16 June 2008

1st Bystronic laser for long-term laser user

During the past six decades Thwaites Limited has become one of the UK’s leading designers and manufacturers of dumper trucks.  Advanced design and investment in tooling ensures its customers are provided with the very best products at the cutting edge of technology.

Thwaites Limited has recently commissioned a Bystronic Bystar laser cutting system equipped with 6 kW resonator and a Byloader load/unload facility.  A long-term user of laser equipment and a long-term user of Bystronic (Edwards Pearson) press brakes, this machine represents the company’s first investment in Bystronic laser cutting technology.

Steve Trotman, Thwaites’ Production and Personnel Manager takes up the story: “Our need for an additional laser cutting system was two-fold, firstly capacity and secondly cost-efficiency and flexibility.   We were already using two 3kW machines for our thinner gauge work as well as sub-contracting out a substantial amount of laser work up to 20 mm in thickness.  This 20 mm sheet and plate work was not of the right quality, as it required further downstream operations.  We were not achieving the standards we as a company demand and our customers demand.”

Thwaites looked at two machines – another manufacturer’s recommended 4kW machine and the Bystronic Bystar 6 kW.  Each machine ran a number of trials using the same components and same materials and each company provided Thwaites with the back-up data.

Mr Trotman continues: “The machine we would choose had to be capable of cutting 20 mm and in the trials only the 6kW machine was able to provide us with the finish we required.  In addition, the Bystar represented excellent value for money - for very little more investment than the 4kW machine we looked at, we were getting a far superior system in terms of accuracy, speed and quality of cut.

“However, having never worked with Bystronic laser cutting technology before we were nervous about choosing the machine and at the time of placing the order there was only one other 6kW system in the country.  We gave a lot of thought to the decision. Having had a long-standing relationship with David Larcombe, managing director of Bystronic UK, through Edwards Pearson for many years, we were assured that our fears, questions, problems etc would be dealt with professionally and promptly.

“The machine was delivered on time and was up and running quickly.  We had to re-address the operator training but this was dealt with quickly and promptly and to-date the machine is doing everything we expected it to do and more, and has allowed us to bring all our laser sub-contract work in-house.”

Seven years ago Thwaites took the decision to run their existing laser cutting systems unmanned during lights-out-production and the Bystar has slotted well into this regime, with 20 mm sheets being left to run during the night.

Since Thwaites machine was commissioned, a further seven 6kW Bystronic  laser systems have been ordered within the UK.

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