by Mary Scianna
Double column machining centre opens doors to new markets for Ontario shop
Establish competitive niche for large part machining.
Purchase a double column, high speed machining centre.
Kuldip Mann wants to be where the money is and he’s willing to invest millions to be there.
Aerospace is where the money is and the approximate $1.7 million in an Okuma double column five sided machining centre is one way he plans to get into the lucrative, but tough market.
Mann is owner and president of Mann Machines and Hydraulics Ltd., Brampton, ON, an 18,000 sq ft facility housing a machine shop and a hydraulic cylinder manufacturing and repair shop.
“There is so much competition in small part machining. There’s a saying “go big or go home” so I bought the large Okuma with boring mill capacity, and I think I’m the only jobbing shop with this big capacity. Right now we’re quoting jobs and with the small jobs we’re up against many shops but when you quote for big part jobs, you’re competing maybe against 10 companies,” says Mann.
Mann purchased the Okuma MCR-A5C double column machining centre last year from EMEC Machine Tools, Mississauga, ON. It was installed last November.
“I’m a certified machinist and this is a good quality product. You pay more for an Okuma machine than other similar machines on the market, but if you want to get into aerospace you need a machine like this. Aerospace demands quality and another less expensive machine would never work properly for this market. I know I can rely on the Okuma.”
A 25 ton overhead crane carries parts to the large Okuma machine, which can machine parts weighing up to 25 tons.
When Mann came to Canada in 1994, after a two-year stint in the US, he began work with a hydraulic cylinder manufacturer in Ontario. It was a business he knew well; his father had established a similar business in India in 1963 and Mann worked with his father until he left that country.
Five years later, he formed Mann Machines and Hydraulics.
“When you come from a business family, it’s very hard to work for somebody else. When my dad came to see me he’d always say ‘you should come back and operate the business or do something on your own here.’ So I quit that job to start a hydraulic manufacturing and repair business. Everybody told me I was taking a big gamble.”
“I was on the road all the time. When I would see a garbage truck, I’d follow it and contact the owner and get the business to fix or manufacture the hydraulic cylinders for those trucks. I would call 100 companies and maybe one would call me back, but eventually I developed some very good customers in the demolition and waste management markets. I began to get lots of work from them and I’ve never looked back.”
It’s only been a few months that the Okuma double column machining centre has been in operation, but even without the initial training, machine operators have already start machining work on it because “it’s fairly easy to operate,” says Mann.
Mann is now focused on expanding and diversifying into the aerospace market. To do that, he’s purchased a new Mitutoyo CMM, and he’s considering another big Okuma machine, a vertical turning centre, an approximate $2.5 million investment.
“I’m thinking of this machine because with it in the shop, I’d be one of the top machine shops for large part machining and for aerospace jobs.” SMT