A business that was started on the kitchen table of its founder David Thompson as a designer and assembler of ruggedised fanless computers, with the company outsourcing and offshoring all of its chassis machining to suppliers in China. As the business grew the logistics of shipping from China, and the associated risks of products being copied, saw the decision taken to bring the majority of machining back to the UK and more specifically in-house, choosing XYZ Machine Tools as its supplier for vertical machining centre capacity.
Tranquil PC’s products address the environmental issue of noise from multiple computers operating in office environment as well as providing solutions for computing in harsh environments as the lack of a fan provides silent operation and prevents any ingress of dust or other debris giving their products high IP ratings, a further advantage of which is the reduction in maintenance time and costs, and vastly increasing typical PC life expectancy. Customers are mainly B2B enterprises from diverse industries, with the Royal mail for instance having over 2000 units installed. With volumes such as this controlling manufacturing, particularly machining of the aluminium cases became a priority. “Certain issues arose with our machining partners in China, so we decided in 2011 to begin our machine tool investment,” says Phillip Thompson, Director, Tranquil PC. “That first move was to purchase an XYZ Minimill 560, initially for R&D work. That machine was soon working to capacity seven days a week not only on R&D, but also production. To ease the workload, we added two XYZ 710 vertical machining centres to create our first machining cell.”
Mr Thompson admits that at the time neither he or the machine operators were ‘seasoned machinists or programmers’ but the XYZ machines provided the ideal introduction thanks to the ease of use of the Siemens control systems and the level of support they could call on from XYZ Machine Tools. These first three machines contributed significantly to the overall growth of the business thanks to shorter lead times by eliminating the logistics of outsourcing, volumes could be managed much more efficiently and a much greater degree of flexibility was created, with the ability to quickly adapt designs to suit individual customers. The level of support from XYZ Machine Tools was integral to the next phase of investment that saw an additional XYZ 710 VMC and another MiniMill 560 installed to meet demand.
With these machines in place and running five days a week, 8 hours a day, Tranquil PC wanted to complete its second machining cell, but with changes to the XYZ line-up the XYZ 710 VMC had been superceded, with the choice now being the XYZ 750 LR or the XYZ 800 HD. “It was here that our longstanding relationship with XYZ came to the fore, they understood what we needed and how we work and immediately put forward the XYZ 750 LR as the machine to go for, equipped with Renishaw probing as fitted to all our other machines,” says Phillip Thompson. “The XYZ machines we have are used as pure production machines removing high volumes of material as due to the nature of the work everything comes from billet aluminium, from which we will remove 60/70 per cent to achieve a finished part.”
The XYZ 750 LR is part of the latest linear rail series of machines from XYZ Machine Tools and the development of the rail technology combined with the robust construction of the XYZ machines is presenting a highly capable machining platform, irrespective of material being cut. The use of linear rail technology delivers a cost advantage to the customer, while still delivering the quality and performance expected from an XYZ machine tool. Apart from the linear rail technology users can also benefit from other advantages with these machines, such as improved swarf evacuation and the optional 24 position arm-type toolchanger is a benefit to us. “In-house machining has definitely been a driver of our growth and now that Tranquil PC is part of the French IT group 2CRSI, we have significant plans for further investment and growth of not only our UK manufacturing capability but also the creation of a similar facility in Switzerland to meet demand.”
The six XYZ VMCs at Tranquil PC are helping drive business growth that will see further expansion and investment.
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