Derby-based stockholder Eggleston Steel has decided to enhance its busy profiling department by installing a TRUMPF TruLaser 5040 CNC laser cutter featuring BrightLine technology. The company estimates that the new machine will add circa £1 million to its annual turnover from profiling operations.
Eggleston Steel (formally Eggleston Bros) is one of the oldest companies in Derby with a history traceable to 1809. Initially focusing on wrought iron trading, today the company specialises in the supply of mild steel and bright drawn mild steel, along with aluminium and stainless steel in a vast range of sizes, shapes and profiles.
In total, this £7.5 million turnover, 46-employee company offers around 1200 product lines, 65-75% of which are subject to some kind of processing such as sawing, guillotining, folding or profiling. The latter service was first introduced at Eggleston in 2008 when the company rejected the idea of purchasing a new guillotine to shear 25mm plate in favour of acquiring a high definition plasma cutter. A second, larger plasma cutting machine has since been added, helping turnover from the company’s profiling department soar to approximately £1.5 million. This will be boosted further with the recent installation of the TRUMPF TruLaser 5040 with BrightLine.
“We anticipate that the new TRUMPF machine will add around £1 million to our annual turnover from profiling,” states the company’s Managing Director, Richard Hewitt. “We’ll be running it around the clock, five days a week to further improve the service and quality we offer our customers.”
Mr Hewitt and his team looked initially at three different CNC laser profiling centres. After shortlisting two based on their capability, the TruLaser 5040 was selected chiefly because of its overall package. This high specification CO2 laser cutter comes with TRUMPF’s smart nozzle automation package comprising nozzle changer, beam centring, nozzle inspection and LensLine with automatic status check – the first such package sold in the UK. The machine will also feature a cutting lens with RFID technology, as well as a 6kW TruFlow laser with BrightLine.
BrightLine enables users to process thick steel while meeting high quality requirements. Using new nozzle technology that accelerates the cutting gas to a high velocity, customers can achieve perfect cuts even in stainless steel up to 20mm thick. With BrightLine it is possible to use a higher quality melt than plasma cutting, even in stainless. For CO2 machines such as the TruLaser 5040 at Eggleston, the method improves the already impressive cut edge.
“The new machine will be hugely beneficial on jobs that require a more accurate level of hole detail than plasma cutting can provide,” says Mr Hewitt. “In general, plasma cutting lacks high definition in materials below 25mm thick. Without doubt, the TruLaser 5040 will not only remove pressure from our plasma cutters at the thinner end of our product portfolio, it will also open up new opportunities in terms of securing work for more accurate or intricate parts in markets such as automotive. Furthermore, many of our existing customers make laser cut parts that until now we haven’t been able to even think about tackling because the specification says they ‘must be laser cut’.”
As a relatively small, family-owned stockholder, Mr Hewitt admits that Eggleston Steel needs to leverage every competitive advantage it can find to compete with rival companies that are often part of a large group with stronger buying power. Aside from a turnaround time of just three days for processed stock, which is extremely competitive, Mr Hewitt says there are three factors that none in this sector can afford to get wrong: reliability, quality and price. All these attributes will be enhanced with the arrival of the new TRUMPF TruLaser 5040. The company’s operators undertook training at TRUMPF’s UK headquarters in Luton, ahead of the machine delivery.
“TRUMPF have been highly responsive to our requirements throughout the entire machine specification process,” concludes Mr Hewitt. “They even helped with valuable advice regarding our application for a Regional Growth Fund [RGF] award. This led to us securing a £90,000 contribution to the cost of the TruLaser 5040.”