Invest in the best!

Invest in the best!

The company is run by two generations of the Morris family in a purpose-built 25,000ft2 facility

Aerospace Manufacturing hears how a growing family firm is making key investments in both production and people to cement its position in Britain’s aerospace future.

Devon-based Morris Engineering has been investing heavily in machinery and quality control to open new doors to leading players in the aerospace industry. The company has invested more than three quarters of a million pounds to guarantee its future for generations to come.

Morris Engineering has purchased three new high tech machines, including two Italian-designed, bespoke Biglia Lathes – one of which is the first of its kind in the UK. And just as important, it is investing in its staff. Managing director, Tim Winzer says the outlay will help grow the company, whatever might happen post Brexit.

“Working for the aerospace industry means a huge level of commitment to meet high standards and expectations and we have made sure we have kept pace with not only all accreditation, but also the technological advances in new machinery,” he begins. “The detail and accuracy we can now provide make us ideal for any kind of complex component or prototype.

“These are large investments for our company, but we knew we had to reduce cycle times to remain ahead of the competition and to make sure we could handle whatever was asked of us in this ever-changing world. Investing in new machinery is a vital part of what we do, and will safeguard Morris Engineering well into the future, whatever it may hold.”

In good health

The company has also introduced a Quality Clinic, with the backing and support of an aerospace OEM to further enhance the company’s capabilities within the industry. The concept of a quality clinic is recognised by some major companies in the aerospace sector.

It gives Morris Engineering the quality tools and procedures to deal with any manufacturing challenges. A core team of nine members meet daily as part of the Quality Clinic to discuss production issues and how to deal with them.

“Defects can mean anything from a scratch to a dimension that’s out, sometimes by just a few microns,” states production director, Antony Dyer. “The Quality Clinic has shown that having set systems in place allows us to deal with any issues that arise, as well as helping to find root cause and introducing mistake proofing to prevent reoccurrence. When we recently mentioned to a prospective client that we had a Quality Clinic in place, they arranged to meet us that very day – and placed an order.”

The new machinery includes the Biglia lathes capable of making everything from small prototypes to high volume machined parts. They have already dramatically increased productivity and revolutionised Morris’s manufacturing process. The two lathes can work in any material and the larger of the two has twin-opposed spindles and three Y-axis turrets -13 axes in total – dramatically cutting production time.

With its multiple spindles, it mills and turns simultaneously, cutting the time to make one mechanical component for the aerospace industry – a copper terminal lug – from one and a quarter hours to just eight minutes. In fact, the larger machine – the Biglia Quattro 465 T3Y3 – is so fast and accurate that the company has doubled its capacity and widened its capabilities – dropping production times in some cases by 90%.

The Biglia investment was quickly followed by the purchase of a new Brother TC-32B – a twin pallet machine, with high torque, low inertia 16,000rpm spindle and 70m/min rapids. The new Brother TC-32B replaces two older machines at the Plymouth company, and has improved the time it takes to make components for customers not just in the aerospace sector, but also in sectors as diverse as microwave, marine and pharmaceutical.

Morris Engineering’s Quality Clinic is said to give it the tools and procedures to deal with any manufacturing challenges

Running in the family

The company is run by two generations of the Morris family in a purpose-built 25,000ft2 facility and the engineers see themselves as a close-knit unit with every member working as a part of the Morris team.

This is only one benefit of being a family-run company. Others include decision making, with decisions being made quickly and the whole company being nimble and attune to the needs of its customers. And similarly, to the wider needs of the whole market, as the sector develops, which enables opportunities to be taken.

At Morris, most of the employees have been with the company from child to adult, with the longest member of staff having almost 35 years’ service. This delivers very low staff turnover and helps generate huge loyalty within the company. There are two generations of the family within the business.

“We have customers in a range of diverse sectors, but we are still a family firm which understands the strengths of all its employees,” Winzer explains. “Twenty years ago, 90% of our orders were from the Plymouth area. Now, that’s closer to 10% as our capabilities and reach widens.

“Morris Engineering currently works for companies all over the UK and we have to keep up with advances in the industry, the latest accreditation and best practice if we are to remain competitive.”

Possessing many accreditations, including AS9100 and several OEM-specific approvals, the company has further plans to invest in new staff and machinery throughout 2017 as the company’s orders increase.

“It’s vital that we keep investing in new machinery so we can better serve all our customers with the varied components we supply,” Winzer concludes. “From one-off prototypes to several thousand components, we have been working hard to make sure all our systems work for the benefit of our customers. But even more important than investment in new machinery is the investment in our engineers and staff. Bringing in new talent helps us to stay on top of new procedures and processes and allows us to grow the company together as part of a team.”


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