TSP Engineering is a total solution high-performance engineering provider. Their vision is to be a partner of choice when it comes to any level of heavy engineering with their unique and specialist capabilities in nuclear and reactor engineering – including the Small Modular Reactors (SMR)

So it was only natural that they turned to Quickgrind when they needed to find the right tools for their precision engineering requirements, and the results have been excellent, and is another exampke of a great customer success story.

One of the things that drew TSP to Quickgrind was that Quickgrind can offer non-standard length carbide tooling that you won’t find in the brochure. We spoke to Lewis Straughton about why Quickgrind was the partner of choice for their machining needs.

TSP requirements

The particular operation that TSP required help with has been completed a couple of times, and halfway through a contract for one of their nuclear clients, TSP decided they needed extra help with one of the processes. TSP had a slot that is dimensionally toleranced to plus or minus 0.1mm over the slot’s length, depth and position.

They have always had a problem with finishing the slot using any kind of milling strategy because of the tool pushing off over that depth, and have tried in the past with high-speed steel end mills with roughly a 220mm flute length. Still, they were 40mm in diameter, and they had quite severe issues with achieving the required tolerances, so they aborted that strategy and reverted back to the old chain boring method.

Enter Quickgrind.

“It was a godsend to find that Quickgrind could produce a carbide tool that would allow that finishing operation to proceed.”

Lewis Straughton, TSP Engineering

The Quickgrind Process

Quickgrind examined the current process for manufacturing the features in these large components and, through discussions as a team and with TSP, we developed a cutting tool and machining strategy that satisfied the need to finish the slots.

In partnership, we then spent a lot of time analysing the spindle and looking at the machine’s capability based on the type and age of the machine tool used for this machining operation. We knew we had to devise a tool suitable for the material and the machine’s capabilities and ensure that the tool and the machine didn’t vibrate because of the slots’ surface finish requirements and dimensional tolerance.

Quickgrind also recommended the correct tool holder to minimise and multiply any vibration and tool runout. So it wasn’t a case of that’s a tool that you can get off the shelf. At this speed and feed It’s not something that you just get from the back of a brochure. The whole process had to be very carefully analysed to develop not just a cutting tool but suitable cutting data.


Quickgrind worked very closely with Lewis and his team.  “The first time we ran the tool, we got perfect results.”

Before they started working with Quickgrind, TSP’s original process was the chain-boring operation. It took roughly a week to rough out the two slots and a week to finish. We were also running 24-hour shifts at that point.

Looking back at the data from a previous project where we were manufacturing this component, we’re roughly spending 260 hours on just that particular tool feature. Based on the two slots being a 260-hour operation implementing the tool from Quickgrind and the roughing strategy from a tool we got from one of our other suppliers, which Quickgrind supported, we’ve got the operation down to 16 hours for both slots.

That’s a cost savings of 244 hours per component, which is huge. And when you look at the charge-out rate of our machines, their size, and the type of work, it’s a massive cost saving.

“The correct strategy and working alongside us is working in Partnership to provide a solution, not just buying the tool off the shelf and hoping it works.”

Mark Aspinall, Quickgrind

Lewis said we found that the only way we could maintain the drawing tolerance on this particular component was by forcing us down a route that takes a very long time. Still, it was the only thing at our disposal to allow us to maintain the drawing tolerance. Until the Quickgrind solution. We’ve worked closely to get a great solution.

You might think that solving this engineering problem would be very time-consuming, but with Quickgrind’s expertise, we had a tool design and machining proposal before us within five days. Because of the cost of the finished components, we couldn’t just put this into production straight away. We had to make sure that the process was good enough to give us what we wanted before we could put it on a live part.

High Stakes with such a key manufacturing process to get right.

The work package that TSP was working on had a ticket price of over two and a half million pounds. So, in this particular project, TSP had already invested two or three thousand manufacturing hours until they came to finish the machine.

The cost of getting the finishing wrong on this part is a complete remake of that component.

“If we had put this tool in, and it hadn’t worked, and it had scrapped the part, it would have been over half a million pounds worth of non-conforming product.”

We found that the finishing previously took 130 hours, and now, with the Quickgrind tooling, it is eight hours.

TSP Engineering

Huge business Impact

The component takes 800 hours to machine, and TSP was making 13 of those units. The reduced finishing time means that  TSP can keep more of these components in-house. The cost and time savings that have been achieved mean that TSP is more comfortable with keeping all of these components in-house, which is also obviously a massive positive benefit to the client, our project team, and our operational targets and profits.

The risk of putting this component outside of TSP at a subcontractor based on the level of complexity means we would prefer it stay in-house.

We’ve had a lot of time to perfect the machining of this component and overcome a lot of problems to ensure that the quality was up to scratch. Relying on the subcontract environment to match that is a massive ask. There’s a massive management cost and a risk factor in there, which all feeds into the big positives of keeping these components in-house.

Happy Customers

Another significant impact is that TSP clients are very happy with the time savings because they don’t need to change their design.

“All in all, the customer’s result is positive. We don’t need to change their design. Sometimes, it’s more complicated. Specialist solutions like the one that Quickgrind offers and the ability to manufacture those components are really good. For us, Quickgrind is Second To None.”

TSP Engineering

Contact us today to learn more about how Quickgrind can help you with complex manufacturing solutions.

To top