Tim Walls, left, and Stacey Saumure in front of the company's latest DMG MORI machine.Click image to enlargeby Mary Scianna

Focus on tight tolerance, complex work sets BC machine shop apart

Job Shops In Canada | British Columbia

Shop Vitals

Years in Business: 43

Size: 2,973 sq m (32,000 sq ft)

Part Capacity: Up to 2 m in length and up to 30 in. diameter

Key Processes: multi-tasking, mill-turn, laser cladding, surface finishing

Key Equipment: DMG MORI mill-turn, HMC, Amada saws, Zeiss CMMs

When your clients are large multi-national OEMs in the energy sector and high technology industries with high demands and high expectations, machinery investments are only part of the success strategy. You must also invest in product traceability and verification technologies.

The two-pronged strategy is the secret to Pazmac Enterprises Ltd.’s success, a company that has been in business in Langley, BC, for 43 years.

“We try to separate ourselves from competitors by tackling work that’s not run-of-the-mill with tight tolerances and difficult machining requirements,” says Tim Walls, president and general manager.

To do this kind of work, Pazmac has invested millions of dollars in new machinery, including most recently, two DMG MORI NT 4300 DCG mill-turn centres and a DMG MORI NHX 5500 high speed horizontal machining centre. Equally important to its success has been the company’s investment in its infrastructure to support product traceability and product verification.

“With large OEMs product traceability and elements of delivery are under extreme scrutiny. We have to provide a lot of documentation and quality certification to verify that our products meet customer specifications and tolerances. And many shops don’t have the infrastructure to support these kinds of customer demands,” explains Walls.

An example of Pazmac’s investment in this area is the quality department, which houses four Zeiss CMMs, numerous handheld metrology devices and a gauge room.

“We have third party gauges that verify the threading or feature for parts we’ve machined that we send back to clients that verify the part was made to their specification or to their standard,” says Stacey Saumure, vice president, business development and procurement at Pazmac. “This minimizes the disputes when you have one shop building one part of a component and another shop building another part and tolerances don’t stack up. The customer doesn’t know who is out of tolerance but we can prove we’re in tolerance and it’s our back up for our customers; it’s 100 per cent verifiable and tightly controlled to provide assurances to our customers of the quality of the parts we machine for them.”

Investment strategy
Low oil prices have caused a slowdown in manufacturing in Western Canada. For most companies it’s a signal to back off on investments, but Pazmac sees it as an opportunity to focus on elements of the business it can’t focus on when it’s busy, says Walls.

“It’s an opportunity to prove out new technologies, refurbish equipment, retool and retrain, and improve machine performance. “

It’s a bit risky, admits Saumure, “because we don’t know how protracted a slowdown may be, but so far we’ve managed it well and Pazmac has been in business for 43 years and continues to be successful.”

Indeed, Pazmac’s manufacturing operation runs seven days a week, with two 10-hour shifts Monday to Thursday and three 12-hour shifts during the week-end. It employs 78 people, 58 of which work directly on manufacturing processes, all of whom are cross-trained to work on the 17 machines in the shop. And machine tool investments are ongoing, says Walls.

“We’re constantly looking at new machinery and new manufacturing technologies. We have a rolling annual capital budget and we’re looking at automated, semi-automated and multi-axis platforms to assess technologies we think we’ll need going forward.” SMT

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