Our business actually started back in the garage. I became involved in it in ’98. Some business back then was single shift, two cutting machines, a couple of old magic eyes and basically from there, business has grown steadily since. We went from one shift to two and eventually we went to three shifts in the old building.
When we finally made the decision to buy, rather than simply buying more of what we had, we wanted to do something a bit different. When we first started looking into it, like most other people, we were looking at the standard 3-meter 1500 lasers but as time went by and we looked at it closer we said, “We wanted to do something different that wasn’t currently in the market.” And the more we looked into it, LVD seemed to have that niche or that part of the market. In particular, for us, the 3 meter wide table was crucial. There were other large format lasers out there that were doing narrow tables but 3 meter wide fits perfectly with our standard sheet size.
There are things we can do on the laser that we couldn’t do before: the ability to cut, obviously, higher definition, finer detail. Before we were having to drill holes in there where you can cut them in a large number of cases so, that takes pressure off our drilling machine. The light temp processing in particular is a real benefit for us, which again was one of the selling points. Without having to put on a full additional shift, we can get extra cutting out. Leave the machine, set it going 12:30 at night when the guys going home, come back in the next morning and there’s up to four plates sitting there cut, ready to go. So, for us, that’s a particular environment with the workload that we’ve got that’s a life saver.
In particular we had one large base customer with a large part of the work requires quite high tolerance which we weren’t able to meet previously even on high definition plasma. Now we do all that work in-house. So, that means we retain that customer, reduce the handling and net direct cost. Basically, we stack it and out it goes the door without having to run grinders or chippers over it like we do off the plasma machine. That’s probably been the main benefit of that side for us.
Something goes wrong and someone has to come, GWB will be here and certainly, that’s been the case today with GWB so we’re more than happy with that. Well, in basic terms, the OAC measures the quality of the cut my measuring the flame or the cut and obviously, it’s optimizing the speed, which for us, is critical. If you include the LVD machine with the second and third machine and, wow! This is groundbreaking technology that no one else has got.
Only LVD offer it so, that’s certainly something we — we’re pushing with customers when they’re in here having a look.
You hear all sorts of horror stories about lasers and, “They won’t to cut this and they won’t cut that.” That hasn’t been the case. We can put plate up without having to worry too much about its condition and it cuts.
Our operators have all come from a placement background so, you could say that’s probably neutral as to whether that’s an advantage or a disadvantage but, again, new technology for us so basically though, we’re starting from ground one and we’ve been really pleased with the progress that we have made in conjunction that GWB have provided. As I say, we’re 9 months and we’re probably 3 months ahead of where we thought we might have been at this stage so, we’re more than happy with that. We’re running 18 hours a day in the workshop and it’s being operated lights-out virtually every night. So, we’ve probably been getting 20 hours — 20 to 22 hours of production out of the thing. So, we’re probably well ahead of where we thought we might be.
You know, the way things are going, we’re probably going to have to look at something else in the not-too-distant future.
LVD recently showcased their XXL heavy-duty bending and laser cutting solutions, including the Synchro-Form press brake ,Taurus XXL fiber laser and TL 8525 large-format tube laser, during their recent XXL open days at LVD headquarters in Belgium. Watch the video and find out more about LVD’s XXL solutions.
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