Easy forming of complex parts

Two custom bending cells, each comprised of an LVD Easy-Form press brake and Fanuc robots, have automated the production of complex formed parts for Germany-based Kuipers CNC-Blechtechnik – parts that could not be manufactured using a standard modular solution.

Today, Kuipers, a 100-year-old sheet metal subcontractor that serves a wide range of industries, uses the bending cells to handle complex interlaced parts with a high number of bends. In contrast to standardised automation solutions, the LVD bending cells offer the flexibility to program parts tailored to Kuipers’ requirements.
After the success of its first custom bending cell, the company decided to order a second cell – designed from the ground up and equipped with two movable Fanuc robots. The first robot feeds the parts from the material supply and pre-centres the blanks, while the second robot handles the components during the bending process, and stores and stacks manufactured parts.
Kuipers’ latest bending cell automatically sets up the press brake tools and the robot grippers. More than 80 m of tools are held within the cell. Four stations with flexible configurations handle the material supply. When completed, the parts are placed on a conveyor belt or stacked on pallets.
The press brake features LVD’s Easy-Form Laser adaptive bending system, which provides angle measurement and correction in real time.
For further information www.lvdgroup.com

BLM electric bender drives efficiency at JML

Some 20 years ago, Alistair Bailey became disillusioned with working long hours for the benefit of someone else’s business, so he made the break and created JML Engineering to specialise in tube bending and tubular fabrications.

The business developed through investment in several pre-owned hydraulic tube-bending machines, with key customers providing steady orders for security (bollards and crash protection) and safety (hand railings and cages) products.
These old hydraulic machines served the business well, but as with all things, age started to tell and support for them from the manufacturers became non-existent. Recognising it was time to invest further in the business to improve productivity, Bailey researched the market and identified that a switch from hydraulically operated benders to all-electric was the way to go, a realisation which saw the arrival of his first BLM all-electric multi-stack tube bender, an Elect 52.
“The arrival of the BLM Elect 52 certainly eased the demands being placed on production due to business growing rapidly, and the machine handled the bending of smaller handrails with ease,” he says.
A key advantage of the BLM all-electric Elect machines is the speed at which they can be set-up and the guarantee that bends will be consistent, without any need for adjustment from the start of a batch to the last tube.
“On our hydraulic machines, on which we were very well versed, it could take 45 minutes to achieve a first off, after which there would be a degree of trial and error before we got the bend just as we wanted it. Now, we can complete the set-up in less than 15 minutes and know that the first tube will be within specification.”
For further information www.blmgroup.com

Manufacturer goes robotic

A specialist in precision machined components has invested in its first ever robot to help it boost capacity and achieve lights-out automation.

Dorset-based Brimor Engineering, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, has installed a new Halter LoadAssistant from the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) as part of plans to capitalise on a recent 20% increase in sales. It is an investment decision that is already reaping dividends, with the automated loading of up to 100 workpieces giving the firm the opportunity to free up staff to work on other machines and in different roles.
For further information www.engtechgroup.com

Roadshow and conference

UK-Irish trade relations will be at the fore of this year’s Manufacturing Solutions Ireland event, with the manufacturing supply chain roadshow and conference, hosted by GTMA and Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), already confirming more than 100 exhibitors and participants from both sides of the Irish Sea.

The event, now in its third year, will take place on 12 June at LIT, Moylish Campus. For the first time ever, Manufacturing Solutions Ireland will include a one-to-one ‘Meet the Manufacturer’ brokerage event.
For further information www.manufacturingsolutions.ie

Asset finance secures MBO at Able Tooling

Redditch-based Able Tooling has been supported by Close Brothers Asset Finance in a management buy-out (MBO) by two existing team members.

The deal has enabled a smooth transition of ownership from retiring founder Nigel Rhodes to Carl Brazil, production director, and Scott Lewthwaite, managing director, both long-term employees. Says Simon Parker, regional manager for Close Brothers Asset Finance – manufacturing division: “The company has been trading for nearly 30 years and is well-run with a range of high-value machine tools. This allowed us to offer a re-finance deal using equity in the machinery to part-fund the acquisition of the business.”
For further information www.closeassetfinance.co.uk