Star have a great reputation for the reliability of their kit and we’ve experienced that ourselves – we’ve already seen a 30-50% increase in productivity compared to our previous production process on the same parts, so the machine is quickly paying for itself”, explained Kris.

Steven Pizzey

The upturn in productivity enables Millfield to satisfy existing contracts as well as providing them with the scope to explore new business opportunities. The SR20J is incredibly versatile in what it can produce and requires very little operator intervention, Kris often runs the machine 24 hours a day, monitoring production via cameras, again extending how much they can produce without increasing headcount.

Prior to this investment, Kris had never utilised funding outside of his credit card or cash reserves, however, this being his largest expenditure to date, he had to look at his options. Following an introduction to Deborah at Compass Business Finance, she explained the types of funding available, enabling Kris to make an informed decision.

“I hadn’t needed finance to pay for previous machines, so doing this for the first time was a bit unnerving, but Debs made the process painless and easy. She kept me informed throughout and I was actually surprised at how quickly everything came together. We’re now looking at some further investments and I’ll definitely be talking to Debs again”, said Kris.

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