JK Engineering automates parts washing by investing in a MecWash Midi

Hertfordshire based JK Engineering (JKE), one of the UK’s fastest growing high precision machining companies, is the latest firm to invest in a MecWash parts washing system to help automate its production process.

Established in 2001, JK Engineering’s founding aim was to ‘provide a guaranteed rapid turnaround service for the F1 and medical component industries’ where short lead times and ‘right first time’ capability were critical to the company’s growth. It has since expanded its operation and now produces a significant number of parts destined for the aerospace market.

AS9100 and ISO9001 certified JKE decided to purchase a MecWash Midi parts washing system to ensure components destined for use in these demanding sectors meet the highest possible standards of cleanliness.  

JKE required a system that could clean very delicate components and surface finishes, making the MecWash Midi the ideal choice.  

MecWash Managing Director, John Pattison, comments, “The Midi is very popular with customers producing complex and intricate machined or pressed parts for sectors including aerospace that require very high standards of cleanliness, surface finish and dryness. 

“It is specifically designed to remove all types of contamination - from soluble and mineral oils, to greases, polishing compounds, lapping pastes and dye penetrants, and can be customised with a variety of options to fit the customer's exact cleaning demands and automation requirements.”

JKE’s Commercial Manager, Max Swinbourne, elaborates, “The MecWash system perfectly represented our company ethos.  We really love the fact that it is essentially automated.  We looked into different systems where the labour demands were quite extensive, and we saw little value-adding in having an employee dedicated to parts washing.  The system gives us a very, very low running cost when you factor in the labour cost.

“We wanted something that we could push the start button and walk away with confidence. The MecWash Midi has a huge advantage in that it washes and dry the parts in one cycle. In terms of repeatability, it cannot be beaten. The system’s unique configuration means there is no delay mid process if an operator is not there, and once the process is defined it never changes. It is repeatability and reliability that simply cannot be questioned.”

JKE spent a great deal of time with the engineers at MecWash to develop a system that can cope with typical parts found in the aerospace and medical industries, and the demands that those type of parts have. “The engineering department at MecWash was very sympathetic to our needs and alongside us, quickly turned our requests into reality. It was a real pleasure working with them! They truly are experts in their field and we were taken back by their speed in customising our system”, says Max.

JK Engineering’s founder and current MD, John Kenny, had a clear vision for how the factory should both look and operate from the outset of the business, as Max explains, “JKE is very young when compared to our contemporaries and we operate from a very modern factory with an enviable amount of high tech equipment.

“John started a policy of ‘no excuses’ for quality or delivery – he wanted to ensure that every single part of our manufacturing capability is as good as it can possibly be.”

This is very apparent when you walk around JKE – the factory is spotless and a number of robots are used to automate the production process as much as is feasibly possible. Every machine is loading, running, and unloading jobs with minimal people present.  

“Fairly early on in the company’s life, John decided that JKE should have the maximum number of machines per square meter, the maximum number of machines per person, and the facility should be climate controlled,” continues Max. “For us, it’s really easy to see the benefits in the way we have the factory designed like this. Our engineers never question things like the machines’ accuracy, and our customers love the fact that our factory is so clean.”

These are exciting times for JKE; Max comments, “We have just completed our second large phase of expansion that ensures our production facility is able to meet the demands of the aerospace sector. Arguably, we probably have one of the most advanced machine shops in the UK, with a climate controlled environment and fully automated machines.”

To find out more about the MecWash Midi, please read here. To find out more about JK Engineering, please visit their main site www.jk-engineering.co.uk