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Fabrication firm invests in two ‘cutting edge’ fibre lasers

Posted on 28 May 2021 and read 1222 times
Fabrication firm invests in two ‘cutting edge’ fibre lasersIn the period since June 2019, Worcestershire-based MJH Fabrications Ltd has invested in two Amada Ensis-3015AJ 9kW fibre laser cutters with MPF load/unload automation systems and two HFE3i series press brakes.

This significant capital investment is helping the company to better serve its UK-wide customer base in sectors that include shop-fitting, agriculture, yellow goods and factory automation.

Mike Hemming formed MJH Fabrications in 1990 with little more than a MIG welding set. However, it was not long before his reputation for reliability, quality and service in the provision of metal fabrications and components began to spread.

By the time the business was incorporated as a limited company in 2002 it had further refined its expertise in producing finished products, on time, every time, meeting all of its customers’ quality requirements from its factory in Pershore.

Driven by its success, MJH Fabrications has grown to become a progressive sub-contract fabrication specialist with £2.5 million annual turnover, a 20,000ft2 premises and 18 staff. As the company’s recent investment programme indicates, Mr Hemming has no plans on stopping there.

He said: “Our investments with Amada reflect my determination to continue increasing capacity and moving forward. The most recent Ensis arrived in spring 2020, just when the Covid-19 pandemic forced the UK into its first national lockdown. It was a worrying time but we opted to press ahead. and as things turned out, it was the best decision as our workload just seemed to get busier and busier from there on.”

Such is the current situation that MJH Fabrications is shortly looking to introduce a two-shift pattern, introducing 06:00-14:00, 14:00-22:00 operations.

Necessity to ramp up capacity

Mr Hemming added: “We have never been very good at promoting ourselves, so the growth that we have achieved is down to little more than word-of-mouth recommendations. However, with growth comes the necessity to ramp up capacity, which is why we turned to Amada.”

The company’s entry into laser cutting arrived a number of years ago when it acquired a second-hand machine. A number of other pre-owned laser cutters followed before MJH Fabrications purchased its first new model: an AMADA F1 with automation tower. The company retained this “excellent and reliable” 4kW CO2 machine for eight years before deciding to look for an upgrade.

Mr Hemming continued: “With the industry transitioning from CO2 to fibre laser technology, it made sense to think about new investment. Thanks to the experience we had had with the F1 - a machine that was nothing short of bulletproof – we had no hesitation in returning to Amada. With our F1 we never once had a requirement to call Amada out. The only visit was for annual servicing.”

An ENSIS-3015AJ 9kW fibre laser with MPF load/unload automation provided the perfect solution for MJH Fabrications. The machine arrived for installation and commissioning in June 2019.

Mr Hemming said: “To be competitive we knew that adopting fibre technology was the only option and, sure enough, we immediately noticed a difference in speed capability with the new Ensis – it is unbelievably fast.”

MJH also takes advantage of the Amada Variable Beam Control technology, whereby the laser beam is automatically adapted to deliver stable cutting across all material types and thicknesses. Like most sub-contract fabricators, MJH can never be certain what jobs will arrive tomorrow, with the company processing everything from 0.5mm mild steel, stainless steel and aluminium, up to 25mm mild steel and everything between.

Importantly, only a single lens is required to process thin-to-thick materials on Ensis laser cutters, helping MJH Fabrications to maximise machine uptime and eliminate costly operator errors. Typical steels held in stock at Pershore include CR4, S275 and S355, while batch sizes extend from one-offs to thousands.

In December 2019, the company decided to also boost its bending capacity to help keep pace with the new laser cutter. As a result, MJH added HFE3i-1003 and HFE3i- 5020 press brakes to its existing HD-1003 and HFE-1704 line-up. The company also leverages the benefits of Amada software for both its press brakes and laser cutters.

Influx of orders

Despite all of these investments, the ISO9001-accredited business continued experiencing such an influx of orders that it decided to enquire about a further Amada laser cutter.

Mr Hemming explained: “We quickly reached our threshold with the first Ensis and found ourselves running flat-out day and night. We were constantly under pressure, so it was time to take action and acquire a second Ensis machine - an identical 3015AJ 9kW model.”

AmadaAn ongoing programme of investment is necessary at MJH as the company describes itself as a complete fabrication service, offering capabilities that extend beyond laser cutting and bending to punching, tube laser cutting, welding, insertion, machining and finishing. By using the advantages of the latest machinery and software, the company is able to handle jobs more efficiently, saving time and money for its customers.

He continued: “Big investment decisions are never easy, but aside from the technical capabilities of machines such as the Ensis, Amada’s finance package is a real help - it makes the investment process easy. In addition, Amada’s service function is second-to-none, which brings peace-of-mind.”

Importantly, the operators at MJH have quickly taken to the new Amada machines. Mr Hemming explained: “Our staff love the laser cutters and press brakes because they make life easy. For example, the Ensis has a 16-station automatic nozzle changer with auto cleaning and calibration unit, an air-blow system that prevents dust from adhering to the underside of the sheet, and a monitoring system which checks piercing is complete before cutting begins. Literally, our operators press ‘go’ and that is about it.”

Quality, reliability and delivery are the cornerstones of business at MJH Fabrications, and investment in the new Amada machines will only further cement this ethos into place.

He concluded: We work closely with customers to make sure their components and our manufacturing operations are optimised in line with demand. Essentially, we want to offer the most cost-effective way of achieving customer requirements. Having the capabilities of the Amada Ensis laser cutters and HFE3i press brakes makes this process all that bit easier.”