One of the world’s most famous manufacturers of guarding for machinery, Procter Machine Safety, is benefiting from the performance and quality attributes of a newly installed TRUMPF TruBend 5130 CNC press brake. The machine has been acquired to increase bending capacity at the company’s 100-employee Caerphilly manufacturing plant, where it has been joined by TRUMPF’s TruTops Boost programming software.
Procter Machine Safety is a leading designer and manufacturer of machine guards, serving markets in the UK, Europe, Middle East, USA and elsewhere. Customers trust the company’s capability and expertise when it comes to standard, modular or bespoke machine guards for compliance with health and safety regulations.
Machine guards have been manufactured by Procter for over a century, but as part of Procter Bros Ltd, the company can in fact trace its roots back to 1740, when William Varley founded the business in Yorkshire as a producer of agricultural and domestic wire products. Today, Procter Machine Safety can boast an enviable list of blue-chip OEM customers, including Toyota, Rolls-Royce, BAE systems, Airbus, Bentley, Cadbury, GlaxoSmithKline, BMW, Procter & Gamble, Tata Steel, Ford, Heinz, Kimberly-Clark, Honda, Nissan and Unilever, to list but a few. The company also serves many small and medium-sized customers.
Machine guards are fabricated from welded wire mesh, as well as sheet steel, stainless steel, aluminium and polycarbonate. With regard to sheet bending processes, in line with growing orders from all sectors of industry, the company recently sought to expand its press-brake capacity.
“We have comprehensive plans for growth, both in UK and export markets,” states John Procter, the company’s Director of Machine Safety. “Of course, we can only move forward through investment in the latest manufacturing technologies, which is a long-held business strategy at Procter.”
The company duly commenced a review of the leading press-brake suppliers, and was pleasantly surprised with what it found. “To be honest, we assumed that TRUMPF machines would be too expensive, so we initially discounted them for that reason,” says Mr Procter. “Nevertheless, we arranged a visit and were not only impressed with the press brakes on offer, but the prices were cheaper than we envisaged.”
Procter Machine Safety opted for a TRUMPF TruBend 5130, a press brake designed to offer the highest levels of productivity across programming, set-up and bending. Moreover, innovative features such as lower tool displacement and five-axis back-gauge functionality provide complete production freedom.
Since installation, the TRUMPF TruBend 5130 has been set to work producing parts for machine guards made from mild steel, aluminium and stainless steel, typically from 1 to 5 mm in thickness. Many of the parts are made to order, so are either 1-offs or low in batch size.
“We like the bending aid,” states Mr Procter. “This helps with lifting and has allowed us to increase efficiencies due to less man-hours being required on any given job. Ultimately we have been able to cut shifts by up to half. In addition, thanks to the capabilities of the TRUMPF TruBend 5130, we can now bend parts that were previously not possible.”
In terms of tangible savings, the TRUMPF press brake has made a positive contribution to the company’s bottom line. “I would estimate that the machine is around 15% faster than our existing press brake capacity,” explains Mr Procter. “In addition, we are enjoying labour cost savings, as well as benefiting from less human error, which in turn means reduced scrap.”
All machine guards from Procter Machine Safety are supplied with a Declaration of Conformity to the Machinery Directive, providing customers with an assurance that guards comply as necessary with current machine safety standards and regulations. Furthermore, the company adheres to the ISO9001 quality management system.
“We use our combined experience and know-how to design, manufacture, assess and install high-quality, safety-compliant machine guards to keep people safe in a forever-changing industrial world,” says Mr Procter. “Our service extends from machine surveys, risk assessments, consultation and guarding design, through to manufacture, finishing, delivery, and mechanical and electrical installation. From concept to completion, we provide full turnkey machine safeguarding solutions.”
Underpinning this service is the reliability of Procter’s manufacturing machinery, a factor that has been boosted by the arrival of the TRUMPF TruBend 5130. “We are yet to experience a breakdown of the TRUMPF press brake,” confirms Mr Procter. “This contrasts greatly to some of our other recently installed machines. In one instance, we required frequent engineer visits for the first four months of operation.”
To support Procter’s investment in the TRUMPF TruBend 5130, the company has also invested in TruTops Boost programming software. TRUMPF TruTops Boost merges into a single system all the steps needed to generate sheet-metal manufacturing programs at the touch of a button. The enhanced automation offered by TruTops Boost means that creating NC programs for sheet-metal processes has never been easier or quicker, since the calculations are carried out automatically. The software also includes full 3D CAD design functionality.
To demonstrate the potential of TRUMPF TruTops Boost, Procter can use the software to accept and handle assemblies. When a 3D CAD file is read into TruTops Boost, the software subdivides the assembly into individual sheet-metal parts and sets them up for processing. The automatic unfolding of parts then follows, as does preparation of the bending program.
“As a lot of our work is bespoke, TruTops Boost helps break down the assemblies into less complex elements,” concludes Mr Procter. “We are finding that the software reduces waste, both in terms of time and material, ultimately helping us to make parts right first time.”