8 September 2014

PLP take second five-axis TRUMPF TruLaser Cell and win new business

Rugby-based Precision Laser Processing (PLP) has installed its second five-axis TruLaser Cell from TRUMPF. The TruLaser Cell 7040 adds to an existing 7020 model (installed in 2011) and has been introduced to double five-axis capacity and expand capability at this progressive manufacturing business. In fact, the investment has already resulted in attracting new work to supply one of the world’s leading manufacturers of aircraft engines.

PLP is a 22-employee company with a turnover in the region of £2.5-£3 million. The business specialises in laser cutting, laser welding and laser drilling, although it can also offer waterjet cutting, forming, inspection and engineering support services to sectors that include aerospace, automotive, medical and general engineering.

“Although we already have a single bed TruLaser 7020, we were looking to grow our five-axis laser capability,” explains the company’s Managing Director, Bob Ghavami. “In the five-axis market there are only two major providers and in our case TRUMPF provided the best technical solution with the TruLaser Cell 7040.

With the flexible TruLaser Cell 7040, manufacturers have everything they require, be it the processing of 2D or 3D components or tubes; either cutting and welding.

“The 7040 has a dual station mode since it was installed in January 2014 we have used it mainly for high volume automotive production in typical batch sizes of 1000-off, and the 7020 for more complicated aerospace work in batches of around 10-off,” says Mr Ghavami. “For automotive components we are making parts from mild steel, zinc-coated steel and aluminium, whereas aerospace components are often made from nickel alloys, stainless steel and titanium alloys. Thickness varies up to a maximum of 5 mm.”

Uniform processing is guaranteed with the TruLaser Cell thanks largely to the automatic raw beam adjustment of the laser across its entire operating range. Additionally, all of TRUMPF’s laser expertise is stored in the technology tables so operators can quickly adjust to suit different materials and sheet thicknesses for cutting and welding, while all mirrors are water-cooled to guarantee stable processes and constant optical conditions. Factors such as these are vital to a company like PLP which has built its reputation on high quality standards.“At PLP we always sell on quality then price,” confirms Mr Ghavami. “We have long a list of accreditations including AS9100 Rev C, ISO9001 and Nadcap for laser cutting and welding [one of the few in the UK], as well as customer approvals from Rolls-Royce, Bombardier and GKN Aerospace, along with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. We are committed to maintaining the highest standard expected by our customers.”

Indeed, the company’s high quality ethos and investment in the latest manufacturing technologies are paying dividends. PLP has announced that it has won a long term contract to supply one of the world’s leading manufacturers of aircraft engines in France. The TruLaser Cell has ensured that the time required to laser cut complex components has been reduced significantly, while meeting the exacting tolerances required by the aerospace industry.

“Although it’s our quality and ability to develop the laser process that sets us apart in this industry, our investment in new technology such as the TRUMPF TruLaser Cell 7040 is clearly helping to attract a new generation of customers.”

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