A long-established subcontract laser cutting and sheet metal company located in the heart of the Midlands has invested in a TRUMPF TruBend Cell 7000, the world’s fastest automated bending cell. The system has created vital extra capacity and been put to work on producing over 200 different types of brackets of various batch quantity and complexity for a range of customers.
Redditch-based lntec Laser Services was formed in 1979 and is one of TRUMPF GB's oldest customers. The company has continuously invested in the latest technologies, offering a proven source for the supply of flat-bed laser cutting, tubular laser cutting, five-axis laser cutting and waterjet cutting services. lntec already has a wide range of TRUMPF 2D and 3D laser cutting machines on site, including TruLaser fiber and TruLaser Cell models.
To complement the company's profiling services, lntec also offers a comprehensive range of secondary operations, including bending, welding and fabrication, essentially taking jobs from a sheet metal blank right through to a finished component or assembly. However, with a new automotive contract on the horizon, the rapidly expanding £3.5 million turnover company sought to boost its bending capacity and introduced a 24 hour automated operating system, increasing the previous bending capacity by some 70%.
"We recently won a contract for the automotive industry that required the manufacture of 100+ different types of bracket to be supplied in batches of around 300 and upwards," explains lntec's Managing Director Darren Marson. "With our extensive laser cutting capability we knew that component blanking would be straightforward. However, it was immediately apparent that our bending capacity would not be able to keep pace with the lasers, and would therefore be the bottleneck process."
On average, lntec estimated that each blank would take just a few seconds to laser cut, but bending would take between 30 seconds and a minute using its existing manual press brakes. With this concern in mind, the company set out to acquire a more capable resource for the bracket contract.
"We decided on an automated bending cell, scrutinising most of the suppliers in this technology area," says Mr Marson. "There were many reasons we opted for the TRUMPF TruBend Cell 7000, not least its automated tool change. With so many different bracket types to produce, we knew this attribute would prove vital. The other machines we considered all required some level of manual intervention regarding the tool change function."
Installed last year, the TRUMPF TruBend Cell 7000 (one of the first in the Midlands) is already producing the required brackets after lntec produced the necessary programs using TRUMPF TruTops Bend programming software (purchased at the same time as the machine).
With its system of back gauges and dynamic drive concept, the TruBend Cell 7000 offers users a compact system for the efficient bending of small parts up to 500 x 380 mm. The LoadMaster Bend automation loads quickly, reliably and parallel to production, while the press brake's ToolMaster Bend sets up tooling automatically. Some 60 upper tools and 48 lower tools fit into the ToolMaster.
“Most of the brackets we process are produced from an A4-sized blank with various complexities, some single bends and others containing 10-12 bends. Brackets are produced in mild steel, aluminium and stainless steel, up to a maximum thickness of 5 mm. We are now looking at putting other jobs on the machine," says Mr Marson. "At lntec, we produce parts for a myriad of industries, including construction, yellow goods, shop fitting, security and rail, to list but a few. Components can be produced from 1-off prototypes through to high-volume batch deliveries. I would estimate that 80% of our business is within a 50-mile radius, but we serve customers all over the UK. To increase our capacity further we are in the process of considering a third shift on all processes that would deem us a true 24-hour operation."
An IS09001 accredited business, lntec also undertakes special projects involving the finishing, assembly, packaging and distribution of completed products for customers seeking an effective manufacturing partner. As a result of its long experience in the manufacturing arena and the company's continuous investment in the latest technology and production techniques, lntec has gained the knowledge and equipment to rival most sheet metal companies in the UK.
"Our investment in the TRUMPF TruBend Cell 7000 was not made simply to boost profits, it's was as much about creating sufficient capacity to satisfy the requirements of our customers," concludes Mr Marson. "This industry is very customer-focused. If customers aren't happy with the quality, price or delivery of their parts, they can easily go elsewhere, it's important to us that we look after them and we take that very seriously here at lntec, satisfying all the requirements of our customers efficiently and professionally will keep them coming back."