Startup Returns to Roots To Generate Success

When an ex-employee had the ambition of setting up his own business, the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) provided both their blessing and support with a Nakamura-Tome machine tool. Whilst working as an applications engineer at ETG, Mike Jerdin’s personal circumstances changed and he needed to be close to his family, not on the road as the role required. Instead of finding a job on his doorstep, Mike ‘swung for the fences’, started MTT Engineering Ltd and bought a Nakamura-Tome WT150 – the results have been phenomenal.

Taking delivery of his new machine at the start of April, Mike always had the ambition of eventually having his own business; and as a Nakamura expert, he wouldn’t have wanted to start anywhere else. Recalling the situation, MTT Engineering’s Founder, Mike Jerdin says: “Most start-ups begin with a second-hand machine or two but working with Nakamura users during my 10 years at ETG, I knew that these machines deliver the competitive edge that I needed as a start-up. I spoke with the team at ETG and they helped me with a finance and support package that you wouldn’t get from any other machine tool supplier.”

Initially having challenges acquiring a local industrial unit, MTT Engineering has co-located with a fabrication business in Macclesfield – a partnership that is proving beneficial for both parties. As part of the start-up strategy, MTT Engineering is offering a fast-turnaround service to the subcontract and Tier 1 supply chain in the local area. Initially aimed at businesses running at capacity, MTT’s early customer base is reaping the rewards of the twin-spindle twin-turret Nakamura-Tome WT150. 

As Mike says: “I started the business with customers that would give me their overspill work when they are running at capacity. However, with its twin-spindle and twin-turret capabilities; I can manufacture the parts faster, to a higher standard of quality and precision and more cost-effectively than my clients. They recognise the benefits and profitability they are yielding from my service, so they are continually providing us with more work. This service is enabling my clients to reduce their lead times and win kudos from their customers based upon our quality, precision and speed of turnaround.”

The fledgling business is winning new business in the motorsport, mountain bike and F1 segments as well as the agricultural and food industries. Making anything from suspension components and bike forks to hygienic fittings, valves, rollers, driveshafts and specialist fasteners from steel, stainless and high-density plastics, the diversity of the workload is a fascinating challenge. A challenge that the Nakamura-Tome WT150 and the small business owner takes in its stride.

As Mike continues: “The USP for MTT Engineering is not just the machine, but my experience with the machine. The current workload is typically batches from 20 to 50-off with some longer runs. The Nakamura churns through this work at speed, so I can set the machine 2 to 3 times a day to prepare for the next job. With set-up times from 30 minutes to over 2 hours depending upon the complexity of the job, this may not be the ideal scenario for a machine of this stature, but it demonstrates that it can be done – and once it is set up, you won’t find a faster, more flexible machine than the WT150. I have sister tooling set-up for the machine, so this reduces both my set-up times and reduces my downtime.”

As a small business owner/operator, Mike is involved in everything from quoting, deliveries and marketing to running the machine. Alluding to how he ‘juggles the balls’, Mike says: “Once the machine is set up to run, it will run for a few hours – but the ambition is to get longer running projects that can run lights-out. The WT150 also has an Industry 4.0 remote monitoring system. As a small business owner, this is invaluable. I can remotely check in on the machine and its performance parameters at any time from anywhere. It will also send notifications to my phone if there is an alarm, a fault or something that requires attention. This gives me the confidence to leave the machine unattended in the knowledge that everything is running smoothly at optimum levels.” 

To maximise performance and optimise space, the machine has a 1m barfeed, Hainbuch collet chucks, and excellent driven tools. When combined with the twin spindles and twin turrets, the capability of the machine is incredible. “We have selected high-end cutting tool partners such as Walter for our turning tools, Ceratizit for our round shank tools and Emuge Franken for our threading lines, so our tool life is exceptional, and this optimises the performance of the machine.” 

Looking to the future, Mike concludes: “The business is off to a flying start. This is because I have positioned the business in a different niche from other start-ups. The Nakamura-Tome WT150 is a machine that delivers high quality, fast turnaround one-hit machining work that is the preserve of manufacturers supplying OEMs. This is winning plaudits with my customers in the subcontract supply chain as well as the Tier 1 and OEM segments. None of this would have been possible without the support of ETG and their team. After years of working on the Nakamura brand, I can testify to the machines being the most productive, precise, flexible and capable machines in the industry. The quality is beyond reproach and I wouldn’t want to buy any other brand.”

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