Large contract for Glacier Energy

Glacier Energy, a provider of specialist products, services and engineering solutions for energy infrastructure, has won a contract worth circa £1m. The order, from PBS, is for the provision of export gas coolers that will see service on Total Exploration and Production UK’s (TEPUK) North Alwyn Platform in the North Sea.PBS is a new organisation based in Aberdeen which consists of three separate companies: Ponticelli UK Ltd, Brand UK Ltd and Semco Maritime Ltd.

The scope of work includes the design, fabrication, assembly, inspection, testing and supply of four shell and tube heat exchangers. This work will take place at Glacier Energy’s heat transfer solutions division, based in Aberdeen. Work has already commenced on the units with four heat exchangers due for delivery before the end of this month.

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3D waterjet cutting of hard materials

ProdOpti AB in Jordbro, Sweden, has invested in a new machine from Water Jet Sweden. With its new FiveX waterjet machine, ProdOpti is today the only company in Scandinavia that can offer abrasive waterjet cutting in full 3D.

“ProdOpti should always be a company at the forefront of machining; to live up to this we invest in modern equipment to meet market demands,” says Gabriel Öfverberg, CEO of ProdOpti. “Our choice fell on Water Jet Sweden’s FiveX machine thanks to its flexibility in producing components in both small and large series. The FiveX machine gives us great opportunities to deliver a final product that exceeds customer expectations.”

Water Jet Sweden’s FiveX has an extra-stable frame design to manufacture 3D components in hard materials with high precision and positioning accuracy of ±0.050 mm/m. The model ProdOpti ordered is 4.2 m wide and 6.7 m long, giving a work table of 28 sq m. That size is not unique in itself, but with a Z-axis movement of 1.2 m, users receive a cutting space of 33.7 cu m. These dimensions make it one of the largest FiveX machines manufactured to date.

FiveX is said to have the only cutting head in the world with a ±120° movement, enabling the machine to process 3D parts with abrasive waterjet technology. This capability is also the reason why the FiveX model is equipped with solid safety walls around the perimeter of the cutting space. The front wall opens and closes automatically from the operator panel. Around the machine there are small windows made of safety glass so the operator can monitor cutting.

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Automated welding deal

The Esab Group Inc and robot specialist Yaskawa have signed a global co-operation agreement to jointly develop and market a line of pre-engineered robotic welding systems called XCellerator. Yaskawa will engineer and build XCellerator, with Esab providing the marketing through its global sales channels. The cells target small and medium-sized manufacturers and fabricators seeking easy installation, set-up and operation, enabling them to take a confident step toward automating their welding operations.

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Landmark investment at Park Sheet Metal

Coventry-based Park Sheet Metal recently became the UK’s first company to invest in the newest version of Trumpf’s TruLaser Cell 7040 five-axis laser-cutting machine. Adding to a fleet of existing, previous-generation TruLaser Cell 7040 machines, the latest model brings a number of advantages to this specialist in low-volume automotive metal parts and assemblies, including greater energy efficiency.

Established in 1947, Park Sheet Metal is a £16m turnover business that occupies five sites covering a total of 85,000 sq ft. The company, which is certified to IATF 16949, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, supplies to prestigious customers that include Aston Martin, Bentley, Lotus, Jaguar Land Rover and LEVC (London Electric Vehicle Co), to list but a few.

“Although we already had three TruLaser Cell 7040 machines, the need arose to invest in another as one of our major customers, Aston Martin, has opened an additional factory at St Athan in Wales,” explains director Graham Penter. “In turn, there was a clear requirement to expand our capital expenditure and facilities, and continue supporting their expansion over the coming years. The same is true for LEVC, with the introduction of their new electric van. Due to these developments, extra five-axis laser cutting capacity was an obvious need.”

Speaking about the new investment, he adds: “It’s really nice having four TruLaser machines, giving us the flexibility to grow, which is the main reason we have retained Trumpf as our preferred supplier of five-axis laser-cutting technology.”
Park Sheet Metal invests in the latest technology for many reasons, not least to achieve accuracy and repeatability through all of its laser cutting. Furthermore, the latest TruLaser Cell 7040 enables significant improvements in energy efficiency without compromising on cutting speed or productivity.

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Rapid response from XYZ

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic the focus was on ventilators, but as things developed testing became the priority of Government. Step forward Atherstone-based Shield Marquee Manufacturing. While its usual customer base, the hospitality industry, continues to face strict restrictions, Shield Marquees became part of the marquee hire industry’s National Emergency Testing Stations Network (NETS). Working with the Government, NETS has been central in supplying the network of test centres for COVID-19 with temporary structures. The demand for a quick response, however, placed significant pressure on Shield Marquee’s manufacturing capability.

“With every structure containing multiple machined components, such as leg and ridge knuckles, we found that our existing machine capacity was limited, and the volumes we were asked to produce were leading to backlogs,” says director Matthew Faizey.

While speed was crucial, Faizey was cautious and carried out due diligence online of a select group of machine-tool suppliers, with XYZ Machine Tools coming out on top.

“If I’m going to spend a significant amount of money, I want to do my research and check on a supplier’s viability, history, reputation and ability to support my business,” he says. “XYZ Machine Tools impressed in all respects. In particular, was the knowledge that we could get support in terms of service and programming very quickly, as we can’t afford for the machine to be down for any length of time.”

With that reassurance and time ticking away, Faizey contacted XYZ Machine Tools at 09:30 on a Friday morning. XYZ’s area sales manager jumped in his car and by lunchtime the order was placed and paid for. The following Tuesday the machine, an XYZ 1000 LR vertical machining centre, was delivered, commissioned and ready for production.

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