A specialist in prototyping and low-volume production for a host of high-end automotive OEM and tier-one manufacturers has invested in a new TruLaser 1030 fiber from TRUMPF, the first machine of its type to be installed in the UK. The TruLaser 1030 fiber has enabled ASE Design & Development Ltd to bring in-house its previously outsourced requirements for 2D aluminium and stainless steel components, which it was not able to cut cost effectively on its ageing CO2 laser cutter from another supplier.
Based at Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, ASE Design & Development Ltd was formed in 2001, since when it has built a solid reputation based on quality, reliability, flexibility and short lead-time deliveries. The company provides a professional, friendly service and is proud to supply OEM and tier-one automotive customers – see (www.asedesign.com).
“Our previous CO2 laser was getting older, more inefficient and slower,” states Director Andrew Easter. “Such was its performance that we were sending our 2D aluminium and stainless steel parts to third-party subcontractors.”
Frustrated with the situation, the company decided to research the market for a suitable alternative. As ASE already had a TruLaser Cell 3000 3D laser cutter, which had been highly successful at producing a host of five-axis components since its installation in 2017, TRUMPF proved the supplier of preference.
“We did look at a new flat-bed laser from our previous supplier, but the TRUMPF TruLaser 1030 fiber was clearly the better machine,” says Mr Easter. “In our opinion, TRUMPF technology is the best in the market.”
The TRUMPF TruLaser 1030 fiber was installed early 2019, since then it has been “as good as gold”. Offering 3kW of power output via its TruDisk 3001 solid-state laser, the entry-level machine has a working area of 3000 x 1500mm and a maximum sheet thickness cutting capacity of 20mm mild steel, 15mm stainless steel, 15mm aluminium, 6mm copper and 6mm brass.
Work at ASE typically falls within the 0.5 to 4mm thickness range, usually from aluminium, stainless steel and mild steel. Grilles, bracketry and pressings are among the common types of components produced, prototypes and low volume production.
“Since installing the TRUMPF TruLaser 1030 fiber we have stopped putting our laser cutting out to subcontractors, which is a significant saving,” explains Mr Easter. “What’s more, we are making major savings against our previous machine in terms of running costs, as we operate with compressed air as the assist gas where possible, particularly when cutting aluminium.”
In addition to profiling with oxygen and nitrogen, users of TruLaser 1030 fiber machines can use compressed air as the cutting gas. This application is possible up to a sheet thickness of 3mm, depending on laser output and material type. Benefits include reduced cutting gas costs with a more cost-effective alternative, and greater process flexibility thanks to the availability of an additional cutting gas.
Although priced within the reach of virtually all small subcontract fabricators, the TruLaser 1030 fiber relies on the same build quality synonymous with all TRUMPF machines. For instance, the TruDisk solid-state laser impresses with its robust design and power that will last for years. The machine also makes the cut with its easy-to-learn operation, as well as numerous intelligent functions. Additionally, thanks to its convenient interfaces, laser cutters of the TruLaser 1000 series are easy to automate or connect to other machines.
“We’ve made real gains with the TruLaser 1030 fiber,” states Mr Easter. “In fact, what we’re saving a month on subcontracting and running costs, is probably equivalent to what we’re paying for the machine, essentially making it a cost-neutral investment. Moreover, our cut quality is better and we have far more control over our lead times as the process is now in-house.”
Quality is a clear focus area at ASE, which is accredited to ISO9001:2015 and has invested in a host of metrology innovations, including laser scanning.
“Our quality is certainly a major reason why customers return time and time again,” concludes Mr Easter. “In addition, we don’t miss deadlines, which is vital in a sector such as automotive. With regard to both quality and lead times, investment in the latest manufacturing technologies, such as the TRUMPF TruLaser 1030 fiber, is definitely one of the keys to our ongoing success.”