Within Australia and around the globe, the name Sutton Tools is synonymous with quality engineering and cutting tools. With over 90 years of industry experience, Sutton Tools is a fourth generation family run business boasting four main production plants in Australia and New Zealand, and sales offices worldwide.
Sutton Tools are a specialist manufacturer of metalworking cutting tools and accessories and have always recognised the challenges they face to produce parts more efficiently. As a long time user of Citizen machinery, their approach to tackling this problem according to Chief Engineering Executive Phil Xureb, includes “Consistently investing in new technologies that allow us to keep ahead of the changing needs of our customers, and the market”.
Sutton Tools have invested in a variety of Citizen sliding head stock lathes at their Thomastown plant, including their most recent purchase, a Citizen A20 Type VII machine packaged with an Iemca bar feeder. Phil explained, “We are machining high speed steel which is generally very difficult to machine, yet the Citizen’s have proven highly suitable for this kind of work.” He also went on to explain, “The A20’s ability to machine small diameter, long cylindrical parts, with high accuracy and no chatter, were all factors in the decision to purchase the new machine.”
The Citizen A20 Type VII features five controlled axes with a 20mm machining diameter and standard machining length of 165mm. The rigid spindle construction and advanced roller guides on all axes provide the stability needed for the level of precision machining asked of their engineering department. This has lead to improvements in cycle time of up to 25% on previous methods. The A20VII can be optioned up to meet a higher set of requirements, but was not necessary for the work being performed on this machine, although according to Phil, “It is this kind of flexibility that makes the Citizen machines so appealing”.
While they considered alternatives to the A20VII, Sutton Tools have a long established association with Citizen and plenty of experience operating their machines. They also saw the A20VII machine as the most cost effective solution for their production needs. Having worked closely with John Hart on automation projects at the Thomastown plant, Phil also had the confidence that necessary support and service from John Hart would be there throughout.
Since installation of the Citizen in early 2009, their machine has exceeded all expectations in terms of speed, accuracy and changeover times. They have also been able to integrate the machine seamlessly into their main program network with no disruption, which Phil also identified as a major benefit to the company.