Partnerships with CNC machine tool suppliers play starring role for UK customers

All UK manufacturers have been required to protect their employees from exposure to hazardous substances, including airborne oil mist particles, since 1988 when the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations were first introduced. Whilst the onus is currently on employers to provide effective control measures, many of the UK’s machine tool suppliers offer oil mist extraction as an option when selling metalworking CNC machines to ensure customers do not have to think about this after purchase.

Telford based oil mist collectors manufacturer Filtermist International has worked in partnership with sliding head lathes specialist Star Micronics GB Ltd for more than 20 years to ensure Star’s customers benefit from the most effective mist extraction for their specific requirements. Filtermist’s Divisional Sales Director for Oil Mist, Craig Woodward, recently spoke to Star’s Operations Manager, Alec Warner, to find out why Star places such importance on this partnership. 

CW: “Alec, our installation engineers seem to be at Star most weeks at the moment fitting Filtermist oil mist filters, or filters from our sister company Absolent AB, to Star machines before they are dispatched to the customer’s premises?”

AW: “Yes that’s right, the majority of our customers decide they want to include oil mist extraction as part of their investment to ensure they’re compliant with COSHH regulations straight away. Installing the unit at our premises before the machine tool is dispatched means it’s ready to go as soon as the machine is set-up at the customer’s facility.”

CW: “So presumably, customers find it very valuable that they can access this directly through Star and pay for it with the machine tool, rather than having to source separately?”

AW: “Absolutely. From a customer’s perspective, it makes sense to buy everything at the same time rather than having to go back and make another business case for additional investment.”

CW: “Reducing exposure to oil mist is one of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) main focusses at the moment as part of its efforts to reduce occupational lung disease. It’s not currently law to fit Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) to CNC machines, but I know that this is something the HSE would like to see happening.”

AW: “Star machines are made in Japan and shipped all over the world so the requirements for mist extraction will vary from country to country. In the UK we advise customers that LEV is fitted before they take delivery of the machine so they comply with UK regulations and best practice. Most of our customers recognise that looking after the health of their workforce is really important – not only from a legal and moral perspective, but also from a common-sense angle. Days lost to ill-health directly impact production and as we know, all manufacturers want to minimise down-time as much as possible.”

CW: “Can you tell us why Star has chosen to work with Filtermist for such a long time?”

AW: “It’s well recognised that Filtermist is the industry leader for oil mist extraction and as a responsible supplier, we want to ensure that we’re supplying the best products possible to our customers. Filtermist’s products are extremely well made and the company’s comprehensive service means we can get the units installed pretty much whenever we need them. We can be confident that our customers will be happy with the quality of mist extraction provided, and the fact that Filtermist has its own team of engineers means our customers can access aftersales support whenever and wherever they need it.”

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