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Central College Nottingham: Raising Standards!

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Central College Nottingham invests in a new suite of manual milling, drilling and grinding machines from MACH Machine Tools Ltd.

Central College Nottingham has recently invested in a range of new manual machines from Bristol-based MACH Machine Tools Ltd.

The machines – eight MACH VS-1 turret-type milling machines, four MACH SB 30 drills, one MACH SGS 18 PLC surface grinding machine, two MACH SC 200 pedestal grinders and two MACH 75 Linishers – were all installed, during August 2016, in one of four workshop areas that Central College uses to deliver relevant and practical skills training to its growing number of full- and part-time engineering students.

The 17 machine investment is significant for Central College. It’s equally significant for MACH Machine Tools too, and will be used by the company as a ‘reference’ site, in the future, to help show-case its range of manual machines to manufacturers based in the Midlands and in the North.

Further and Higher Education: a competitive environment

There is, and always has been, much talk nationally, regionally and locally about increasing the attractiveness of manufacturing and engineering careers to young people, and of raising skills levels of employees currently working in the sector. Both are important in helping the UK (generally) and individual manufacturing companies (specifically) increase productivity levels and improve competitiveness.

These conversations have, in recent months, become even more audible due to the Brexit Vote.

At the sharp end of these discussions are FE/HE Colleges, and the role they can (and do) play in helping their students, young and old, acquire relevant, vocational and nationally recognised qualifications.

This has always been the case and FE/HE Colleges up and down the country in response have, over recent years, significantly ‘upped their game’ offering more innovative and imaginative engineering courses and curricula to attract ‘top talent’.

Central College is one such institution with potential and actual students able to select from a comprehensive range of full- and part-time engineering courses, as well as Engineering Apprenticeship Programmes.

Important in attracting and retaining high-calibre students is the engineering technology and equipment Central College has at its disposal.

Explains Daniel Wheatley, Main Grade Lecturer, Central College Nottingham:

“We operate in a competitive environment. Young people have a number of choices open to them at 16, 17, 18 and beyond – and we clearly want to attract ‘the best’ and most dedicated students with lots of potential onto our courses.  

“The same is true with local engineering and manufacturing companies in the region who are looking to partner with a local FE/HE College to deliver the off-the-job component of their own Apprenticeship Programmes.”

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“Critical to both students’ and manufacturing companies’ decision-making, are the training technologies and equipment we have in-house.”

MACH Machine Tools

Earlier in the year the College made a strategic decision to upgrade its engineering resources and capabilities. A specific area under the spotlight at that time was the engineering (milling) machining workshop area…one of four engineering workshops in the College’s Engineering Department – the other three being dedicated to Electrical, Maintenance and Turning training.

Continues Daniel Wheatley:

“As this was in all likelihood  going to be a substantial investment we invited a number of machine tool companies to tender for the contract.

“Some companies merely responded with a price list for the equipment we were looking to acquire – but with MACH Machine Tools it was a different story.

“They invited us to visit them on their stand at the MACH 2016 Show to see the range of equipment they had available…and this was followed up by them visiting us to discuss our requirements in more detail.

“MACH Machine Tools’ proactivity and the fact that they provide good quality and competitively-priced machines in addition to quick delivery, installation and commissioning – made our decision a simple one.”

The machines installed at Central College include eight MACH VS-1 turret-type milling machines… MACH Machine Tools’ most popular manual machine.

MACH VS-1 machines have a large capacity work table (1219mm x 299mm), chrome slide-ways with a hardened table top and T-slots for prolonged life, a variable speed spindle (up to 4200rpm) for increased machining flexibility and a Newall 2-Axis DRO, as well as stand on style base splash tray and high-performance coolant equipment – all supplied as standard.

These eight machines were installed in August 2016 (ready for the start of the new Academic Year), and are being used by students to machine components from a range of materials (Mild Steel, Aluminium, Brass etc.), and to learn basic milling skills i.e. face milling, drilling, slotting, threading etc.

Concludes Daniel Wheatley:

“We are delighted with our MACH machines. They look the part and they do the business.

“We are soon to complete the milling workshop area which, incidentally, has been branded ‘The MACH Workshop’, and are aiming to launch the new facility to local schools, manufacturing companies and representatives from local and central government at a special VIP event later this year.” 

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