Machinery Investment success six months on
Metal profiling experts, Accurate Laser Cutting, embarked on their £1.1 million pound machinery investment package earlier this year, which included an upgrade to their laser cutting and pressbrake equipment.
The purchase of a Bystronic 6kW BySprint 4020 Fiber Laser led the company's investment back in spring and, six months on, the state-of-the art cutting equipment has transformed the face of the business, with the metal cutting specialists seeing an improvement across every aspect of the manufacturing process. “We continuously invest in the latest equipment to ensure our customers receive unparalleled levels of precision and an outstanding metal profiling service that we believe is the best in the UK” explains company director Jon Till.
They now have the capacity to handle 4m x 2m sheet metal and the ability to process a previously unseen range of materials and thicknesses including 30mm aluminium, 15mm brass, 12mm copper, and 25mm mild and stainless steel. As a result of the increased sheet size, the Fiber also allows for a better nesting strategy to be applied. “Prior to the upgrade, we would previously split larger, 4 metre jobs across more than one sheet as our maximum cutting bed size was 3m x 1.5m.” says production manager Neil Tomkins. “With the Fiber, this is no longer the case as we now have the extra capacity to fully utilise the available space, offering customers greater flexibility for larger parts”.
This investment has paid dividends for the business, with them witnessing up to a 300% increase in cutting speed when processing thinner sheet materials. It’s these astonishingly fast speeds and quicker feed rates that have allowed for extra capacity to be released. “The BySprint Fiber laser is an exciting piece of equipment to have on the shop floor, commented production manager Neil Tomkins. “A job that used to take three hours, can now be processed in a third of the time.” For example, 3mm mild steel can be processed at a rate of 13300mm per minute, almost three times faster when compared against conventional Co2 equipment. “This is brilliant news for our customers, as they can benefit from an even faster cutting service and we can turnaround orders much more quickly.”
The equipment’s ability to process materials at phenomenal speeds, means lead times are at an all-time low for their customers. In addition to running a 24/7 operation, enquiries are dealt with in a strict 4 hour time frame and customer orders can be delivered in as little as 48 hours. “Our ongoing commitment to invest in the latest manufacturing technologies allows this high standard of service to be continuously sustained and improved upon wherever possible.” says company director Steve Morgan.
Although at present, their Co2 laser remains a valuable tool for the processing of thicker sheet materials, they anticipate Fibre technology will soon supersede the traditional cutting technique. “Now has never been a better time for us to embrace fibre technology” says company director Jon Till. “Although Co2 lasers currently offer better cut quality on thicker materials, it is only a matter of time until the next technological jump and they become a thing of the past.”
Reflective materials such as copper and brass can now be processed with ease and to a high standard. This was previously unachievable using Co2 cutting equipment without damaging the optics. Other advantages of using fibre technology also include low maintenance levels and high levels of reliability. “For a machine that is in operation 24/7, this is extremely important to production. Downtime is kept to a minimum, which once again allows us to keep service levels high and our lead times short.” says production manager Neil Tomkins. An accurate cut is another advantage, as a smooth edge finish is easily achieved without burring or any other defects.
A 320/4m pressbrake and 150/3m pressbrake also formed part of their investment plan earlier this year. The duo of advanced folding equipment operate in conjunction with the Fiber to offer an increased capacity of up to four metres and a maximum thickness of 25mm. The manufacturing process is completed under one roof at their Oldbury headquarters, giving customers of Accurate Laser Cutting the option to single source their components and add further value to their orders. “Over the past six months, we have witnessed a surge in demand for our secondary operations & are delighted to now have the facilities to provide our customers with a complete metal profiling service.” Neil Tomkins explains. This is also backed up by a £60,000 investment in a range of tooling and an additional £55,000 CAD/CAM software package, allowing the firm to cater for an array of bending requirements with ease.
It is evident that six months later, Accurate Laser Cuttings investments, in particular the Fiber laser, have brought many advantages to the business and their customer base alike. “For us, fibre technology represents the future of laser cutting.” says company director Steve Morgan. “Since our equipment was commissioned back in spring, we have seen production rates increase by 40-50% and as time goes by, we anticipate further improvements across the board.” he continued. “Ideally, our next purchase will be an 8kW model and we intend to explore new investment opportunities in the early part of 2016.”
More information regarding Accurate Laser Cuttings specialist laser cutting and folding services can be found at www.accurate-laser.co.uk or call 0121 520 2444.