RR Bramley gears up with Okuma

RR Bramley & Co Ltd is one of the most recognisable engineering firms in Auckland, if not New Zealand. It’s been in business for over 90 years and any business with that sort of longevity must be doing something right.

(Copy care of NZ Engineering News – March 2017)

In fact, they do plenty right, although they are not about to rest on any laurels. A directive from the very top sees RR Bramley gearing up in search of more business and to do that all you have to do is spend a few minutes with factory manager Brooke Walker to understand what is needed to achieve the goal: “more machines,” just like its latest addition of an Okuma Millac 761V.

“We are recognised throughout New Zealand and internationally for our quality range of metal cutting, forming, shaping and grinding equipment manufactured under the Bramley, Linishall and Garrick brands, but that’s ‘front of house’, behind the scenes we’ve been trusting Okuma do our jobs, right, for over 30 years,” says Mr Walker. He has over 30 years’ experience himself, so he has seen first-hand the benefits that Okuma has provided to the company; quality machining that has played a major role in RR Bramley’s consistent growth.

With that timeframe though – 30+ years of buying and using Okuma – you’d be excused in thinking that you’d find an Okuma graveyard of machinery in the workshop that currently has seven machine operators churning out a quality assortment of highly crafted and engineered products. But that’s not the case at all; every Okuma machine is still in great working order, and RR Bramley still has them on the job at full capacities.

“Okuma can even still provide parts for our oldest machines,” he explains, “and when you combine that with an exceptional level of service, Okuma really is a no-brainer.

“I don’t have a bad word to say about Okuma, and our employees are the same. They are just quality,” says Mr Walker. “The very best. There really is nothing more that needs saying, in my eyes this is undisputable.”

The company’s machining is split into two categories: ‘production’ of branded which makes up 25% of the work time and ‘jobbing’ outwork, comprising 75% of the machining time.

Apart from being a market leader in its home markets of New Zealand and Australia, RR. Bramley exports to the USA, Canada, England, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Pacific Islands, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.

The company has a rich heritage. RR Bramley & Co was founded in 1921 by Richard Randolph Bramley as Jobbing Engineers. In 1953, it was purchased by Philip Herbert and machine tool manufacture was instigated, beginning with a power hacksaw and an abrasive cut-off saw.

In 1964, new, modern premises were built on the current Auckland site, and subsequently extensions were undertaken resulting in a comprehensive manufacturing facility, showroom, warehouse and offices that support the company’s reputation for quality and dependability.

The company has consistently kept up with new technology, introducing CNC machinery and CAD/CAM software to improve product quality and its competitiveness in an international marketplace.

In 1980, Garrick Herbert Pty Ltd was established in Sydney, Australia to support the increasing demand for the Bramley range in that market. In 1991 the Linishall factory was purchased and incorporated into the Garrick Herbert manufacturing and warehousing facility occupied by the company today.

In 2011 further expansion was undertaken with the establishment of Garrick USA LLC. Based in Winona, Minnesota, the company distributes key product lines, such as Bramley and Linishall, into the American and Canadian industrial marketplaces.

Quality is an aspect that Mr Walker just will not compromise on and this extends beyond the machines in the work shop and on to his machine operators. Between his staff, there’s well over a century of knowledge and hands on experience, and because of this when the new Okuma Millac 761V was installed late last year it was a seamless transition from having a new precision machine wired up for action and getting it into full swing and running at maximum capacity.

“Our machine operators have lived and breathed Okuma for decades. Sure, the new machine has a whole heap of great bells and whistles and there was some fine-tuning required to get the most out of what it truly can deliver – and boy does it deliver – but the reality was we were up and running right away” says Mr Walker.

The 761V is very much a central character in getting this workshop to produce more, faster, better – as part of the requirements of extending upon RR Bramley’s existing business.

High specced is an understatement.

The Millac 761V vertical machining centre is the ultimate in large machining centres with high rigidity, heavy cutting ability and high operability. The strong base column construction has optimally-placed ribs to counter chatter and twisting during heavy-duty cutting. Traditional box ways are used for all axes to give high accuracy and rigidity over the long term.

With the use of variable speed gear head and largediameter spindle bearings, this machine can perform heavy-duty cutting and rapid machining with large torque from low to high speeds. The ample travel and table is designed to withstand heavy loads and are well-suited for the machining of large, heavy workpieces.

But beyond the specs, there is a beautiful assimilation to the ‘old but good’ that gives operators a traditional machine, but much more.

Apart from the practical specifications, this is a quality build, high-rigidity box-way machine like those built in the good old days, but with a whole lot more technology.

When it comes to the 761V, designers have asked the question ‘why try to reinvent something when you can simply apply new technologies to well proven platforms’? It gives operators the best of the old world, traditional great design combined with the smarts of computer and software capability to produce a long life far more accurately and repeatable, and has a marked increase in finesse that the discerning metal cutting engineer knows he wants, needs… and should have.

By combining old business experience with new world technology, RR Bramley have found a machine that fits perfectly in with its ethos – and that’s rare. Now with even more quality machining abilities there is little doubt this is one company that is setting itself up for the next 100 years of business.

Engineering at its finest: across the board.