Way back in 1974, TRUMPF set up its first subsidiary in the UK. Some 40 years down the line and the Luton-based company continues to go from strength-to-strength. A key part of TRUMPF’s impressive success is its ongoing commitment to innovation. The company has never rested on its laurels and is constantly seeking the technology breakthroughs demanded by its manufacturing industry customers.
On the subject of customers, while TRUMPF Ltd accrues new customers every week, the company has an enviable record in client retention. Indeed, some customers can lay testimony to a full 40 years of technology partnership. A case in point is MSM aerospace fabricators (Middleton Sheet Metal Co. Ltd.), a £4 million turnover, 40-employee fabrication specialist serving the aerospace industry, which in 2013 invested in a TRUMPF TruLaser Cell 7040 axis laser processing system. However, the Manchester-based company’s involvement with TRUMPF Ltd can be traced all the way back to 1974.
“It was 40 years ago when we bought our first TRUMPF machine, a CS20 mechanical punching/nibbling machine – the latest revolutionary technology at the time,” explains MSM’s General Manager, Tony Daniels. “It had a 10 x 5 ft working area and 20 ton capacity. The CS20 was pre-CNC days so the machine was tape controlled. Among other things, we used it for putting lightening holes in aircraft panels, although the machine could actually punch up to 10mm thick sheet if required.”
Interestingly, the area sales representative at the time was Brian Lewis, who went on to become TRUMPF Ltd’s Managing Director for many years. Indeed, MSM’s Managing Director in 1974, John Pedley, accompanied Mr Lewis to TRUMPF’s headquarters in Ditzingen, Germany to see the CS20 being built. Mr Pedley was so impressed with the production efficiencies in place at TRUMPF that he implemented a number of the strategies at MSM.
In the years since, MSM went on to purchase many more TRUMPF machines, including two CO2 CNC laser profiling centres and of course the TRUMPF TruLaser Cell 7040. This latest investment has not only boosted productivity and quality, but introduced the potential for laser welding (as well as laser cutting) using the same system. “The machine certainly sets us apart from our competitors; I think it’s the only laser processing system of its type at tier two level in the UK,” says Mr Daniels.
In a similar vein, Coventry-based HTA Group is another long term TRUMPF customer that has enjoyed the benefits afforded by investing in the latest sheet metal processing technologies. With 110 staff and £10 million turnover, HTA says it is one of the fastest growing manufacturing companies in the UK specialising in the subcontract manufacture of metal products. The company has just ordered two TRUMPF TruLaser 5040 fiber laser profiling centres with the latest TRUMPF BrightLine fiber technology, and LiftMaster Sort unloading & sorting automation. According to TRUMPF, the installation will be the first system of its size in the world.
“We currently have five TRUMPF laser profiling centres,” says HTA Group’s Managing Director, Adam Thomas. “We are happy with the machines and consider TRUMPF to be our long term technology partner in this arena. The development of BrightLine fiber technology has reaffirmed that decision.”
BrightLine fiber is the latest headline-grabbing technology to emerge from the TRUMPF R&D conveyor belt. From mild steel to stainless steel, through to highly reflective materials such as copper and aluminium, and from 1mm to 25mm sheet thickness – all components can be produced on one single laser machine. The new TruLaser 5030 fiber with BrightLine fiber function is a breakthrough in 2D laser cutting giving manufacturers the best of both worlds – maximum productivity and excellent quality in cutting thin sheet and exactly the same attributes for thick sheet.
“Investment in the latest technology is very important and has been a decisive factor in our success over the past few years,” says Mr Thomas. “We have now purchased 13 new machines from TRUMPF in six years. This ongoing commitment is required as our market is very much price-driven – quality and delivery are prerequisites in our sector.”
Image: TRUMPF premises St Albans (1970s)