Quickgrind Breathes Life into Ventilator Challenge Project
Unprecedented circumstances such as the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic can often amplify our focus on what is important, from a personal and business perspective. With so much of the manufacturing supply chain now involved in the production of PPE and the Ventilator Challenge UK, the industry is now turning to cutting tool manufacturers that can supply high-quality products with rapid turnaround times and preferably a UK manufactured product –Quickgrind is meeting this criterion for the industry.
The Tewkesbury based cutting tool manufacturer has long been emphasising its ability to manufacture cutting tools to end-user specifications at turnaround times unparalleled in the industry. With supply chain urgency magnified by the Coronavirus pandemic, Quickgrind is stepping up to the mark. Produmax, a Shipley based company involved in the Ventilator Challenge received an urgent order for critical ventilator components. To manufacture the small turned parts, the business required 1.15mm flat bottom drills.
When it comes to urgency, Quickgrind is a company familiar to dealing in minutes and hours rather than days and weeks. As Quickgrind’s Mike Stobart recalls: “We received the enquiry with a component drawing at 15.52 and by 17.14 we sent a CAD drawing of the tool to Produmax for approval, this was subsequently signed-off and an order was placed in less than 10 minutes. Fifteen minutes later the production order was issued to the shop floor and the 6-off drills were completed and through inspection by 20.35 – just 4hours and 33minutes from drawing to completion. Due to the urgency of the work, the customer drove 3 hours to Tewkesbury to collect the drills at 23.15 – this was mission completed in less than 8 hours. For most cutting tool companies this would be impossible, but at Quickgrind, high-quality bespoke tooling with unparalleled service levels is what our business is all about.”
Another customer involved in the Ventilator Challenge UK sent an enquiry to Quickgrind on Thursday for a solid carbide 80° 6.00mm diameter single flute D-bit. The brass rotary airflow valve bases being produced had to be delivered by the Sunday – just three days later. Appreciating the urgency, the enquiry that Quickgrind received for 6 tools at 15.30 on Thursday afternoon was quoted, CAD drawing approved, manufactured and through inspection by 21.30 the same evening. This gave the customer the time and capacity to fulfil the urgent order.
The turnaround-speed has long been appreciated by Quickgrind clients, and one particular customer producing aluminium main body demand valves for the same ventilator project required a 3-flute solid carbide special thread 10.00mm diameter form tool with a bottleneck thread. Once again recognising the urgency, Quickgrind received the enquiry at 12.28 on Wednesday, with the customer aiming to commence next day production. Quickgrind quoted the tools at 12.49, approval was received at 16.38, a CAD model was sent to the client for approval 15 minutes later and client sign-off and approval for two trial tools was approved/received at 20.18. Running around the clock for its customers, Quickgrind had completed the tools and passed them through inspection by 4.30am with the customer collecting at 7.30am.
Another existing client producing aluminium components for the ventilator challenge required a 12mm diameter 3-flute Caiman solid carbide end mill with a 37.00mm flute length. This enquiry was for an end mill with a longer than standard flute to reduce cycle time by increasing step down rates to one pass rather than two. Quickgrind quoted the tools at 13.34 and the client provided approval just one minute later. Within 1.5 hours, Quickgrind had modelled the drawing and submitted it for customer approval, which was subsequently signed-off in just three minutes with an order for 6 tools. In just four hours the tools were manufactured, inspected and approved for next day delivery to the client and have subsequently reordered.
One customer tasked with producing nylon friction rings and tidal adjustment caps from Acetal Black required a 3.20mm solid carbide flat bottom step drill, a 20mm 3-flute solid carbide end mill with 120mm flute and 185mm overall length and also a ¼” 2-flute solid carbide flat bottom drill. The tools had a 10-day lead-time due to the client factory being on lockdown – but as soon as the doors opened for business, the tools were ready and waiting.
With 80% of Quickgrind’s production output being export, its reputation for delivery of urgent tools has long been an unknown quantity to UK manufacturers. However, when a situation such as a pandemic polarises the need for urgent and critical component production and the respective cutting tools, the Tewkesbury business is on-hand to support UK manufacturers. Quickgrind has received a multitude of new enquiries during the Covid-19 response as engineers realise their normal supply chain cannot deliver under such high-pressure circumstances. One new customer that arrived via the MTD Network required a 12.20mm diameter R6 x (188) 18mm flute length, 4 flute ball nose tools, 3” long. The enquiry arrived at 13.16 on a Thursday afternoon with a quote supplied less than 30 minutes later. The tools were subsequently approved by 19.22 with an order for 5-tools, which were produced overnight for next day customer collection.