Pioneers in Machining Technology
At a reception on 14th November at the Coventry technical centre of machine tool and production solution provider NCMT, the company was presented with the Queen's Award for Enterprise in International Trade 2018. Officiating was Timothy Cox, Her Majesty's lord-lieutenant of Warwickshire, in the presence of over 100 staff and guests including John Cooke, chairman of Warwickshire County Council and Stephen Cross, chairman of Warwick District Council.
The award is in recognition of rapid growth in exports achieved by subsidiary operation, Makino-NCMT Grinding Division. It sells equipment for grinding and other metalcutting operations to contract machinists supplying international manufacturers of aero engines and land turbines. Customers are not only in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe but as far afield as Thailand and Mexico.
The technology enables highly efficient production of predominantly nickel alloy components such as turbine blades and vanes using small, aluminium oxide grinding wheels, conventional milling cutters and drills exchanged automatically from the tool magazine in Makino machining centres and bespoke grinding machines. Compared with traditional manufacturing processes, the benefits include major reductions in capital investment, set-up times, production costs and lead-times, as well as lower consumable costs and very high accuracy.
Recently, NCMT has been developing procedures for grinding new, lightweight aerospace materials such as gamma titanium alumide and ceramic matrix composites and is arguably the world leader in both areas. Further development has centred on a new process for creep-feed grinding of precision gears in small to medium quantities, which has involved writing bespoke software.
Dave Burley, NCMT's managing director commented, "We are very proud to receive the Queen's Award for enterprise, particularly for international trade. However, I don't see this success as being due only to the employees in our company that have worked on export business. It could not have happened without the support of a great team of people throughout our entire organisation.
"Makino-NCMT Grinding Division has enabled the company as a whole to grow and has given us many opportunities since we took the first two-machine order a long time ago (2006) from Piaggio in Italy. It was a big step for a very UK-focused company like ours and was the start of NCMT becoming a truly international company. Today's award underlines that."
Lord-lieutenant Timothy Cox replied, "The Queen's Award for Enterprise in International Trade is a huge honour. Well done to NCMT for your sustained growth over the last few years. Her Majesty puts a lot of emphasis on strong teamwork, so it was fantastic to meet the whole team here today and not just the management.
"I think Warwickshire is very fortunate to have companies like yours, with its expertise. I am really pleased to hear that your apprenticeship scheme is going so well. We all agree we need more apprenticeships so that the generation that might have been lost a few years ago is there again for the future."