Staffs Laser, which since its inception just three years ago has grown into a £4 million turnover company with 25 employees, has installed its second 6 kW TRUMPF TruLaser 3030 fiber* laser cutter. The two TruLaser 3030 machines operate alongside one another at the company’s new 40,000 ft2 facility in Eccleshall, Staffordshire.
“Previously we were running a TruLaser 3030 fiber and a TruLaser 2030 fiber on single shift, but we are getting busier and busier all the time,” states the company’s founder, Eddie Hopkins. “One of our specialities is short lead times, regardless of order quantity – there is no minimum. To maintain this USP moving forward we opted to part-exchange our 2030 for a second TruLaser 3030 fiber, which has more power and speed, and introduce a second shift for laser cutting.”
Mr Hopkins says it would take 51 seconds to change the beds on its previous TruLaser 2030, but it takes just 17 seconds on the 3030.
“Since we perform around 100 pallet changes a day, saving over 30 seconds each time, it soon adds up to around a couple of hours over two shifts,” he explains. “We can do a lot with two extra hours.”
Staffs Laser does not focus on individual sectors, but serves industry as a whole. Current buoyant sectors include rail, yellow goods, street furniture and construction. The company processes all material types, including mild steel (up to 25 mm thick), stainless steel (25 mm), aluminium (25 mm), copper (10 mm), brass (10 mm) and some titanium.
“Having the latest laser cutting technology allows us to be extremely competitive within the market,” states Mr Hopkins. “TruLaser 3030 machines are ultra-reliable, which means we can always supply customers with the highest quality products, on time. With TRUMPF features such as BrightLine (high-quality cut edges in thick materials), CoolLine (constant-temperature cutting in thick materials), Flyline (ultra-productive hole grid production) and TwinLine (common-line cutting), we can cut parts that we previously thought impossible.”
The Highspeed Eco function is another game-changing benefit, generating savings in gas consumption of up to 70% during high-speed cutting, without any compromise in quality.
Says Mr Hopkins: “Fibre lasers utilise a shorter wavelength with the laser beam, which allows them to transfer energy into the material at a faster rate and hence cut quicker. This allows us to be more competitive than other suppliers who use older CO2 lasers.”
Along with investment in new TRUMPF laser cutting technology, the company’s move to new 40,000 ft2 premises in August 2021 has provided a further boost. Staffs Laser previously utilised four separate units totalling just 9,000 ft2 of floor space. Now under a single, much larger roof, the company has optimised its work flow. The two TruLaser 3030 fiber machines sit next to one another on the shop floor and provide high levels of flexibility. This attribute is important for Staffs Laser as, like many subcontractors, it typically only has 3-4 weeks visibility on incoming work. Agile software is also critical to cope with a large amount of batch sizes in the region of 30-50 off.
“As well as newly-installed MRP software, we use TRUMPF TruTops Boost software for 2D/3D design and programming, which is brilliant,” states Mr Hopkins. “The auto-nesting functionality saves a lot of time for our planning staff. I’ve tried used auto-nesting before in other software suites and found that nesting manually actually turns out to be more efficient and gives better material utilisation, but this certainly isn’t the case with TruTops Boost.”
Aside from laser cutting, Staffs Laser offers a myriad of secondary processes, including folding, drilling, tapping, rolling, bar bending, welding, vibratory deburring and sandblasting.
“Within our new unit we’re also planning to introduce powder coating over the coming months, which will save outsourcing this operation and reduce lead time,” says Mr Hopkins. “Hopefully we can soon offer a complete bespoke package to our customers.”
He concludes: “We’re taking market share and growing rapidly for a number of reasons. First and foremost, we’re easy to talk to, and always try our best to turn parts around quickly. I can only see further growth moving forward, which might involve investment in more manufacturing technologies, including additional TRUMPF machines. We always get very good service and aftercare from TRUMPF, which is another reason – on a long list – not to look elsewhere.”