TRUMPF UK says it has received its biggest ever order for CNC press brakes. No less than nine TruBend Series 5000 press brakes have been ordered by KMF, a leading sheet metal subcontractor based at Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire.
KMF has always recognised that investment in the latest technology benefits customers through quality, cost and delivery. Indeed, the company currently has numerous recently installed TRUMPF laser cutting and combination punching machines. However, until now, the company held preference for press brakes supplied by a different manufacturer. This changed after a review of five potential suppliers for the new machines. Keith Nicholl, Business Improvement Manager at KMF, explains why they chose TRUMPF bending technology.
“The decision to purchase the TRUMPF press brakes was taken after a number of reviews with our folding team,” he says. “We examined the key elements and features that needed to be present in our production environment, which is strictly based on a made-to-order strategy, typically against small batch sizes and short lead-times.”
According to Mr Nicholl, simplicity of set-up, speed of tool change and repeatability came out as the principal driving factors.
“During trials, we found that the TRUMPF press brake could reduce a complicated multi-bend set-up from 40 minutes down to less than five minutes. This, along with the confidence we have from our experience of using TRUMPF punch and laser systems, convinced us that this was the right choice for KMF.”
“KMF are looking to ensure that the press brake does most of the technical hard work,” states Paul Johnson, Area Sales Manager at TRUMPF UK. “There are several aspects of TRUMPF press brakes that aid this strategy. For instance, operators are not only guided through the whole bending program using graphical instructions, but optical setting aids light up where the tooling should be placed. In addition, there are set access levels for different operators and setters, so programs can be pulled down, but not modified without authority. Historically, a press brake operator is one of the most skilled on the shop floor, but with TRUMPF technology the way that this skill set is utilised is changing.”
KMF has ordered seven 2.5 metre bed TruBend models (85 tonnes capacity) and two 3 metre bed models (130 tonnes capacity). All nine machines feature an extended open height for bending components such as deep boxes, and all offer tooling compatibility. One machine even comes with TRUMPF’s bending aid, which reduces a two-man operation to a one-man function when handling large panels.
“Other impressive features of the TRUMPF press brakes include hydraulic tool clamping [top and bottom], rapid bending speed and eco-friendly on-demand drives, which offer reduced power consumption,” says Mr Johnson.
To minimise any disruption to production operations at KMF, the nine press brakes will be installed in three waves: three machines each in January, February and March 2015. Initial training will take place at TRUMPF UK’s Luton headquarters before being supplemented with further training at KMF.