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Durham Duplex See 400% Increase In Machine Productivity
FourJawMay 27, 2022 9:57:00 AM4 min read

Durham Duplex See 400% Increase In Machine Productivity

About Durham Duplex

Durham Duplex is a world leader in designing and manufacturing high-performance machine knives and industrial razor blades, with headquarters in Sheffield, England, the UK’s birthplace of engineering excellence. The product line includes both standard and custom-made products.

Durham Duplex knew they had bottlenecks in their grinding cell because they couldn’t keep up with demand.

Additionally, data collection involved supervisors manually taking down each machine's runtime figures from the controller to the clipboard, which can be a laborious and occasionally inaccurate operation.

As a result, there was no easy or consistent method for benchmarking machine productivity, nor did supervisors have visibility of the shop floor without spending their shifts doing constant rounds of it.

The Challenges

  • Production bottlenecks
  • Demand outstripping supply
  • Manual, inaccurate data capture processes
  • Little to no productivity benchmarking

Durham Duplex sought a solution to help locate and eliminate bottleneck areas so that it could deliver improved ROI as well as improved customer experience through reduced lead times.

The Solution


To reduce the potential for friction, staff were made part of the implementation process right from the start.

In most instances, this meant FourJaw's customer success team was communicating directly with the operators and managers to ensure the technology was adopted across the shop floor.

“We purposefully set off slowly, monitoring just two machines at first.” Each machine was outfitted with a MachineLink, an IIoT sensor that automatically collects utilisation data, and FourJaw's Operator tablet that allows them to enter reasons for machine downtime.


“Once we had the ‘generic’ outputs we required, such as machine utilisation over different time periods, reasons for machine downtime and times and durations of each production run, we started the process of implementation on another six machines, which consisted of two CNC milling machines, and four machines that we had custom built for our business.

All of these machines were previously monitored manually. This onboarding process also ran smoothly and we were able to have useable data on day one of installation.”

Steve Corbett, Production Director at Durham-Duplex

The Results


Charles Turner, Managing Director of Durham Duplex, saw a five-fold in machine productivity in the factory’s milling cell after adopting FourJaw's machine downtime monitoring platform.

In this cell, the machine data captured by FourJaw's platform soon revealed that machine utilisation was significantly lower than it should have been.

“We suspected this but everyone appeared so busy. The beauty of this data is that it makes it easy to identify and eliminate pinch points.

By removing these production bottlenecks in one process, we boosted productivity from five products a day to 25 a day.

Providing our people with the facts on the shop floor empowers them to address the productivity issue themselves.”


Charles elaborated on one of the ways that Durham Duplex optimised its milling cell.

“We found out that the first hour of the day was lost because the machines had to warm up before they were ready for production. The FourJaw software highlighted this lost hour, so we started warming up our grinding machines an hour before the start of the day shift. We can see on the FourJaw production timeline that this adds an extra hour or more of productive time to each shift.”

Using the data provided on machine-mounted tablets running FourJaw’s Machine monitoring software, operators could adapt to new and improved ways of working. 

“In the CNC cell, we have doubled the number of operatives because of the efficiencies we have been able to make. So we are employing more people in the cell, producing more products and the cost per unit of the product has decreased. That’s a big win.”

“The manufacturing monitoring software is a great tool that allows real-time and historical utilisation data capture that can then be used to inform and validate ideas and actions that increase utilisation.”

“The fact that the software automatically captures machine downtime data over time and generates automatic e-mail notifications means there is no need for what is often costly manual data capture entered into complicated spreadsheets to identify issues.

The interface with machine operators and staff are kept simple and time-sensitive to ensure ease of use and ensure the monitoring process is not an onerous one.”=

“It’s an absolutely fabulous tool to use and has become an essential aspect of our production planning processes. We are also using it for pricing. Sometimes, especially with a new job, we estimate production time based on similar components, but now we can see instantly how long the job actually takes.

The simplicity of using FourJaw's downtime monitoring software has convinced us to roll it out across the entire shop floor. It’s literally opening our eyes to see things for the first time.”

Charles Turner, Managing Director, Durham Duplex


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