Enhanced design to delivery offer


Nuneaton-based Unifabs is enhancing its ‘design to delivery’ offer with the installation of a new automated high speed fibre and the order of an automated press brake.

The equipment includes an Amada Regius CNC fibre laser profiling centre with load/unload automation and storage, which has improved laser cutting speeds by 50% on some parts. The press brake on order is an Amada HRB-ATC, the first mid-range press brake in Amada’s portfolio to feature automatic tool-change capability.

Founded in 2007, Unifabs has grown into a £12 million turnover business with 125 people. Supplying precision sheet-metal parts to an enviable customer base of blue-chip manufacturing companies across a host of industries.

“Our goal is to be much more than just a supplier of sheet metal fabrications and parts,” says Managing Director Tom James. “We want to be a manufacturing partner to our customers, supplying a start to finish service. Whether we’re supplying sheet metal components just in time to a manufacturing line, or controlling the entire production process on a contract manufacturing basis, we operate as an extension of our customers’ business.”

Unifabs has seen growth of around 65% over the past two years and today operates from a single site with five factories that total 52,000 ft2 of manufacturing space.

“We don’t specialise in one particular sector, but strong-performing industries right now include HVAC, catering equipment and construction,” says Mr James. “To ensure timely deliveries to our customers we continuously invest in the latest manufacturing technologies.”

The company’s laser cutting capacity was struggling to keep pace with rising demand, with a lot of cutting still outsourced, so the Unifabs decided to invest in the new laser to improve lead times for its customers and regain control of its parts,

It is primarily processing mild steel, galvanised steel and Zintec from 1 to 8 mm thick with batch sizes typically from 50 to 200. At present the company is running a double shift during the week, plus a weekend shift.

“The REGIUS is a 6 kW laser, whereas our other Amada laser capacity is 4 kW,” says Mr James. “Combined with the more intelligent head movement, we find that any parts over 4mm thick are around 50% quicker to cut, shortening lead times for customers without any compromise in quality. It’s a great step forward for Unifabs and our partners.

The new press brake Unifabs’ first with automatic tool change capability.

“We manufacture a lot of samples, prototypes and small batch runs to help get components ready for serial production,” explains Mr James. “We have 10 people in our CAD team, so a lot of our work comes from the product development side of our business. However, these parts often have long set-up times, so we’re really hoping that the new press brake’s ATC capability will have a big impact on throughput in this area.”