World leading agricultural seating manufacturer, Sears Seating, has been able to bring production of one of the parts used in John Deere tractors back to the UK thanks to the cost effectiveness and quality of CMG Technologies’ Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) process.
Sears manufactures Trainer seats which are used when tractor drivers are learning how to operate the increasingly high-tech equipment found in modern machinery. These seats are only needed occasionally, so need to be folded away when not in use to free up space in the tractor cab.
The folding mechanism uses detent parts which were previously being manufactured by a MIM company in Taiwan. When Sears transferred the manufacture of the main chassis for the Trainer seat from China to Hungary, the need arose to find a comparable European source for the detents.
Malcolm Madeley, Purchasing Manager at Sears Seating, takes up the story, “We needed to find a supplier that was capable of producing good quality parts at the same cost as our previous supplier to ensure the overall cost and quality of the product was maintained. Keeping the supply chain simple was also a key priority.”
Sears first found CMG Technologies via the internet and initiated the production of samples in March 2014 following discussions to ascertain the independently owned company’s capabilities.
CMG’s Technical Sales and Marketing Director, Rachel Garrett, says, “We were delighted to be able to show Sears what could be achieved by using our MIM process. The initial ISIR / PPAP samples passed the quality tests first time, which gave Sears the confidence to move full-scale production of the detents back to the UK.”
The detents are manufactured using MIM 4605, a low alloy steel containing carbon, nickel and molybdenum which is widely used in the automotive sector due to its hardness and wear resistance. Following the initial successful run, production for Sears will be in the region of 160,000 parts per year - Sears has also indicated that it would be interested in exploring additional opportunities where MIM manufacturing may be beneficial.
Malcolm continues, “It was a tough challenge for CMG initially as they had to hit the ground running when the sourcing of the parts was transferred from Taiwan. Our customer gave CMG some keen delivery deadlines which it managed to accommodate by shortening the production lead times whilst not impacting on quality and meeting the customer’s requirements.”
MIM offers significant potential to manufacturers looking to reshore component production. Resulting in significantly lower scrappage volumes than traditional machining methods and greatly reducing shipping costs, CMG’s MIM process offers a cost effective way of manufacturing complex components that may otherwise prove too expensive using traditional methods.
Rachel explains, “UK based Manufacturers are familiar with outsourcing the manufacture of some of the more complex components to MIM companies based overseas thanks to the cost efficiencies that can be achieved, but they may not know that this service can be accessed in the UK for around the same, if not lower, costs.”
Working with UK suppliers also means communication can be far easier, lead times can be shortened and the reduction in shipping, as well as the MIM process itself - a recognised ‘green technology’, means the carbon footprint from the production process can be substantially reduced. Add all of this to the fact that manufacturing is one of the main contributors to the UK’s economy and it’s easy to see why reshoring offers such huge potential.
CMG Technologies is the UK’s largest MIM specialist and has more than 25 years’ experience of MIM manufacturing. The company’s strategy of keeping the whole process in-house means it can tightly control all aspects of production, consistently ensuring that the highest levels of quality are maintained.
Under the expert guidance of Technical and Production Director, Dr Phil Marsh, CMG is constantly developing new materials both independently and in partnership with customers and suppliers. If a material can be sourced in powder form, CMG is willing to run trials.
Please contact Rachel Garrett to discuss your specific requirements by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01394 445124.