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Adapting to survive [concurrent engineering]

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1 Author(s)

The machine tool industry occupies an unenviable position directly in the firing line of manufacturing industry as a whole. The inevitable cyclical variations in demand and output can have direct repercussions on levels of investment, often involving machine tool purchasing. Birmingham based Cincinnati Milacron UK was no exception and found itself in this position in the latter half of the 1980s. The produce range was both sophisticated and of high performance capability, but it employed very costly design and manufacturing methods. The resultant high prices, coupled with the level of competition, did not produce satisfactory operating margins. Major changes were required, both in the product range and in the production of this range, if the company was to survive and prosper. A strategy for survival had to be developed that would ensure significant improvements in all of the fundamental business measures arising out of sophisticated CNC machine tool design and manufacture. In addition, a culture change within the organisation was necessary, to improve radically results in design time and accuracy, performance specification, design for manufacture and number of components used, manufacturing lead times, inventory control, price and appearance, installation time, reliability and marketing. A concurrent engineering strategy was implemented

Published in:

Manufacturing Engineer  (Volume:75 ,  Issue: 4 )