Recognising a gap in the subcontract laser market, Chris Sweet and Mark Causer set up Emsea in Tewkesbury to meet the requirements of manufacturers in the South West of England. Starting with a Mazak X48 Hi-PRO laser in 2004, success was immediate, with the company producing parts for a wide range of applications including prestige vehicles, agricultural equipment and architectural structures.
Chris Sweet's knowledge of Lantek made the software his natural choice for programming the Mazak. "Lantek Expert II was an essential element of the company start up. The nesting is good and we utilise its common line cutting, tag, and micro jointing capabilities." Because of the huge variety of parts which it produces, Emsea makes use of both automatic and manual nesting, depending on the nature of the job, in order to optimise its material usage. Lantek's nesting considers the complete range of parts required, including components scheduled for remanufacture. By automatically infilling large parts with smaller ones, and considering sheet remnants, the software adds to its customer's efficiency and cost saving.
Since Emsea started, turnover has trebled, reaching nearly £2 million. This increase in revenue put a considerable strain on its business systems, so the company needed to find a more efficient way of managing quotations and the progress of jobs, thereby ensuring that it maintained high levels of customer satisfaction. Chris Sweet said, "We looked at several job management systems but selected Lantek Expert III because it integrated with Expert II, it was dedicated to sheet metal applications, and it would automatically calculate quotations straight from the part drawing."
Emsea has now invested in a new 4 Kw Trumpf 3030 and two press brakes to meet the increasing demand. This stands at around 260 different jobs each week, and equates to thousands of different parts. Chris Sweet added, "We would struggle to manage this volume of work without Expert III." Starting from the customer's design, CAD data can be imported or the part can be drawn in the Lantek system. Combining the automatic cut length calculations with information about the material and material thickness allows Expert III to generate the run time for each part. Nesting within a sheet then gives the material utilisation, which produces a cost per part, enabling Emsea to quickly arrive at an accurate and profitable selling price. The quotation itself is generated from Expert III in a format designed by Lantek specifically for Emsea to match its corporate image.
Once a quotation has been accepted, all the data feeds through to the Sales Module, automatically generating shopfloor documentation and updated work in progress reports. As each operation is completed, the current status of each part is validated and entered into Expert III, to keep track of production. With this information, Emsea can now advise customers of the exact status of their jobs with just a few mouse clicks. This ensures that delivery times are met and that customers have increasing confidence in Emsea as a reliable supplier of high quality laser parts.
As each job is completed, Expert III generates delivery notes and invoices, while an interface to the company's Sage accounting package collates the financial data. Chris Sweet said, "The delivery notes and invoicing are brilliant. It used to take days to complete a months worth, it can now be completed in a few hours." The transition to Expert III, which the company is finding very easy to use, was completed in about three weeks, while training took a further week. Additionally, remote support allows Lantek access to the system at Emsea, to offer the rapid resolution of queries. Chris Sweet concluded, "We expect to see the full benefits of Expert III over the next six months, but already we would find it virtually impossible to manage the volume of work without it. It has given us much better control of our deliveries, and our customers are happy that they receive their parts on time or early."
Contact: Rob Powell