For the first 20 years of its existence Alphin Pans
was happy to simply buy and sell pizza pans and associated equipment, building solid foundations and counting a leading UK pizza supplier among its customers.
When stock and logistics issues arose with its suppliers in the Far East, and encouraged by speaking to contacts in the metal spinning business, it took the decision to set up its own manufacturing capability in the UK and in 2009 took delivery of its first metal spinning lathe.
Matthew Sykes, Alphin Pans managing director, said: “We had been happy to operate as an importer and wholesaler of products for 20 years, but when faced with supply problems we investigated manufacturing in the UK, and found, to our surprise that this could be done competitively
“Having made an initial investment in 2009, we relocated and invested further in 2011, which brought pressing and flat-bed laser capability in-house. Initially this capability was for our own pizza pan production, but over time we recognised the potential to offer this to others as a sub-contract service.”
Success quickly followed and the business is now split 70/30 in favour of sub-contract metal spinning, pressing, profiling and forming, with customers from across a range of industries including industrial lighting, Tier Two nuclear, construction and more general sub-contract work.
Alphin Pans has built up an international customer base with its products exported world-wide, from Iceland to the Middle East, and this success has led to the company being awarded the 2020 Queens Award for Enterprise in the international trade category.
The company has recently made further investments, including a deburring and surface finishing capability in the form of two Timesavers machines supplied by Dorset-based Ellesco Ltd
Mr Sykes continued: “We pride ourselves on being able to respond quickly to customer requests and this has been possible thanks to our willingness to invest. Our two Timesavers deburring machines are a case in point.”
The Timesavers machines are a 42-1350Rb and a 22-900-W, the former being initially purchased to meet the requirements of one particular customer, who Alphin Pans managed production spikes on some 0.9mm thick laser cut stainless steel parts.
While the laser produced a perfect edge, for health and safety reasons that edge needed some finishing. Exchanging ideas with the customer, who already used Timesavers, the decision was taken to purchase the 42-1350Rb machine with its rotating brushes that provided the exact edge preparation that was required.
Mr Sykes added: “The Timesavers 42 series machine is a fantastic piece of kit that we use purely for edge finishing and we have so far run hundreds of thousands of parts through it without any problems.”
The second Timesavers machine was introduced to eliminate the need for hand graining of 5mm thick aluminium parts, with the machine being purchased after seeing just six sample parts being processed.
The results after those six parts and the confidence that Alphin Pans had from the first Timesavers machine made the investment in the second machine an easy decision to make.
Mr Sykes explained: “The impact the 22 Series machine has had is significant as we have saved hundreds of hours since its introduction. With hand graining these parts would take at least 5min, where with the Timesavers 22 series and its 900mm wide abrasive belt these same parts are processed in seconds to a consistent standard.
“The ease of use of the machines is also a positive as they can be operated by anyone in the company with minimal training allowing skilled staff to be deployed on higher value work.
“From both machines the added value that we now present to the customer is a positive and they were also impressed by our pro-active approach to meeting their requirements.
“The result is that we have gained more work, with indications that volume work is also being on-shored back to us thanks to willingness to invest and react positively to challenges.”
Ellesco’s relationship with Timesavers goes back to 1975 when founder Leonard Simonis recognised the potential for their, then newly invented, sheet metal deburring and finishing machines.
That relationship has grown over the years and Ellesco provides customer support throughout the UK and Ireland with its own team of service engineers for commissioning, training, service and repairs.
The company also holds a comprehensive stock of consumables and spares for immediate despatch.