Procuring sheet-metal parts efficiently

A contract producer of sheet-metal components says its web shop played a major role in helping the business compensate for a downturn in automotive and mechanical engineering orders caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based at Luhe-Wildenau, in Bavaria, Trio Metall und Design GmbH provides a complete sheet-metal service from consulting, designing and planning, to manufacturing ‘ready-for-assembly’ components, ranging from single parts and small runs, right through to large quantities. Using the latest laser technology programmed by Radan CADCAM software from Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, the company also works with non-ferrous metals such as copper, brass and titanium.

Developed around Radan, Trio Metall’s web shop portal gives its customers 24-hour access to request components, receive an offer, and place the order.

After going live in September 2019, around 500 orders worth more than €500,000 were placed through the ‘Trionline 24’ web shop in its first year.

The system delivers orders digitally to Trio Metall’s ERP system, which transfers them to Radan’s Ordermanager MRP module for production processing.

Completed orders are passed back from MRP to ERP, triggering the subsequent processes for shipping and invoicing. This process means that horizontal logistics are now digitally mapped, alongside the vertical manufacturing operations.

Trio’s workshop features an Amada EML-3610 NT combination machine, two Amada ENSIS AJ3015 laser cutters equipped with storage towers, and number of Amada press brakes.

Christian Weinberg, key account manager at Trio, says: “Our web shop enables us to keep up with the age of digitisation and the ‘Internet of Things’ by offering and making our services and capacities accessible to a global audience. It’s the interface between customers and our state-of-the-art machinery, around the clock, 365 days a year. We reach a number of sectors, as well as a wide range of applications, via this sales channel, which we consider to be extremely important for the future. We’ll continue to develop the web shop and its scope of services, as well as further digitise and automate internal processes, in order to produce parts even more cost-effectively, and stay ahead of the market. ”

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45 jobs available

The boss of one of the UK’s leading galvanising businesses has appealed for people to come forward for more than 45 new jobs currently available. Sophie Williams, finance director and general manager at Telford-based Corbetts the Galvanizers, is urging individuals who may have been made redundant during the pandemic to consider a career in the sector. General operatives, forklift truck drivers, administrative staff and middle management roles are all in demand after the company secured a string of new orders in construction, street furniture, transport and utilities.

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Kerf makes it easy with Linc-Cut

For manufacturers seeking a cost-effective CNC plasma cutting table that is easy to install, easy to set up and even easier to operate, Kerf Developments says it has the solution with the new Linc-Cut S 1530. Designed and developed by Lincoln Electric, Kerf will be supplying and commissioning the machines in the UK, providing operator training, and offering service, support and spares.

Suitable for cutting mild steel and stainless steel plate up to 1.5 x 3 m, the Linc-Cut 1530 makes high-speed plasma cutting affordable for small fabrication companies, sheet-metal contractors, custom-vehicle fabricators and prototyping specialists.

Parts that customers may want to manufacture on the machine can be input using a variety of methods. The CAD software supplied as part of the turnkey package enables users to draw components, while the system also allows users to import parts in standard file formats such as DXF or DWG. Some 36 standard parametric shapes are pre-loaded into the software, including everything from simple adjustable rectangles through to complex circular flanges, to simplify and accelerate part programming for the end user. Once drawn, the system can nest components with the potential for manual or automated programming for maximum material utilisation and cost savings.

The Linc-Cut 1530 is fitted with the latest Lincoln Electric Flexcut 125 A plasma system, which is said to offer excellent cutting and marking performance with a low bevel angle and high cut quality. Furthermore, the machine is capable of cutting 25 mm steel plate at up to 800 mm/min, and thin sheets in the 6 mm range at speeds beyond 5300 mm/min.

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Largest titanium casting from ceramic shell

Sheffield-based Castings Technology International (Cti) has recently produced the largest single component ever cast by the company in commercially pure titanium, and probably the largest titanium part poured into a ceramic mould. With an envelope of 1000 mm square by 600 mm high, and requiring over 1.2 tonnes of molten metal, the titanium workpiece showcases several novel casting techniques developed in-house at Cti. The casting was part of an order from a Japanese OEM and will see service in an industrial pump that handles highly corrosive media at elevated temperatures.

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£100,000 investment in new press line

A specialist in precision pressed parts and machined components has invested more than £100,000 in the installation of a new high-speed press line to boost capacity ahead of a raft of new opportunities. Source Engineering, which employs 32 people across its two divisions in Plympton, has leveraged the expertise of Bruderer UK for a machine to carry out the work of four conventional HME power presses.

Established in 1992, the company has gone from strength to strength, building and maintaining experience and knowledge across all aspects of its business. Source Engineering is continuing to develop that knowledge by training the next generation of engineering and toolmaking apprentices, ensuring that the company continues to thrive into the future.

Source Engineering is always looking to move forward and continually improve, whether it is product improvement or developing production processes. The firm stays competitive and improves quality by developing new production techniques, automating processes and investing in the best equipment – from EDM wire erosion machines for the tool room, through to Swiss-made high-speed/high-precision presses for the press shop.

The BSTA 200M 20 tonne stamping press from Bruderer was identified as the ideal solution for the company’s latest requirements and is now up and running at Source Engineering’s Langage Business Park facility, achieving 300 strokes per minute. This rate represents a 200% increase in production output across a range of products destined for the automotive, electrical wholesale and oil and gas markets.

Engineers at the firm have freed up an additional 500 sq ft of production space to use for the introduction of new projects, and to help Source Engineering cope with an increase in demand for its range of automation solutions.

Andy Dunkerley, chairman at Source Engineering, says: “Buying a Bruderer is like buying the Swiss watch of machines; you get unrivalled precision, speed and repeatable quality, all wrapped up in a relatively small footprint. We already had one in another part of the factory and were fully aware of its capabilities. So when it came to looking at how we optimised the factory floor space by replacing four machines with one high-speed line, we called in Bruderer’s technical experts to review the options.”

He continues: “They really understood what we were looking to achieve in space utilisation without giving up the versatility and the volumes, which basically meant we needed one machine to do the work of four.”

The Bruderer BSTA 200M high-precision, high-performance stamping press was identified as the preferred option and was fitted with a high-speed servo feeder and pallet de-coiler to help achieve precision control of material de-coiling and pinpoint pitch through the progression press tool.

Specified with a tool area of 510 x 400 mm, the machine can deliver up to 1800 strokes per minute, and is capable of handling a maximum material thickness of up to 2 mm and material width of 100 mm. The Bruderer BSTA 200M has also been equipped with ‘Press Force Monitor’, a feature which ensures protection of the press from overload. In addition, this technology limits tool damage if any stray material is pulled back up into the process – stopping the machine within a stroke, even at high speed.

Pablo Gutierrez, technical director at Source Engineering, goes on to add: “Sales are now back to pre-pandemic levels and we are looking to grow, with our ability to provide design, tooling and manufacturing all in one place driving the need for more production space. Our long-standing relationship with Bruderer UK has been pivotal in giving us a faster and more flexible machine, while also delivering capacity to install different types of presses or a dedicated assembly area to support bespoke automation work.

“There are lots of new opportunities domestically and overseas, and we are hoping to turn some of this potential into contracts that will see turnover rise by 20% over the next 12 months,” he continues.

Adrian Haller, managing director of Bruderer UK, says: “This is a perfect example of how the technical expertise of our team and the power of our presses can be combined to find a solution that does the work of four machines in one. Tolerances of manufactured process speed have improved significantly, while the ability to achieve fast press-tool changeover has been achieved due to the in-built Bruderer application of SMED (Single-Minute Exchange of Dies).

He adds: “We’ve been working with Andy and Pablo for nearly a decade and have got an excellent relationship with the technical team at Source Engineering. This was a project that really excited us as we could use our technology to provide an immediate operational solution and, importantly, a way of supporting the company with its ambitious expansion plans.”

Source Engineering, which is approaching 30 years in business, has developed new control boxes that help monitor the part as it goes through production. The company has already supplied a number of models to Bruderer UK for installation on its machines and is looking to expand its offer further over the coming year.

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