Pressco Precision Engineering is one of Ireland’s largest manufacturing partners. Founded in Dublin in 1967 by brothers Michael and Jim Hayes, along with John Byrne, it began as a jig and tool producer. Within a year the trio had expanded the team, some of whom are still with the business today.
With little industry in Ireland at the time, Pressco was the first of its kind in Dublin, supplying fledgling companies who have since grown to become some of their largest customers. They began to set their sights on developing an export market, making them well positioned to service the need of their multinational customers destined for Ireland through the 1980’s and 1990’s.
In 1981 Pressco took the leap from old-school toolmaking and invested in their first CNC machine, gaining clients in the aerospace and healthcare industries as well as oil and gas and electronics. Although they employ 80 people, it is still a family affair, with several children of the founders now running the business. Eager to join his father, Michael’s son Stephen first helped out during the school holidays before joining as an apprentice in 1989. Soon after this, Pressco purchased their first Haas machine, a VF-0 vertical machining centre, followed by a VF-1 two years later. Both machines remain a regular part of the production process and are still holding tolerance.
A wide range of materials are used, including aluminium, stainless and engineering plastics, as well as exotic materials for oil and gas customers. Much of the work uses CAD/CAM although a surprising number of customers still prefer 2D drawings. Pressco offer assembly and test for the parts they machine with full supply-chain management of all parts, calibration and certification to customer specified standards. They were the first contract company in Ireland to receive ISO9001 certification.
Today, Pressco is a global company supplying to some of the biggest Life Science and Hi-tech companies in the world. Around 40% of work is in the healthcare sector, with much going to mainland Europe and the USA. Aerospace makes up 25%, reaching as far as China and South America. Central to this growth is their relationship with Haas, with the business currently operating over 30 Haas machines. In 2018 alone they invested in four machines; a VF-6SS Super Speed vertical machining centre and two DT-2 Drill Tap Centres, followed by a UMC-750 5 axis machining centre to run alongside the UMC-750SS Super Speed purchased the year before.
“Multi-axis is the future,” says Stephen Hayes. “We’ve moved up the food chain of customers and are now considered Tier 1 by our major clients. Using Haas machines has cut down our handling times and reduced costs, allowing us to be more competitive when quoting.”
“The 15,000 rpm UMC-750SS has halved our cycle times. It’s full simultaneous 5-axis motion is perfect for cutting complex components for our healthcare customers. The ability to cut 5 faces on a single set-up means we load once and the part is finished. It cuts the labour right down. It’s quick to change jobs over as well; by loading 40 +1 tools we’re ready for two or three different jobs.
“The DT-2s have made a huge difference in productivity. We’ve made no change to the feeds and speeds of our jobs, but the high-speed side mount tool changer has reduced cycle times by 30%.”
First attracted by the competitive price of Haas, Stephen says it is the high level of service that brings them back each time. “The machines are very reliable, but if there is an issue, the engineer and parts arrive next day.”
Their range of Haas machines offers Pressco a great flexibility. “Our machine purchases have all been for expansion rather than replacement,” says Stephen. “We haven’t needed to take on any new operators as they simply run themselves. We’ve invested in some balanced tooling for our high-speed spindles and use special fixturing, programs and set-ups which can go on any machine. They do everything we want. We will definitely be buying more 5-axis machines from Haas.”