‘State of the art’ fibre laser investment

Manufacturer of office furniture benefits from latest Italian fibre laser technology

Posted on 07 Jul 2018 and read 1137 times
‘State of the art’ fibre laser investmentElite Office Furniture UK Ltd has expanded rapidly since being established in 1986.

Having outgrown its original premises in the Yorkshire market town of Howden after just two years of trading, the business moved to a much larger site in Goole, East Yorkshire.

To help satisfy ever rising demand for Elite’s range of office furniture, the Goole site has undergone several major expansions over the following three decades.

Now a multi-million-pound business employing 150 people, Elite recently relocated to a £15 million 225,000ft2 facility, also in Goole.

In addition to housing the company’s admin functions and showroom facilities, the building has 152,000ft2 of manufacturing space — itself the subject of a major investment programme designed to substantially increase output and assist in achieving ambitious growth targets.

Central to Elite’s manufacturing investments was the purchase of a 2-D Platino Fiber Evo laser cutting machine from Coventry-based Prima Power UK Ltd (www.primapower.com).

Elite’s production director, Rob Clarke, said: “Our policy of making continuous investments in ‘state of the art’ production machinery has resulted in the company now being able to produce 90% of all of its components in-house.

“This high level of autonomy allows great flexibility and helps us to provide the best possible standards of product quality and service.

“Our move to new premises with a much larger custom-designed production facility, alongside the purchase of further advanced production equipment — such as the Prima Power fibre laser — is allowing us to achieve even shorter order-to-delivery times and further major manufacturing efficiencies.

“Having considered the laser cutting machines from several manufacturers, we decided that the Prima Power 2-D Platino Fiber Evo best suited our needs.

“A demonstration proved that the machine was easy to program, simple to operate and straightforward to integrate with our production system. We were also confident that it was capable of producing the high volumes of premium-quality laser-cut parts we need.”

Optional features

The machine has a number of optional features, each dedicated to different production needs.

For example, SmartCut allows the rapid cutting of thin sheets up to 5mm thick and achieves reductions in cycle times up to 30%.

For the fast cutting of medium- to high-thickness sheets, MaxCut offers reductions in processing times up to 40%, while NightCut is intended for use in intensive production situations; this provides faster piercing and a high level of “cutting-process safety”.

The Platino Fiber Evo also features a new and advanced cutting head with an adaptive-collimator single-focus lens that has been designed to accommodate all production needs.

In addition to ‘high brilliance’, the energy-efficient fibre laser provides over 30% wall-plug efficiency (the efficiency with which the system converts electrical power into optical power).

The system, which also has low maintenance requirements and reduced consumable needs, is available with powers of 2, 3, 4 or 6kW — the latter being specified for Elite’s machine.

Also featured is SIPS (safe impact protection system), which protects the laser head in the event of a crash; a wide range of nozzles suitable for all applications, together with an automatic nozzle-changing system, is available on request.

Simple and fast off-line programming is provided by Maestro-Libellula and NC Express e3 CAD/CAM systems.

Machine ‘cabins’ are available in two versions. The lower-cost Lean option is compact and quicker to install, while the Open cabin version has greater accessibility and visibility of the work area, with access from the front, sides and ‘roof’.

There is also a wide range of automation modules. These range from automatic sheet loading and unloading, automatic storage and the stacking of finished parts through to flexible manufacturing systems.

In conclusion, Mr Clarke said: “Our new building has impressive environment-friendly features, including energy-efficient glazing, a biomass heating system and motion-activated LED lighting throughout.

“In addition to meeting our production volume and product quality criteria, it helped that the Platino Fiber Evo also met our environmental standards, as it has very low power consumption and minimal consumable requirements.”

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