Despite operating around the clock, seven days a week, the 1400 sq. m. premises of ISO 9002-accredited Laser Profiles appear a haven of peace and quiet. Home since 1996 to two CNC flat bed laser cutting systems served by an automated material storage system and now to an ADIGE LT712D CNC laser tube cutting system, this Wimborne, Dorset-based specialist sub-contractor is testimony to the competitive, and social, advantages of minimally manned laser processing.
According to Malcolm Hatcher, Managing Director, visitors to Laser Profiles since the installation of the ADIGE LaserTube machine in October 2005 have been amazed by the speed of the new machine and the way it handles and processes material. Supplied by BLM GROUP UK, the LT712D consolidates as many as six manual operations, such as sawing, punching, drilling and deburring, into a single, continuous cycle and machines round, square and rectangular section tube up to 152 mm diameter and 6.5 metres maximum length. Off-line programming software creates new programs quickly and easily, and the Siemens Sinumerik 810D CNC allows the operator to manage all the main functions, such as resonator settings, capacitive height sensing and program downloads. And fast set-up and change-over times make the LT712D ideal for small batch sizes, while a large capacity bundle loader and automated tube handling makes it equally well suited to long production runs.
Laser Profiles’ decision to invest in a dedicated laser tube cutting system was prompted initially by the limitations of the rotary axis fitted to one of the two flat bed laser systems. "We did a small amount of tube work using this facility but it is not a particularly efficient way of processing tube," says Malcolm Hatcher. "We were finding that we were losing out on price to companies that did have access to a specialist tube cutting machine, although our market research indicated there was no other sub-contractor south of Birmingham equipped with a laser tube cutting system and a market in the south of England that was not being serviced."
With equipment designed to run unmanned in a lights-out environment Laser Profiles is at the cutting edge of technology, with customers in the UK and overseas benefiting from 20 years’ experience of laser processing and the company’s investment in the latest technology. It aims to respond to requests for a quotation within 24 hours, with programs produced from drawings, digitised from templates or derived from an IGES or DXF file supplied from a customer’s own CAD system. However, says Malcolm Hatcher, this response has to be matched by quick production and a high standard of component quality.
"We pride ourselves on a professional approach to delivering finished components to specification and on time. That’s why we took care to check with existing users about the ADIGE machine’s reliability and BLM’s after-sales service and support, as the only time we get a return on our investment is when the laser beam is actually cutting. So we were very impressed by the fact that the majority of existing users have gone on to buy a second ADIGE machine."
Established in 1984, 25-employee Laser Profiles is currently extending its Aerial Park premises on the Uddens Trading Estate. This will add a further 420 sq. m. for tube storage. "We wanted to broaden our range of activities," says Malcolm Hatcher, "and although it is still early days, we already have one customer, a locally based stockholder, taking 25 per cent of our new tube processing capacity and others placing regular orders. And we are already seeing a trend for customers to revisit their designs in order to take full advantage of the ADIGE machine’s capabilities."
Contact: Paul Lake