31 July 2009

Manufacturers continue to invest in automation

Although there is no denying that investment in manufacturing technology is seriously affected by the current status of the economy several of Trumpf’s customers have taken the decision to buck this trend. For them, the purchase of highly productive and flexible machines that are designed to minimise parts cost and maximise their quality is the key to continued success.

A good case in point is precision subcontractor KMF. Managing Director, Gareth Higgins explains, “The best possible lead time, part cost and batch size reduction are the key drivers for us at the moment.” KMF is replacing two more stand alone machines with a TruPunch 5000 cell complete with auto loading and unloading and a 70-station ToolMaster tooling magazine.

This will be the company’s fourth fully automated machine and the benefits of this latest purchase are expected to be massive in terms of productivity and reduced cycle times. KMF already has two TruPunch 5000 machines linked to a twin tower material store.

“Our capital investment programme helps us to secure the right long term partnerships with selected customers,” Gareth adds. “Indeed our latest Trumpf will arrive to help us provide the very best service to two brand new, prestigious customers.”

It’s a similar story at Colt International. This leading manufacturer of environmental control systems has just replaced a 20 year old TC260R with a fully automated TruPunch 5000. “Although this has been in our business plan since before the economic downturn, we would still make the same decision to buy it today,” confirmed Lee Franckiess, Colt Group Engineering Manager.

He adds, “We are committed to moving our technology forward so that we come out of this downturn with the best possible machine utilisation and capability.” Colt now has the added bonus of better materials handling and part picking and the potential to run the machine unmanned. The machine also offers roller technology, forming and tapping in the same set-up reducing the need for additional operations.

B & P Fabrications has also recently invested a total of £1 million in special purpose machinery, a large format TruMatic 6000 combination machine and a TruBend 5170S press brake. Director Pat Byrne explains, “To remain competitive we need to make sure that we can offer the very best unit cost. And we do this by buying in the latest technology.”

The company confirms that business is good. And because all of its key machines are less than five years old it is enabling us to meet the changing needs of the market. “As the weaker companies fall we are picking up the business and the new technology we employ is allowing us to grow our capability and portfolio of work,” Pat concludes.

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