Prestwood Panels, a leader in sheet metal and fabrication manufacturing, is benefiting from faster work rates, improved throughput and reduced costs, since purchasing a refurbished Laserblade laser cutting machine and state of the art Lantek programming system from industrial laser specialist, World Machinery. The flexibility of the Laserblade machine to cut complex profiles quickly and at low cost is also enabling Prestwood to expand its business into new markets, such as automotive and point of sale.
Prestwood Panels, based in Wombourne near Wolverhampton, is a well established business and one that is set to grow substantially since its acquisition in August 2011 by new owners determined to invest in its machine base. “A lot of the manufacturing processes were quite traditional and time consuming at the time of our take over and we knew that we needed to change this situation, both to improve competitiveness and take the company to where we want it to be,” said Ashley Johnson, Managing Director of Prestwood Panels Ltd (www.prestwoodpanels.co.uk).
“We recognised that our punch processes and programming system were a bottleneck to achieving the increased production rates that we required. We knew through experience that a better way of working was by using laser cutting, so we sought the advice of a company that is: World Machinery.
We met with Wayne Hipkiss, MD of World Machinery and outlined our requirements. He pointed us in the right direction straightaway and knew exactly what was required. Wayne recommended a refurbished second-hand Laserblade machine with a 3m x 1.5meter bed and the capacity for cutting Aluminium, Stainless Steel and Mild Steel up to 12mm thick, complemented by Lantek Expert 1 CAD/CAM programming software. This was perfect for what we required, especially as the extremely attractive package offered by World Machine in support of the machine also included installation and – crucially – local parts and service support. The benefits to our production resulting from the purchase of the Laserblade and the Lantek software are many. The Lantek platform is a perfect complement to the Laserblade machine, speeding up programming time and enabling us to get a much better sheet utilisation from tight nesting and small boarders. The flexibility of the software means that we can now program and cut many different complex shapes from one sheet, making our production much more efficient thus complementing our ISO9001:2008 quality standard and competitive costing system.
“Lantek provides a very flexible and powerful solution that is also very easy to use and has been proven, time and again, to really get the best out of both the new and used machines we have supplied,” said Wayne Hipkiss. “It is one thing to buy the right machine, but also vital to make sure it is integrated into your production system in order to achieve the machine’s full potential.”
Ashley Johnson again: “As regards the Laserblade itself, we save on tooling costs, sheet usage, setting and operating times compared with the punch presses. In addition the improved edge cutting quality and high speed cutting ability of the Laserblade has increased our throughput by a far greater amount than we could ever achieve with our punch presses, enabling us to take on larger projects and vastly reducing lead-times”.
“Because we offer both new and second hand refurbished machinery we are always able to give customers exactly what they require at a competitive price,” said Wayne Hipkiss. “We have been in the laser machine business since the first commercial sheet cutting machines became widely used in the late 70’s and early 80’s, so we have seen the technology develop. Many of the early machines we sold as new have come back to us for reconditioning and are still in operation today in different parts of the world.”