The virtues of Trumpf’s TruPunch 1000 entry level CNC punching machines are proving increasingly irresistible to an increasing number of UK OEMs. The two latest companies to add their name to the customer list are Wiltshire-based Sunflow Ltd, a specialist in the manufacture of bespoke, low input electric heaters, and NCE Switchgear of Glasgow, which offers a complete electrical solution, whether it be motor control, instrumentation or distribution.
Sunflow, a first-time Trumpf customer, is the only British manufacturer of refractory clay heaters. As such, it has enjoyed tremendous growth – from a standing start in April 2010 the company now employs 40 people and commands an annual turnover of circa £3 million. The move to install a TruPunch 1000 has saved the cost of previously subcontracted parts and introduced even greater quality and production control to this progressive OEM.
Although there are many reasons for Sunflow’s success, one of the biggest factors in the company’s meteoric rise is the quality on offer. In fact, so confident is Sunflow in its products that the heaters come with a 10-year guarantee, while the products also carry the BSI Kitemark, one of the world’s most recognisable symbols of quality and safety.
“Until last year we were outsourcing punched sheet metal parts for our radiators, however, the quality wasn’t up to our high standards,” explains Suzanne Pesics, the company’s Managing Director. “We knew that bringing punching in-house would both address this issue and introduce greater control over our production schedule.”
The company, which is located at Royal Wootton Bassett, set about evaluating the market for a suitable CNC punching machine, assessing a number of different models.
“I loved the ease-of-use of the small format Trumpf TruPunch 1000,” says Suzanne. “I also really liked the visibility of the tool system, which means it’s possible to see what you’re doing at all times.”
Up in Clydebank, Glasgow, NCE Switchgear was already familiar with the benefits afforded by TruPunch 1000 technology as it had purchased two such machines around seven years ago, one of which had been installed at NCE’s sister company in Thailand. Although both machines were still performing reliably, another manufacturer’s punching machine (based in Glasgow), had reached its end of life.
“We were really pleased with TruPunch 1000 so we only considered returning to Trumpf for further investment,” explains Managing Director John Kirkwood. “The decision was taken to replace both Glasgow machines with new TruPunch 1000 small format models. Our existing TruPunch 1000 was sold to a main Trumpf dealer in Sweden, while the other machine was sold for scrap.”
Installed in July 2014, in addition to punching electrical enclosures and related components, the entry level TruPunch 1000 machines also allow NCE Switchgear the opportunity to form threads, make extrusions and bend flanges, hence delivering economic complete processing in a single clamping. The investment has allowed compatibility in production with no downtime or requirement to rewrite programs.
Similar benefits are also being enjoyed by Sunflow, which took receipt of its machine in October 2013. The small format machine offers a working area of 2000 x 1250 mm (a medium format model offering 2500 x 1250 mm is also available) and a maximum sheet thickness of 6.4 mm.
“With the help of the TruPunch 1000 we believe our quality standards are unsurpassed,” says Suzanne. “We punch our radiator bodies from 2 mm cold rolled mild steel sheet, although some other parts are punched from 0.6 mm material. The feet are the thickest components at 4 mm.”
Some radiator parts are punched in batches of around 100, although with a large bespoke element to Sunflow’s production schedule, 2-offs are not uncommon.
“Rapid set-up is obviously vital,” says Suzanne. “The TruPunch 1000 gives us speed and flexibility so that we can offer truly bespoke products. We are extremely pleased with the machine.”
Likewise, NCE Switchgear is extremely content with the performance of its new TruPunch 1000 machines, which on a day-to-day basis are loaded with 2 mm thick zintec, although some parts are also made from 2.5 mm galvanised steel. Typically, components are grouped together to ensure the most efficient method of manufacture is delivered for each project. Tight tolerances and high surface finishes are high priorities at this 80-employee company.
“We’ve been a Trumpf customer for around 17 years and have the found the TruPunch 1000 machines to be really reliable,” says Mr Kirkwood. “Before we bought the two new machines, we ran our previous TruPunch 1000 against a competitor machine, and the difference was like night and day. The TruPunch was much faster, much easier to use, and far quicker to set up.”