Nuneaton-based Subcon Laser Cutting Ltd has ordered a second TRUMPF fibre laser machine with BrightLine fibre technology. The new TruLaser 5030 fibre machine will join an existing TruLaser 5040 fibre with BrightLine fibre that was installed 12 months ago, as well as six other TRUMPF 2D and 3D (five-axis) laser cutting systems.
Established in 1989, Subcon Laser took delivery of its first TRUMPF laser in 1997 and has never looked back. However, the advent of solid-state or “fibre” laser technology has, according to general manager Tom Mongan, delivered in a genuine step change within the industry.
“In my opinion, with the advent of BrightLine fibre technology from TRUMPF, fibre laser machines are now so flexible in terms of the material thicknesses that there seems only one choice moving forward,” he says.
“Our existing TruLaser 5040 fibre is delivering fantastic results across the thickness spectrum, from 0.5 up to 25 mm thick,” says Mr Mongan, “while the operator friendliness is second-to-none – you press a button and it runs.
Another advantage offered by the fibre machines is the potential to cut reflective materials such as brass and copper. In fact, we’ve recently secured a new contract to profile copper components, thus creating a whole new revenue stream.”
Moreover Subcon Laser’s existing TruLaser 5040 fibre has ably demonstrated the advances in speed that are possible when cutting thin sheet with a fibre instead of a CO2 machine – one part has seen cycle times reduced from 11 to just 4 minutes (a 64% improvement).
The TruLaser 5030 fibre with BrightLine fibre is for installation at the company’s purpose-built, 60,000 sq ft facility. The machine was ordered to take up more capacity in the wake of increasing customer orders at this 30-employee, £4 million turnover business. Indeed, July 2015 proved to be Subcon Laser’s best month ever, with industries such as automotive particularly buoyant. Other sectors served by the ISO 9001:2008 accredited company include white goods, yellow goods, architecture, rail, marine, energy and defence to list but a few.
“There simply aren’t enough hours in the day,” says Mr Mongan. “We’ve been running 24/7 for the past four years and still we find the need for more investment. TRUMPF are the machines of choice because of the reliability, cost efficiency and energy saving benefits they deliver.”
“We are very keen to get the extra capacity on board,” says Mr Mongan. “Orders are increasing and we need to grow our throughput. Last year, for example, we did over half a million parts for one particular customer. With this in mind, although price and quality are vitally important, so is delivery – lead-times are being constantly squeezed. The ability to simply load the program and start cutting gives laser cutting a huge advantage over punching.”
Ultimately, Subcon Laser’s continual investment programme is ensuring it remains at the forefront of the industry. “Our carefully planned capital investments enable us to offer cost effective, precision cut components that appeal to customers large and small,” concludes Mr Mongan.
Indeed, such is the company’s reputation for investment and export success (current export markets include India), that a number of esteemed political figures have visited Subcon Laser in recent times, including Vince Cable when he was Business Secretary, and George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer. A representative team from Subcon Laser was also invited to meet the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at 10 Downing Street in June 2015.