Start-up builds future on used machines

Ferro (Midlands) Ltd, which began operations in 2019, has used the success already enjoyed by the business to invest in pre-owned machine tools from Amada: an LCG-3015 3.5 kW laser cutter and HFE-1003 press brake. Both of these used machines, which were installed at Ferro’s Market Drayton facility and running within five weeks of first contact, have been fully refurbished by the Amada UK team of engineers.

Co-founder and company director Malcolm Evans, who has 18 years of industrial experience in engineering and supply services, sets out the reasons for investing in the machines: “We reached the point when our outsourced laser-cutting spend was on parity with the running costs of having our own laser and housing it in a newly constructed unit.”

Although Ferro initially considered low-cost options for its capital investments, including machines on eBay, the company was wary of the fact that it had not operated this type of kit previously.

“The idea of installing machines like these by ourselves, then working out how to program and use them soon became pretty daunting,” says Evans. “I know a few others who have gone down this road and most end up calling in the OEM’s engineers to sort things out. We decided we could get into a world of pain by not going through an authorised machine-tool subsidiary or dealership. We’d seen Amada machines at other companies and heard good reports, so they were our first choice.”

With its Amada LCG-3015 3.5 kW laser cutter, Ferro now provides a complete sheet-metal laser-cutting service for a range of materials, including steel, stainless steel and aluminium, from 1.2 to 12 mm thick.

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Machining diversity with Delta laser

Inside the compact footprint of the Winbro Delta laser machine is a spacious work area that offers X, Y and Z-axis travels of 1500, 750 and 1000 mm, supporting the continuous C-axis rotary table and ±140° B axis. Now, this next-generation technology is available from the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) after it became a technical partner of Winbro Technologies Group.

The latest Winbro Delta laser machining system can be applied to a multitude of applications that include percussion drilling, drilling on the fly, five-axis high-speed cutting, welding, 2D and 3D shaped-hole machining via ablation, ceramic coating removal via ablation, and aerospace cladding for repair or overhaul. The flexibility of the Winbro Delta laser machining system makes it possible to combine these processes in a single machine by using dual laser sources.

Inside the compact footprint of the Winbro Delta laser machine is a spacious work area that offers X, Y and Z-axis travels of 1500, 750 and 1000 mm, supporting the continuous C-axis rotary table and ±140° B axis. The Delta machine is capable of a linear and rotary accuracy of 0.015 mm and 15 arc/sec, with repeatability of 0.010 mm and 10 arc/sec.

Within the Delta platform is a raft of technology advancements, such as component scanning and mapping, focus control, a patented six-point probing system, breakthrough detection, crash protection, tool-tip interpolation, a quick-change nozzle system, and a selection of nozzle assemblies.
Winbro can integrate Delta with different types of YAG and CO2 Lasers and, in particular, a range of fibre lasers – the choice of which is dependent upon the application. Control is via a Heidenhain iTNC640 CNC.

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Asset finance underpins investment

Close Brothers Asset Finance has arranged a bespoke CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme) hire-purchase agreement for Savcon Engineering to fund the acquisition of the firm’s second Mazak 6 kW fibre laser processing machine.

Based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Savcon Engineering specialises in CNC machining, presswork and large-scale fabrication, including various components for the agricultural industry, vehicle suspension parts, and high-precision components for the electronic industry, among others.

Andrew Maude, area sales manager for Close Brothers Asset Finance’s engineering division, says: “Emerging from lockdown, Savcon Engineering’s order book has increased rapidly as customer projects started moving again, but with their existing Mazak laser running round the clock, they understood that to keep up with demand they would need to outsource, costing an estimated £30,000 per month.

“The flexible nature of CBILS meant we could offer a 0% deposit deal, allowing Savcon Engineering to keep their cash flow intact, freeing up cash to buy the materials required and cope with order book growth,” he adds.

Rob Stone, CEO of Savcon Engineering, says: “This was a significant investment for us, but it’s one we needed if we were going to continue growing the business and keep up with demand. We’re really pleased with the flexible way that Close Brothers Asset Finance structured the package, comprehending the importance of keeping cash flow unaffected. This partnership approach is something we truly value; they clearly understood what we wanted to do and worked out a deal that suited our needs.”

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Cost-effective laser cutter introduced

LVD now offers YSD LaserONE, a new cost-effective laser-cutting machine designed to put the advantages of fibre-laser technology within easy reach of sheet-metal fabricators by eliminating the extras that increase machine cost and complexity. LaserONE is available with a 2 or 4 kW laser power source in a 3000 x 1500mm table size and with optional Load-Assist automation.

Developed to address the market need for a truly low-cost, ultra-practical fibre laser cutting machine, LVD designs, manufactures, sells and services the LaserONE. Engineered and tested by LVD in Belgium to function as a reliable and efficient machine, LaserONE cuts a variety of materials and thicknesses with the flexibility of fibre-laser technology, offers low operating and maintenance costs, and provides a quick return on investment, reports the company.

The machine features a Precitec cutting head with NC-focus, automatic focal adjustment and crash protection, Raycus laser source, Siemens control, and servo motors and drives.

LVD’s YSD LaserONE is equipped with an automatic pallet changer for fast interchanging of the shuttle tables in a cycle time of approximately 30 seconds. An optional Load-Assist automation system offers easy loading/unloading.

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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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