Loan helps COVID-ready transition

Close Brothers Asset Finance has provided specialist designer and manufacturer, Brand Consortia, with a term loan backed by CBILS to help the business through the COVID-19 period, putting it in a positive position once site working is deemed safe again.

Based in Oldham, Brand Consortia specialises in the design and manufacture of signs and graphics for high-profile customers. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the business was on track to post a record year. However, the bulk of the company’s order book was postponed for a minimum of eight weeks because of the outbreak.

Matthew Sproston, area sales manager for the manufacturing division at Close Brothers Asset Finance, says: “We’re delighted to have been able to support a British manufacturing business at a time when they needed it most. The directors approached us for forbearance on their existing agreement, which was granted. They also needed a cash injection to provide working capital and help cover the new costs associated with adapting to social distancing measures in their manufacturing facility. The funds will provide the working capital they require to trade out of the pandemic.”

Brad Tupman, managing director at Brand Consortia, adds: “Pretty much the entirety of our workload has been suspended because the type of work we undertake involves site visits; these are critical to our work and have been pushed back to until the pandemic settles down. We have supply agreements in place with our customers and we’re confident in fulfilling our orders once we’re allowed on site again.
“We weren’t eligible for the small retail grant, business rate relief or larger schemes, and had been looking at CBILS as a financing option,” he continues. “We’re grateful that Close Brothers Asset Finance really stepped up, continuing to help businesses like our own while other lenders were not looking to take on new customers.”

For further information

Pre-owned waterjet installed

Ölands Vattenskärning AB, a waterjet cutting specialist in Scandinavia, has recently installed its largest machine to date. The machine, made by Water Jet Sweden, has a 4 x 15 m cutting area and is equipped with two cutting heads, one with 0-60°cutting capability.

Some time ago, Ölands Vattenskärning identified a need for a machine with a large cutting surface and the ability to cut in five axes. As luck would have it, another customer of Water Jet Sweden located nearby planned to close its operations. Since 2013 TBS Yard had been manufacturing large sandwich constructions for the shipping industry and, for this purpose, invested in a Grand machine from Water Jet Sweden. This powerful 4 x 15 m machine harnessed two cutting heads, including a five-axis Beveljet 60.

Serviced regularly, the Grand waterjet was in very good condition. Several companies were interested in buying the machine, but Ölands Vattenskärning eventually won the bidding.

The service team from Water Jet Sweden moved the machine to the new site. This turnkey service includes machine reconditioning, packaging, transportation and an operations guarantee, making sure that everything functions properly after installation.

“It’s common for customers to turn to us for this type of assignment because we offer the whole package and ensure that everything works,” explains Ronny Martinsson, head of customer service at Water Jet Sweden. “Moving a very large machine is complex when it comes to loading, unloading, arranging wide load transportation and so on. We took care of it all, arranged transport and carried out additional training on how to run the five-axis Beveljet 60 cutting head.”

As a contract cutter, Ölands Vattenskärning is now the only company in Scandinavia with the ability to offer a machining capacity of 60 sq m profiling surface with 0-60° cutting.

For further information

Punch-laser combination machine

LVD is introducing the Strippit PL punch-laser combination, a machine that combines the punching and forming advantages of the Strippit PX or V-series punch press with the speed and versatility of fibre-laser cutting to complete multiple processes on a single machine. Three punch-laser models are available: the single-head style Strippit PX 1530-L; and Strippit V 1530-L in thick- and thin-turret configurations.

Strippit PL can laser-cut intricate shapes and process materials up to 10 mm, punch holes up to 6.35 mm diameter, and produce forms and bends up to 90 mm in length and up to 75 mm high. Combination technology offers complete part processing. The punch press handles high-speed punching and forming operations, while the fibre laser delivers high-quality cutting of outer contours and intricate inner contours, as well as material etching.

Built with minimal components, the solid-state fibre laser offers high cutting speed and low maintenance costs, making cutting operations faster, more accurate and cost-effective, says LVD. Strippit PL comes with a 3 or 4 kW fibre-laser source.

The Strippit PX single-head 20-ton punch press can punch, form, bend and tap, and undertake operations such as countersinking and scribing. Some 20 indexable tool stations hold any size tool, up to a maximum diameter of 90 mm.

LVD’s Strippit V thick-turret model features a versatile 48-station turret, while the Strippit V thin-turret configuration has a 40-station turret. Both 30-ton machines are equipped with four programmable 88.9 mm indexable stations.

Strippit PL includes features that deliver high productivity with uninterrupted operation, such as: the ability to process a 3048 x 1524 mm workpiece without repositioning; a large 406 x 1524 mm work chute to evacuate laser-cut parts; and a rack and pinion drive system that eliminates backlash and provides accurate positioning.

For further information

Flexible friend for GF Laser

Following the installation of a Trumpf TruLaser Cell 5030 five-axis CNC laser-profiling machine, the first such model in the UK, GF Laser is enjoying the flexibility afforded by a system that can switch quickly and easily between 3D and 2D cutting to suit workload requirements. The machine has also provided a further boost to throughput speed at the company’s Dudley headquarters and manufacturing centre.

“Since installation, the TruLaser Cell 5030 has been busy processing a multitude of different parts,” states director Simon Tregillus. “Not only have we been using it as a five-axis machine for profiling 3D components, we’ve also used it extensively for flat-bed cutting, which was one of the main reasons behind its selection. It’s been doing everything from the trimming of automotive pressings, spinnings and extrusions, through to components for the fire-retarding industry. The machine has probably been in five-axis configuration 60% of the time, reverting to flat-bed format for the remaining 40% whenever we reach capacity on our existing trio of Trumpf 2D laser cutters.”
On a regular basis, the 4kW Trumpf TruLaser Cell 5030 is processing parts from materials that include mild, galvanised and stainless steel, as well as aluminium. The company is also using the machine to profile pressings and spinnings made from yellow metals such as copper and brass. Unlike laser cutters based on CO2 technology, the fibre-based TruLaser Cell 5030 has no such issues with these reflective materials. The machine, which offers a bed size of 3000 x 1500 mm, also processes formed and straight tube, as well as box and angle section.

“Most of the parts we process on the TruLaser Cell 5030 are up to 5 mm in thickness, while typical batch sizes are circa 500,” says Tregillus.

For further information

TCI completes winning move

Before investing in Radan CADCAM software, creating manual nests at Kansas-based Tindle Construction Inc (TCI) took the sheet-metal fabricator several hours, meaning shop-floor personnel moved on to other tasks while the nests were generated. But now a day’s worth of nests are produced in just a couple of minutes.

“This makes a huge difference to us,” states engineering manager Jesse McGinnis. “We have an employee who only programs for half the day, freeing him up to spend the rest of his time on engineering projects. Because of what we’re able to do with Radan, it’s not necessary to have anyone generating nests full time anymore.”

Operating across two divisions – Industrial Services and Fabrication – the company manufactures products for a variety of customers, while also offering design and planning services.

“We have several machines with a lot of different capabilities, and combining those is like playing chess,” says McGinnis. “It’s interesting to see what we can come up with to get the job done, and that’s definitely a challenge I enjoy.”

McGinnis was recruited by TCI specifically for the fabrication side of the business and was tasked with hand-programming the company’s latest laser. TCI eventually invested in a CNC programming solution for the laser, but over time found that the system was significantly limited in efficiency and flexibility. After investigating all options for implementing a new sheet-metal solution, TCI made the switch to Radan.

“I felt like Radan was a better fit for us,” says McGinnis, who also uses the software to program TCI’s waterjet. “We wouldn’t be as efficient as we are without Radan’s nesting and the system’s ability to do what we need.”

Unlike many other solutions for sheet metal, he says Radan also allows the company to edit automatically generated nests.

For further information