While the pandemic has presented the most challenging time in living memory for many manufacturers, a tier one aerospace supplier managed to navigate the uncertainty unscathed thanks to its early adoption of machine tool automation systems.
Located in Barnoldswick, Pennine Tools Aerospace Ltd, boasts a proud and diverse manufacturing history. Over the past 48 years, the family-run business has serviced a number of industrial subsectors, including general subcontracting, medical and furnishings, before firmly establishing itself as one of the region’s leading tier one aerospace suppliers throughout the past decade.
"We’ve grown from a single unit with two employees to a multi-area facility with over 50 full time employees,” explains Richard Craddock, general manager at Pennine Tools. “However, it’s really over the past 10 years that things have really started to take off.”
Working directly for a series of multinational OEMs throughout both the civil and defence aerospace sectors, including Airbus, BAE Systems, GE Aviation, GKN and the Ministry of Defence (MOD), Pennine Tools has a suite of over 800 contracted parts that can be made to order.
He continues: “We specialise in ‘aircraft on ground’ and ‘urgent operation requirement’ work, which means we have work to extremely demanding timescales. Ultimately, if a plane lands and there’s a problem, it will be grounded until we can manufacture a new component. As such, we have to have utmost faith in our production equipment to ensure we can produce the required component right first time.”
Pennine Tools’ ability to work to such tight timescales stems in part from its long-term partnership with machine tool manufacturer
Yamazaki Mazak. Within excess of 20 machines installed at its Lancashire manufacturing facility, including models from its Variaxis, VCN, VTC, Nexus and Quick Turn series, Mazak has been a mainstay for Pennine Tools for 26 years.