Dugard delivers for Dicker

Located near Eastbourne on the South Coast, Dicker Precision Components Ltd has recently taken delivery of yet another machining centre from Dugard Machine Tools. As a subcontract manufacturer serving a diverse range of industries from the medical and aerospace to the offshore, subsea and MoD; Dicker Precision needed a high-quality machine from a supplier with a track record of delivering within a short turnaround – Dugard was the first name on the company’s radar.

Based in Hailsham in Sussex, Dicker Precision was founded in 1973 – and for much of this existence, the ISO: 9001 certified manufacturer has purchased machine tools from Brighton-based Dugard. Asked why the company keeps specifying Dugard Machine Tools, Managing Director at Dicker Precision Mark Love says: “They have always been very good to us – and we have worked with Dugard for 30+ years. We’ve had quite several Dugard machines down the years, and we get a very good level of service. Furthermore, they are just down the road from us – it just makes sense. With regards to the latest machine, Dugard had a machine in stock and available that we needed, that is one of the reasons why we went for it.”

Dicker Precision has recently taken delivery of a Dugard 1100 vertical machining centre to complement its existing range of Dugard machine tools that include a Dugard 1000Y Plus and a heavyweight Dugard 1886B HD with a 4th axis and a BT50 spindle taper. Looking at the latest acquisition, Mark says: “I went to Dugard to see the machine and it was in the showroom with the guarding off, so I could see the build quality of the machine. The price point of the machine is particularly good, especially considering the extras we have on the machine. We bought the machine – and it was in and running within two weeks.”

Taking a look at the extra features on the machine, Mark adds: “We have taken the machine with a Nikken 4th axis unit, and we also have Renishaw probing, which makes everything so much easier. This saves a huge amount of time, so we don’t need to get the clock out – it makes life a lot easier and it’s well worth the investment. I have an app on my phone, so we can put one line of code in, and it runs perfectly.”

The machine has also been supplied with features such as through coolant, referring to this, Mark continues: “We use the through coolant facility quite a lot and with carbide drilling, we would not buy a machine without through coolant nowadays. The machine also has an extremely useful air blast, as we do a lot of dry cutting on stainless steel. Overall, this machine has been a cracking deal.”

“We are very happy with the machine. It was originally bought to replace an older machine that we were having reliability issues with. Now we have the new Dugard machine, it literally hasn’t stopped working since it was installed and it has significantly increased our capacity.”

Looking at the work on the new Dugard 1100 VMC installation, Mark continues: “The machine has only processed stainless steel so far. It is cutting stainless all day long, and it will be for the foreseeable future. We tend to put long cycle time jobs on the machine, as it will just run and run – it also allows our operator to go and work on other machines simultaneously. The Dugard 1100 machine has been programmed to be ‘safe’, as it doesn’t matter if the machining time is five minutes longer because our operator can work on other machines at the same time. Sometimes we make the cycle times slightly longer and safer, or we put more than one component on the machine, so our staff can then get on with other jobs. Some of the jobs on the new Dugard machine have been run for a long time, so we know how long the cutting tool tips last – the machine virtually runs itself.”

The new Dugard 1100 machining centre has been supplied to Dicker Precision with the latest Mitsubishi CNC system, alluding to this, Mark concludes: “The CNC has a touchscreen, and it has some interesting quirks to it, but in all honesty, it is no different to operate than a FANUC control system. There may be a couple of G-Codes and M-Codes that are slightly different, but for all the programs we are running on our other Dugard machines that are all FANUC controlled, we can transfer to the new machine with just a couple of tweaks. It has very fast processing on it, and it is quicker than our FANUC CNC machines, so we could run faster machining cycles if we wanted to.”