The establishment by Chiron Werke UK Ltd of a purpose-built 10,000ft2 headquarters
in Southam, Warwickshire, heralds a new era in machine tool marketing
in the UK.
Because rather than being set up as a machine showroom, the new £750,000 facility
has been designed to act as a turnkey applications engineering prove-out
site covering the extensive range of Chiron vertical machining centre
projects for which the German manufacturer, and all its worldwide subsidiaries,
“Our new home is not a machine showroom,” emphasises Chiron Werke UK Ltd managing
director, Paul Rhodes. “The facility has been set-up specifically to
promote and reinforce our commitment to UK users’ increasing demands for
turnkey application engineering projects.
“Our adeptness at such projects – particularly for both OEMs and first-tier
suppliers in the automotive and aerospace sectors – is a philosophy that
is successfully mirrored throughout the world by all subsidiaries of our
German parent. And it’s a policy that sets Chiron apart from other machine
Chiron’s impressive UK customer base of over 300 users has been gained by the
Company’s unswerving attention to users’ needs. This relates as much to the team’s
pre-sales applications engineering skills and superlative levels of after-sales
service as it does to having the ability to actually supply machines that
meet customer’s specific production criteria within an agreed time-scale.
“Chiron has never claimed to compete with some of the Far East’s volume machining
centre manufacturers on either availability or price. And it never will.
That’s because we operate in a totally different way.
“Firstly, Chiron is not a volume manufacturer geared to produce thousands of machines
for a global network of showrooms. Neither do we act simply as a company
that sells a machine and installs it then walks away, perhaps also offering
a service or maintenance contract that is fulfilled (at a relatively high
price) often by a third party.”
This effective and efficient communication channel is especially evident
in the early days of project prove-out. In such cases, a Chiron technician
may be on-site for days, ensuring everything goes to plan. “Apart
from not being able to afford such a luxury, traditional machine distributors
simply don’t have the culture for that,” comments Paul Rhodes.
“Okay, we are obviously in a position to supply machines that will produce more
parts much more quickly. But, of course, so are other machine manufacturers
and dealers. But the difference is we don’t make machines for stock; each
and every Chiron VMC comes off the line to order, to satisfy a particular
“If a potential customer approaches us simply to add another spindle to satisfy
an immediate capacity demand, then we know he’s not someone we can help.
“But if he comes to us with a manufacturing headache – a set of production
requirements that go beyond simple capacity demands – then clearly we
have the basis for a long-lasting partnership, a project that will generate
continual benefits for him as a Chiron user.”
Included among the problems faced by Chiron customers is the need to reduce piece
part costs by adopting the principles of lean manufacture, perhaps, or
the development and use of clever fixturing, or the desire to adopt latest
tooling developments in combination with high-speed machining routines.
“It is our ability to develop tailor-made solutions to such problems that
has enabled Chiron to develop a niche role in the UK machine tool market,”
says Paul Rhodes. But being able to provide the right technological solutions
at the right price is only one side of the story. The other is making
sure everything happens when it should.
“Apart from the necessary technical expertise, a successful turnkey project will
also involve the suppliers of tooling and fixturing as well as representatives
from Chiron, Germany – even perhaps the supplier of the raw materials,
such as castings.
“By necessity, each project instigated by the UK team will involve a tremendous
amount of project management, and this is another skill that sets Chiron