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Machining Industry in Czech Republic

(CNC-milling subcontractor manufacturing overview)

In October 2019 the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic published this year´s issue of its Panorama of Manufacturing Industry. The publication offers an overview of the state and latest developments in the manufacturing industry in the Czech Republic. All manufacturing activities are divided into categories and subcategories using the CZ-NACE classification. Businesses whose main activity consists in treatment of surfaces or machining fall into the category CZ-NACE 25.6. There are approximately 14.000 subjects in CZ-NACE 25.6. Of this group many companies specialize in surface treatment services only. The remaining companies focus on machining as their main activity.

But this sector of industry is heavily segmented. Of the approximately 9.000 providers in this category the overwhelming majority are very small businesses with under 10 employees and only a few pieces of production equipment. There are also larger companies with several divisions, one of which might be specializing in CNC-machining. Some of these machining shops also offer their extra manufacturing capacities to the external market. But usually their activity is organised around the group´s own line(s) of product.

These small as well as large but group-dependent CNC manufacturers are not accounted for in the following overview. Similarly large CNC manufacturers specializing in high volume production (tens and hundreds of thousand of pieces per item annually) or in production starting from a specific input (e.g. castings, forgings, single material, etc.) are also left aside, as are CNC shops who specialize in lathe-turning machines but who only have limited capabilities in the area of CNC milling. This article is then only concerned with group independent SMEs (with approx. >40 employees) in the Czech Republic providing CNC-milling capacities for production of small to medium volumes (production batches of tens or hundreds of pcs per item per PO) of general mechanical parts made from bar, plate or similar material. (some manufacturers, including Elakov Production, have additional focus on parts for particular industry or industries, e.g. aerospace or medical, or electronics. Such companies usually organise their production and processes according to the relevant industry standard- e.g. AS9100, ISO 13485, etc. The highest representation of companies certified according to such special requirements is in the category of large machining shops with >12.000h monthly milling capacities. In the smaller groups the representation decreases exponentially.)

The results of our research suggest that the number of machining shops corresponding to the criteria described above works out at slightly over 100 units. The combined theoretical capacity (working 3shifts/24h a day/30days a month/OEE 80% and all workhours so calculated considered as available to buyers) of this group of the largest 100 machine shops corresponds to approx. 400.000h/month. (This number is one of the highest in eastern europe. Higher for instance than the capacities of comparable machining shops in Slovakia and Hungary combined. And lower, but not excessively, than the overall capacities of workshops in the neighbouring and much larger Poland) Yet only a few machine shops in this group exceed the maximum theoretical capacities (MTC) of >12.000 workhours per month. Most machining SMEs in Czech Republic work with milling operation MTCs of around 3.000h/month or less. 

These MTC numbers could be further nuanced. Referring to CNC milling technology the MTC in the previous table the numbers can represent either ≥3-axes or ≥5-axes operations. The table below gives an overview based on company capabilities in ≥5-axes CNC milling (usually complex parts with high levels of articulate geometry) and in 3-axes CNC milling (usually simpler geometries, not requiring access to part features from all sides). The table does not take into account any additional viewpoints like KPI levels (OTD and PPM rates), maturity of the quality system, stability and sustainability of business, production system certifications etc.

The data above suggest that Elakov Production counts among the 5 largest group-independent CNC-milling companies in the Czech Republic in terms of maximum theoretical workhour capacity and that its 5-axes CNC milling equipment fleet ranks among the largest in the national market of low to mid-volume general subcontract manufacturing. (for details on methodics see the introduction) 

In addition, this article has only been concerned so far with total MTC in the area of CNC milling. Other capabilities also belonging to the larger CNC machining family have been omitted. CNC turning, EDM wire cutting and EDM die sinking are some such examples of capabilities which could advantageously be combined with CNC machines reviewed here. Although Elakov Production mainly focuses on milling, additional equipment also includes many machines providing e.g. EDM or turning operations. Below please find a table providing a brief look on our additional CNC capabilities.