A leading specialist in the design and manufacture of one-off and low-volume parts has installed three high-specification machines from TRUMPF, including a five-axis TruLaser Cell 7020 fiber. Birmingham Prototypes Ltd (BPL) has located all three machines at its new 20,000 sq ft facility in Birmingham, where they are helping the company keep pace with an expanding order book for sectors such as automotive and aerospace.
BPL has earned a market reputation for providing a one-stop-shop service, taking parts from CAD through to final inspected products. It has invested heavily in its future, utilising technologies that include CADCAM suites, presses, CNC machining centres and the latest laser scanning inspection equipment. However, to meet ongoing customer demand, the company wanted more capacity for sheet-metal engineering and fabrication projects at its new facility.
“We’ve enjoyed 15 years of growth at Birmingham Prototypes and now have 20 employees,” states the company’s Operations Director. “Moving in 2019 to our new building with 24/7 operating capacity is a reflection of our progress. We have witnessed increasing demand from our customer base and we are determined to grow with it.”
BPL invested in a five-axis TRUMPF TruLaser Cell 7040 fiber around four years ago. Pleased with its quality and ongoing performance, the company returned to TRUMPF for a second 3D laser cutter, this time a TruLaser Cell 7020 fiber. As part of the same order, the TruLaser Cell 7020 was joined by two further TRUMPF machines, a TruLaser 3030 fiber flat-bed laser cutter and a TruBend 3100 press brake. Beyond providing the resource to meet growing demand, the purchase is seen as providing genuine market differentiation and UK leading turn-around time on 5-axis work.
Complemented by TRUMPF TruTops Cell software, the two 3D laser cutting machines at Birmingham Prototypes fulfil many roles, typically providing a high-quality, burr-free finish when trimming formed panels in line with CAD models. Parts produced by the company are wide ranging. BPL also manufactures a host of automotive and aerospace industry parts, as well as components for OEMs and tier one supply chain manufacturers in sectors such as rail, nuclear, medical and white goods.
“As specialists in sheet metalwork and 3D rapid prototyping, the scale of our operations varies greatly from one-off bespoke parts, through large projects containing multiple components, to scheduled low-volume production parts” explains the Operations Director. “The versatility of our five-axis lasers is of great benefit to a business like ours, where we can never be sure what will come through the door tomorrow.”
Versatility is indeed a key attribute of the TRUMPF TruLaser Cell 7000 series, which allows users to process 3D, 2D and tubular parts. Moreover, customers can change flexibly between cutting, welding and laser metal deposition. The modular set-up of the machine, as well as the option of individual adaptation and retrofitting, enable users to optimally customise the TruLaser Cell 7000 series in line with a changing production environment.
All three new TRUMPF machines are installed at the new BPL facility, where they are processing parts made from mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium, brass and copper. The company has an ongoing policy of making the latest technology available to its customers so that it can operate a flexible production schedule and accommodate urgent requests, sometimes within 24 hours. In addition, having all manufacturing capability under one roof is another factor that sets it apart from competitors.
“Our overriding focus as a company is delivering unrivalled quality,” the BPL Operations Director says. “We continue to improve the company’s performance and ensure that BPL is at the forefront of the industry by readily investing in the latest machinery and technology.”
“Control over manufacturing is clearly a major contributing factor when it comes to producing quality parts,” he concludes. “The addition of the three new TRUMPF machines means we no longer need to outsource certain aspects of our production; we can control everything in-house. This not only improves quality and eliminates our reliance on supply chain partners but ensures faster turnaround for our customers.”