The Trumpf TruLaser 5030 Fiber, solid state laser processing machine, has enjoyed phenomenal success since its launch at EuroBLECH 2010. To date, around 100 units have been sold worldwide. And in the UK alone, seven have already been ordered, the second highest order intake in the whole of Europe.
The machine’s proven ability to drive down the cost of thin sheet parts through high productivity and low energy consumption is the overwhelming reason for purchase. And for Lasershape, this clear business case resulted in an order for two TruLaser 5030 Fiber machines, the company’s first Trumpf investment; for installation this summer at its new factory in Nottingham.
Although Lasershape undertakes a range of sheet metal processes its core business has always been CO2 laser cutting. That is until Director, Tim Leam, saw the TruLaser 5030 Fiber in Germany last year. “In all honesty I wasn’t considering Trumpf but this compact machine won me over. No gas, no mirrors, no maintenance, easy operation and considerably less power consumption, it’s a great combination.”
A feature inherited from its CO2 counterpart, the TruLaser 5030 Fiber uses a single cutting head for all sheet thickness, eliminating the need for different lenses. The head is also maintenance free. Both aspects represent an immediate cost saving for Lasershape, a company that usually spends up to £60,000 on lenses alone for its non-Trumpf CO2 machines.
“I don’t like taking risks with investment in technology that isn’t proven and the fibre machines I had previously seen presented too many negatives,” Tim continued. “The TruLaser 5030 Fiber is not only proven, the machine and the solid state TruDisk laser are both designed and manufactured by Trumpf. The cut quality is better and this top-spec machine has all the features, such as autofocus, that I expect from the latest technology.
Speed of production is the essence at Lasershape. The company has in the region of 1000 live customers, the biggest of which represents just 5% of its turnover. To provide the service these customers expect, Lasershape operates 24/7. Currently the average lead time is 48-72 hours but the company is seeking to reduce that.
At present any copper and brass cutting is done by Lasershape’s waterjet machines. These materials are ideal for the TruLaser 5030 Fiber as its disk laser, by comparison with other laser sources, is immune to back reflection and therefore completely process safe. It is also considerably faster than waterjet which will give Lasershape a significant competitive advantage.
Initially Lasershape plans to retain its CO2 lasers for heavy cutting and to divert thin materials to the new TruLaser 5030 Fiber machines. Although the economy of these machines is greatest for materials up to 4mm, they can be used to cut mild steel up to 20mm. And this will give Lasershape a good back-up in the event of an excess of orders in thick sheet processing.