Established in 2013 and now in its eighth year, Mill Turn Engineering (PTY) Ltd, based in Okavango Park in Cape Town are specialists in CNC turning, CNC milling, CNC programming, tool and die manufacturing, product development and design.
Mill Turn manufacture many different glass standoff and balustrading components as well as pump internals, bolts, shafts, a whole range of sensor units for use in mining operations, derailleur hangers, shower fittings, and various spigots
Managing Director Wayne Williams comes from a technical school background. He finished school at Eden Technical High School, formerly Hoër Tegniese Skool PW Botha in George in the Southern Cape, and was always experimenting on a machine tool growing up. He went on to do an apprenticeship with Atlantis Diesel Engines (ADE) now Atlantis Foundries, but had to leave during the transition process of ADE’s sale years ago due to retrenchments and there not being a need for taking on qualified artisans at the time. Williams eventually secured a job at Schuurman Engineering and worked there for roughly six years. He eventually ended up running the CNC section and from there grew an interest in tooling and sales.
Mill Turn Engineering (PTY) Ltd, based in Okavango Park in Cape Town are specialists in CNC turning, CNC milling, CNC programming, tool and die manufacturing, product development and design
His career then took him to Spectra Carbide where he spent the next nine years further honing his skills. For the last three of those years, Williams was based in Johannesburg where he headed up the sales division. It was here where he decided it was time to work for himself.
“I had all the machining skills and background basics. So, with a partner, we put our money together and bought two machines – an old Mori Seiki and a Leadwell V40. There was nothing in the factory except the machines – no toolboxes and only some jaws for the lathe. We started from scratch.”
As Schuurman had closed its engineering side of the business this presented an opportunity for Williams to approach his previous clients. The challenge though was that these clients didn’t know Williams – all they knew was that the components were coming from Schuurman. This is why a sound business acumen covering all aspects of your business is so useful when it comes to being an entrepreneur and starting your own business. Basically, you could call Wayne a one-stop-shop as it stood – he was the salesman, setting the machines, machining everything himself and even doing his own deliveries of machined components to his clients.
Where it all began, an old Mori Seiki SL-15 that has served Williams well over the years
Another of Mill Turn’s machines, a single turret 2-axis horizontal Lynx 220 series high-performance compact turning center
Gradually the business grew and Williams was able to take on more staff and purchase more machines. During this time, he also bought his partner out and now employs eight staff in total including his wife Shelly-Ann.
Williams describes the brief halt to production during the first COVID-19 wave and lockdown as a blessing as very quickly they were able to get back to manufacturing components that were deemed essential. Being an all-round sports fanatic, and in particular an avid kiteboarder and mountain biker, Williams also used the opportunity to fill a gap for a product that was in high demand, not readily available due to supply constraints, and one that had an expensive price tag during a pandemic – rollers for bicycles so that people could stay fit at home with the equipment being designed for the stationary peddling of a bicycle.
One of Mill Turn’s first milling machines, a Leadwell V40 vertical machining center
Just keeping up with the demand was a challenge, but on top of this, Williams started making various other bicycle components too from shock bushings to axles and derailleur hangers and mounting bolts for shocks.
Mill Turn Engineering is a general engineering shop that can also do one-offs too and no customer would be turned away as Williams loves finding solutions to problems.
Mill Turn manufacture many different glass standoff and balustrading components as well as pump internals, bolts, shafts, a whole range of sensor units for use in mining operations, derailleur hangers, shower fittings, and spigots, all manufactured from various grades of steel, as well as plastic components for the wine and bottling industry.
The number of components produced depends on what is on order and numbers vary greatly between components
All components are manufactured from various grades of steel, as well as plastic components for the wine and bottling industry
“We’re not bound to one type of component. I don’t like to be put in a box, because what if that work dries up – and that’s why we have always wanted to be able to make a range of components.”
The number of components produced depends on what is on order and numbers vary greatly between components. It is a given that a strong workholding understanding is key to manufacturing a quality component time after time, but skilled problem solvers like Williams are even more fortunate to be able to rely on their experience of being an artisan to be able to create efficient workholding methods and solutions, for example the efficient milling of parts with complex profiles. To instil this philosophy in your employees and have that reflect in their work is the sign of a successful business.
80% of Mill Turn’s components are manufactured for the local market
Components manufactured and finished by Mill Turn Engineering are used in a variety of industries
80% of Mill Turn’s components are manufactured for the local market, but supply delays from China in terms of both raw material and already manufactured components has been good as it’s given rise to further machining opportunities for Mill Turn to pursue.
Nothing is quite as exciting as new equipment and Williams insists he doesn’t need massive machines hence opting for a compact horizontal turning center supplied by Puma Machine Tools – a Doosan Lynx 2100LB. The high-performance compact turning center boasts superior machining performance, reliability, and user convenience and its software technology interface is perfect for someone like Williams and his team.
Doosan Fanuc i Plus
The Doosan Fanuc i Plus control is optimised for maximising customer productivity and convenience. A 15-inch screen and New OP Doosan Fanuc i Plus operation panel enhances operating convenience by incorporating common-design buttons and layout, and features the Qwerty keyboard and touch screen for fast and easy operation.
Mill Turn Engineering’s newly-designed Lynx 2100 2-axis horizontal turning center
The newly-designed Lynx 2100 2-axis horizontal turning centers are compact in size and huge in productivity. Equipped with the Doosan Fanuc i Plus control panel, the user experience is enhanced by the operating convenience that incorporates common-design buttons and layout, and features the Qwerty keyboard for fast and easy operation. Using the Doosan EZ-Guide i, users can create a cutting programme for any desired shape, including patterns, by entering the appropriate figures only
The newly-designed Lynx 2100 2-axis horizontal turning centers have a small footprint but deliver huge productivity gains. The machines are tough, reliable and deliver excellent cutting capabilities
Using the Doosan EZ-Guide i, users can create a cutting programme for any desired shape, including patterns, by entering the appropriate figures only. Enter the dimensions of the desired shape and a cutting programme is automatically created with the entered values.
This is a feature that appeals to Williams greatly, and although bound to 2-axis, his imagination is not.
For further details contact Mill Turn Engineering (PTY) Ltd on TEL: +27 (79) 705-3778 or email email@example.com