New investment at Flexiform

Flexiform, a manufacturer of office furniture, is investing £3m at its manufacturing plant in Thornbury, Bradford.

Over the last decade, Flexiform has grown to a £29m turnover business, manufacturing office furniture for government organisations, blue-chip companies, the education market and private businesses. As part of the investment, the company has purchased a Bystronic laser cutter and a Salvagnini panel bender. These machines are currently being installed, with employees receiving training, and in the next 3-4 years Flexiform will be working on transforming the production facility further.
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Fully networked stamping press

The Schuler MC 125 stamping press has been completely redesigned to offer smart functions. A debut appearance for the fully networked machine is planned to take place at the Blechexpo trade fair (5-8 November, Stuttgart) on stand 8511 (hall 8).

empty room of storehouse

As a result of additional integrated sensors, the status of MC 125 can be monitored at all times. This capability ensures the productivity of the machine and prevents unplanned shutdowns. Visitors to the Schuler stand at Blechexpo can experience these functionalities for themselves using their mobile devices.
The mechanics of the stamping machine have also been updated. For instance, Schuler has now implemented pre-stressed, play-free roller guides. The guides not only guarantee the necessary precision, but are low maintenance. A rigid welded construction ensures long service life of the die thanks to its low bed deflection, while the transverse shafts turning in opposite directions compensate for lateral rotation forces.
Presses of the MC series (with a press force of up to 500 tonnes) are suitable for the production of formed sheet-metal parts, not only for the automotive, commercial vehicle and supplier industries, but for the construction ancillary sector, the household appliance industry, and the electrical and electronics sector. Short changeover times can be achieved by fully automatic and programmable stroke and slide adjustment. Bed size ranges
from 1400 x 1000 mm for the MC 125, up to 3000 x 1400 mm for the MC 500.
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NSK names Certified AIP Partner

NSK has named its latest Certified AIP Partner, Coroll s.r.o., which becomes the first authorised distributor in the Czech Republic to receive the accolade.

Only those distribution partners able to successfully complete a 10-stage plan can become Certified AIP Partners, a process that includes intensive training and in-field assessments.
For Coroll, the programme involved a number of key stages, including: situation analysis (evaluating and understanding the customer problem); designing solutions (including costings, return on investment analysis and other related information); implementation of the solution; calculating the actual savings; and extending the solution to other operations. Based in Hronov, Coroll becomes the fifth Certified AIP Partner in the CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) region, and will be subject to an ongoing annual review.
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Bandsaw is twice as productive

Established in 1892 and employing more than 200 staff, family-run firm Thomas Graham & Sons, now in its fifth generation, operates a multi-faceted business in Carlisle. One division is devoted to steel stockholding, which has seen a significant rise in cutting capacity following the purchase of a new KASTOwin A 4.6 bandsaw built by Kasto, Germany and supplied through its Milton Keynes subsidiary.

The machine was installed in 2018 specifically to fulfil a new contract for cutting 350 tonnes of mild steel alloyed with boron, every year. Used by a forestry industry truck manufacturer for producing chain links, the lengths of flat bar need to have a high boron content to promote hardness during heat treatment.
Bundles of 24 bars of 50 x 20 mm cross section and with two bevelled edges are sawn into 280 mm lengths, each cycle comprising 10 cuts, producing 240 billets. The bars are removed from the output roller table before the next cycle starts.
Thomas Graham’s operations director Phil Barnes, who has been with the company for 17 years, says: “The KASTOwin is our first bandsaw from this supplier but our 11th on site. Boron steel isn’t especially difficult to cut using a standard bimetal blade, so it’s a simple contract to fulfil, but the automatic Kasto saw does it extremely well, day-in day-out, easily holding the required ±1 mm tolerance.
“We were expecting each bundle cutting cycle to take eight hours, but in fact it is completed in just three and a half hours,” he adds.

He goes on to explain that the high performance is partly down to the 10 minutes per cycle that is saved by the Kasto saw’s ability to start the trim cut automatically when each new bundle is loaded. On other machines it is necessary first to cut the bundle to level the face, then measure the bar before production can start.
More important for achieving the high level of productivity is the adaptive down-feed on the bandsaw, which is called KASTOrespond. This function allows a band feed rate that is higher than would otherwise be feasible, as it is automatically backed off momentarily if the built-in pressure sensor detects a rise in cutting force. An unexpected spike in cutting force can occur as the blade reaches transitions between layers of bars in the bundle, or if it encounters a hard spot in the material. Optimal force on the blade is therefore maintained throughout the cycle, ensuring a good quality of cut and avoiding damage to the blade.
Barnes says: “When it came to buying a new bandsaw for this work, bearing in mind we use three makes other than Kasto, we benchmarked various options and asked the potential suppliers to process a sample batch of our boron steel. Our welding division manager Jim Hunter and I were impressed with the Kasto demonstration at their Milton Keynes showroom, added to which the price of the machine was acceptable. In particular, we appreciated the consultative nature of their sales approach, which prompted us to place the order.”

The fully-automated bandsaws from the KASTOwin range have been designed for mass production sawing of solid material, tube and profile. Designed in Germany and manufactured on state-of-the-art production flow lines at assembly plants in Achern and Schalkau, KASTOwin machines are said to create the conditions for optimum efficiency.
Each machine can be customised to the specific application using a modular design system, while rapid motion is said to be assured using servo drive and ball-screw spindle technology for the material feed and linear guided saw frame. Further features include: automatic band guide arm adjustment; quick and easy programming via a colour touchscreen; SmartControl to ensure high bandsaw blade lifetimes; and incremental feed for cutting batches of short workpieces.
Since the bandsaw was installed at Thomas Graham & Sons, the higher-than-expected productivity on the boron steel job has provided spare capacity for general purpose cutting of engineering steel bar, such as EN8 and EN24T, from 10 to 300 mm in diameter, either singly or in bundles. Barnes advises that work transferred from other machines onto the Kasto is completed in approximately half the time, commenting further that when the operator returns to the saw, the job is nearly always finished and ready to be unloaded.
The stockholder’s management is in no doubt that the KASTOwin is highly beneficial to business, not only due to the bandsaw’s productivity on the contract for which it was purchased, but also because of the machine’s ability to cut other materials, including stainless steel and aluminium, so precisely. A tolerance of -0, +1 mm is held routinely, saving wastage by not having to program extra allowance, as would be the case on the company’s other, less accurate saws.

In conclusion, Barnes says: “We have an evolving customer base, more than half of which requires material cut to size, so bandsawing is a crucial function for us. Certainly the KASTOwin has been a revelation in terms of its productivity and accuracy of cut.
“We’ve also been impressed with Kasto as a company and feel that we have entered into an alliance whereby we can consult with them on bandsaw technology and receive unbiased advice,” he states.
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£600,000 press installed at Brandauer

Metal-stamping specialist Brandauer has spent £600,000 on a Yamada Dobby NXT 80XL as part of a three-year plan to boost its capacity and provide additional production flexibility at its Birmingham facility. The technology gives the company a 100% reduction in press setting time that releases manufacturing capacity to take on new contract wins in the plumbing, automotive motor lamination and fuel cell segments.

Thanks to the arrival of the Yamada Dobby NXT 80XL, Brandauer has topped off the £2 million modernisation of its facility, a spend which has also included a new GF wire-cut EDM machine, two Andmar surface grinders and an OGP Smartscope Vantage 250 to help with inspection.
Operations manager at Brandauer, Don Walters, says: “We first came across the press at Blechexpo and were impressed with what we saw in terms of its speed, repeatable quality and usability. Our subsequent visit to their showroom in Italy gave us the chance to see the Yamada in all its glory, and we worked with their experts to configure the machine so it delivers the accuracy and performance required.”
It took just nine months from the order being placed for the Yamada NXT 80XL press to be installed and commissioned, with the machine now working on components that use material ranging in thickness from 0.2 to 0.8 mm. The 1.5 m bed is the largest the company currently has available, and it can operate at speeds of between 100 and 800 strokes per minute.
Press shop team leader Karl Jeavons says: “The quality is second to none and we run off thousands and thousands of components every day,
thanks in part to the double link motion mechanism that delivers Yamada’s repeatability, while helping to prolong the life of the tool.
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