Lock, stock and two smoking pallets

Thursday August 4 2022

Founded in 1780, Henry Squire & Sons Ltd are one of the very few manufacturing businesses with a heritage that dates beyond the company that started out making padlocks and cabinet locks. Almost 250 years later, the company based in Wolverhampton is in a state-of-the-art 32,185sq/ft facility, manufacturing security devices and locks for the modern era.

Eight generations and almost a quarter of a century later, the West Midlands company is still family-run; it supplied the British Army during the Napoleonic wars, is responsible for the world’s first heavy-duty combination locks and it is undoubtedly the world’s most experienced and lock maker – a truly globally recognised brand. As the company has grown and expanded, so have its production requirements – it is here that Dugard has stepped up to support this great British brand.

One of the Dugard RMV700 APC machines being loaded with locks

Whilst Dugard may not have been conceived in the 1700s, we also have a rich pedigree – and supplied our first machine to Henry Squire & Sons Ltd, a Dugard Eagle 1000 more than 20 years ago. “We have a long relationship with Dugard and complete access to their support and service team. As a business, we major on padlock design and manufacture, essentially, we are not machine tool or CNC experts. So, when we need that additional help we will turn to the experts at Dugard,” says Glyn Green from Henry Squire & Sons Ltd.

Commenting on the latest investment, Glyn Green from Henry Squire & Sons Ltd says: “Previously our lock manufacturing was undertaken on a machining centre, but this was giving us issues with capacity and costs. Now, we have invested in a range of new Dugard RMV700 APC twin pallet machines. When you come across twin pallet machines in the industry, they often tend to be horizontal machines that are far more expensive than a vertical machine. For the price of the horizontal twin pallet machine, we can get two vertical twin pallet machining centres on the shop floor and making padlocks for us.”

A household brand for generations

From a specification perspective, the impressive Dugard RMV700 APC twin pallet VMC has an X, Y and Z-axis of 700 by 400 by 400mm with two 700 by 400mm revolving twin pallets. The pallets can accommodate loads up to 160kg and they rotate a full 180° in 2 seconds. With a choice of HSK63A or BT40 spindle taper, the impressive machines have a spindle speed up to 12,000rpm with a powerful 15kW spindle motor that generates high levels of torque for heavy-duty machining.

The investment in two Dugard RMV700 APC twin pallet vertical machining centres has doubled productivity for Squire & Sons. Looking at the investment decision, Glyn continues: “We looked at cycle times for our products on various machines and what excited us about the Dugard machine was the unique Z-axis that rises up at the same time and speed that the head descends. That effectively doubles the Z-axis rapid rate and helps to give us an even quicker cycle time – this results in more padlocks per day being produced.”

A selection of lock components machined on the Dugard twin-pallet VMCs

“The Dugard APC has a whopping 40 station tool turret and that helps us a great deal as we can cut down the tool changes and the time that the guys spend stripping the machine down and doing changeovers. We may be the new facility, but that does not mean we have acres of space to play with – the relatively small footprint of the Dugard RMV700 APC means that we can move them around our facility to suit the needs of our business. By the end of 2022, we will have six twin pallet machines that will help us manufacture padlocks and bicycle locks. We have to keep the spindles running, and Dugard twin pallet machines are the answer to that,” concludes Glyn Green.