Hampshire-based Porvair Filtration Group
(PFG), a wholly owned subsidiary of leading filtration and environmental technology specialist Porvair plc, is using its investment in a new Trumpf TruLaser 1030 Fiber laser cutter to improve its in-house sheet metal profiling operations and negates the need for outsourcing. Such is the speed of the new machine that PFG now expects it will quickly pay for itself.
The company’s New Milton facility in Hampshire is one of two UK operating divisions of Porvair Filtration Group and around 60 people work at the site. Established in 1963, the ISO9001-accredited plant with cleanroom facilities specialises in the design and manufacture of high-technology filters for customers in many industrial sectors such as printing, mining, satellite, petrochemical, polymer and general process industries (including food and beverage).
Production Engineer Karl Goodman, was recruited by PFG around 18 months ago to oversee the upgrade. He said: “Until recently, PFG purchased sub-contract profiled sheet metal parts, performing secondary operations to make them fit for purpose, which was inefficient.”
Mr Goodman commenced a review of laser cutters available in the UK, visiting no less than seven potential suppliers, and said Trumpf stood out from the pack. “First and foremost, Trumpf manufactures its laser unit based on its own unique design, which we found very reassuring. Our confidence levels in Trumpf technology, along with the service and support available in the UK, far outweighed the competition.” Trumpf recommended the TruLaser 1030 Fiber, and the subsequent cutting trials were highly successful. Arriving in the third week of August 2023, installation, commissioning and training were completed by the first week of September and the whole process went extremely smoothly.
Today, the Trumpf TruLaser 1030 Fiber is in daily use producing filter components from exotic stainless steel materials that act as filter media. In some applications, PFG uses filter media down to 1µm rating.On the right track
Mr Goodman continued: “The stainless steel sheets are very expensive — a 1.5 x 1.2m panel costs around £600 on average, so we want to avoid any scrap. We have had no problems with the Trumpf laser, which has an associated app if we need to log any issues. We are still learning how to get the best from the machine and Trumpf are very quick to support us by dialling into the machine remotely to keep us on the right track.”
PVG uses the Trumpf TruLaser 1030 Fiber to process sheet from 0.5 to 2mm thick. At present, the machine is set up exclusively for stainless steel to avoid any potential for material cross-contamination. Many parts repeat on a monthly basis, typically in batch sizes of 100 to 5,000, eliminating the need to outsource while also taking a lot of work from in-house fly presses.
Mr Goodman added: “The difference is like night and day. From drawing, to having a cut part in my hand can be as quick as 15min thanks to the TruLaser machine and its Trumpf Boost software. We are currently running a spreadsheet so we can record what we are saving. As things stand, we are on track to outperform our financial justification. It is pretty impressive considering the TruLaser is brand new to the business. No one here has used a machine like this before.”
He concluded: “The financial justification showed the Trumpf laser cutter would fulfil our current annual demand in a couple of months. The additional capacity now available will enable us to support other group businesses in the UK and the USA. There is little doubt that the Trumpf TruLaser will have a highly positive impact on the whole group.”