East Sussex-based subcontract & sheet metal fabrication company, Stevens Rowsell Ltd, has placed an order for an automated laser cutting cell featuring a Trumpf TruLaser 3030 high specification CNC laser profiling centre with LiftMaster store. Due for installation in July 2007 the machine will significantly increase the company's cutting capability and capacity and will facilitate the redeployment of skilled labour to other areas of the business.
Stevens Rowsell has created an enviable position for itself in that every one of its top 20 customers are involved in a different market sector, thus considerably reducing the risks arising from any industry-specific downturn. For example, the company's top three customers are involved in road sweeping, entrance controls and cable management systems respectively. Many of Stevens Rowsell's customers are based within a 100 mile radius of its headquarters at St Leonard's-on-Sea near Hastings, making it easier to visit them frequently and give added value to customer satisfaction.
However, with turnover 40% up on the previous year the 30-employee company needed to dramatically increase its laser cutting capacity to keep up with demand and also to more effectively service its core customer base with high levels of on-time delivery.
"We were one of the first companies in the UK back in 1993 to acquire a Trumpf laser cutter – a 2503E LaserCat. This was followed up in 1999 with the introduction of the original L3030s model," explains Managing Director Stuart Small. "Although the L3030s is still going strong and is serving us well we needed to further strengthen our technological capabilities and increase our cutting capacity to ensure we maintain development and growth of our sales and net profit position"
"As a sheet metal fabrication shop we have been historically biased towards using Trumpf machinery based on their quality, precision and working lifespan. We currently possess their CNC machines at every core operation centre right through the business. However, brand loyalty counted for very little when we explored the laser market as we had to make sure we were selecting the correct plant for our manufacturing needs and for delivering our medium term operation strategy – and if that had meant purchasing from an alternative supplier then that's what I would have done," says Mr Small.
The company duly appraised every leading laser manufacturer and touted sample parts accordingly before arriving at the conclusion that the new Trumpf TruLaser 3030 CNC laser profiling centre was the perfect solution.
Stevens Rowsell's Engineering Manager, Hugh Ross, who led a comprehensive study of the laser market to ensure the business procured the most appropriate laser and material handling facility, stated "Trumpf offered the best combination of cut quality and speed in comparison to their immediate rivals utilising known and proven laser technology and that is essentially why I selected the facility even though it was by no means the cheapest"
"By our calculations, buying this laser cell and using it intelligently will enable us to potentially quadruple our capacity," states Mr Small. Having said that, the outright speed of the laser and cycle time savings were not the overriding factor governing our decision – our real concern was in the efficiency of loading sheet and the subsequent unloading and depositing of finished parts and waste material … that's where the true time savings exist and this is why we've invested a considerable sum in the Trumpf laser machine and LiftMaster store."
He also singles-out the TruTops Laser software as a defining factor in the acquisition. "TruTops will provide automatic nesting against our production schedule," he explains. "This will increase our throughput and offer better material utilisation."
The new TruLaser 3030 will form the operational centrepiece at the company's facility in East Sussex. In fact, a sizable extension to Stevens Rowsell's factory is currently being built so that the LiftMaster store and change table can be accommodated adjacent to the laser machine. The building project will be completed in time for delivery in July 2007.
"We are investing around Â£1 million in the business this year," concludes Mr Small, "which makes us one of the most progressive subcontract sheet metal fabrication companies in the South of England. A structured plant investment programme coupled with our close attention to customer service, project management and staff training improves the total service we offer and sets us apart from our competitors and will continue to do so long into the future."
Contact: Gerry Jones