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'Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense.' - wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay 'Art', more than one hundred years before the Japanese were credited with introducing the concept of common sense to the 'art' of manufacturing.Common sense was also the inspiration behind Renishaw's new Stonehouse machining facility, which astonishes the visitor with a simplicity and pragmatism that, despite Japan's example, is still uncommon amongst western manufacturers.'For a start, the long, thin shape did not allow for a good layout.' Since the move to Stonehouse, the former machine shop at New Mills has been refurbished and now houses the Development Machine Shop, where the company proves-out products before they're put into production.
There's an additional 65,000outside loading bay area at the rear, 40,000of which could be used to expand the building if and when necessary.
The machine hall itself is 70,000sq.ft, adjacent to which is a process finishing area of 10,000
One of the layouts at Stonehouse was first aired as a rhetorical 'what if…?
' by a member of the manufacturing engineering team.
One of the first things the visitor notices is that Stonehouse, compared to other machine shops of its size and output, is bright and extremely clean.
'When we arrived it was a very dark place housing injection moulding machines,' he said.
'Our first job was to completely strip the inside of the building, clean it thoroughly, then build new walls, ceilings, light fixtures and wiring.
We also installed a state-of-the art extraction system to eliminate airborne contaminants.
Rather than machine operators hunting around the plant for the tools and equipment, they have everything they need, right where they need it.
'It's a big area, so we invested a huge amount of time and energy making sure that each hub has exactly what's needed locally, including setting tools, cutting tools, CMMs and shadowgraphs,' says Harper.