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Doncasters invests in lean technologies

Doncasters Group Ltd., a leading manufacturer of precision-engineered components for the aerospace sector, has invested more than £1.3 million in new technologies at its Doncasters Aerospace Components business (Whitchurch Road, Shrewsbury). The investment supports lean initiatives at the site and is a crucial part of the Group's focus on developing its engine-ready capability for customers.

£675,000 has been invested in upgrading and expanding the site's plasma spray facilities, including a new high velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) machine, while a further £650,000 has been invested in a CO2 laser, bringing this valuable service in house.

By investing in enhanced finishing capabilities, Doncasters can now offer customers the engine-ready benefits of a truly integrated internal supply chain, maximising value at every stage of the manufacturing process from superalloy production, forging, casting and fabricating to conventional and specialist machining and coating techniques.

The benefits are already beginning to be felt at Doncasters Aerospace Components, where investment combined with a series of lean projects has seen it significantly reduce manufacturing lead times, enhancing customer service and increasing manufacturing capacity.

Craig Gooding, Divisional Managing Director of Doncasters Fabrications and Combustors division, said: "Deciding to invest in new technology, particularly during an economic downturn, is always something of a judgement call but the improvements we have seen in terms of more efficient production and enhanced value for customers more than justify the investment.

"Using the CO2 laser has enabled us to reduce lead times for some components by 75% with the manufacture of some components being reduced from eight steps to just one! 35 components have now been transferred to the programme with a further 75 earmarked to join them over the coming months."

Utilising CO2 laser technology for cutting and trimming work can remove several steps from the component manufacturing processes as there is no re-cast layer. This eliminates some of the time previously spent cleaning and dressing edges before going on to the next stage of production.

HVOF technology is used to spray protective coatings onto components at higher temperatures than was previously possible, improving performance by offering customers lower porosity and higher bond strength than their traditionally sprayed counterparts.

While the investment in new machinery is certainly significant, Doncasters is confident that it would not have achieved such impressive results without an equal investment in training its team.

Craig continued: "While every company has to look at ways of introducing efficiencies and making savings during the downturn, we have also been conscious of the need to keep an eye on the future.

"As well as upgrading machinery and enhancing our capabilities, we have also been investing time and energy in upskilling our workforce, empowering them to make positive changes across the business.

"We now have 45 green belts and four black belts at Doncasters Aerospace Components, with four black belt projects already completed and a further 35 green belt projects currently live across the business.

"Every employee is involved in at least one lean project and it is this commitment to continuous improvement, supported by strategic technology investments and a Group-wide ability to maximise efficiencies at every stage of component production, that will ensure we are well placed to support customers through the challenges ahead."

Doncasters Aerospace Components manufactures and repairs combustors, as well as manufacturing turbine blades and vanes, for customers in the aerospace and power generation markets.

Press release issued by Doncasters Group Ltd on July 19, 2010


 Contact details from our directory:
Doncasters Group Ltd Superalloys, Casting, APU Components, Brake System Components, Turbine Engine Blades, Compressors, Fans, Exhaust Systems, Metal & Alloy Forgings, Engine Parts, Fabricating Services, Fasteners, Plasma Spraying


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