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Upping profiling throughput with an Accurl

Increasing workload prompts West Yorkshire fabricator to replace pre-owned CO2 laser with a new fibre laser from Axe & Status

Posted on 28 May 2024. Edited: Colin Granger. Read 415 times.
Upping profiling throughput with an AccurlWith business booming, the Wetherby-based fabrication specialist Kellys Welding wanted to replace its pre-owned CO2 laser cutter with a new fibre laser that would offer quality, speed, energy efficiency — all at a very competitive price.

The company subsequently spent nearly 12 months assessing the UK market before selecting an Accurl fibre laser cutter from Axe & Status, Milton Keynes. Moreover, the efficiency of the Accurl MasterLINE 3105 has been such that the monthly savings on electricity consumption alone pay for the finance on the machine — a fact that Kellys Welding, says “is like having a laser cutter for free”.

A family-run business, Kellys Welding was launched by owner Joe Kelly in 2017. Since then, the company has grown from a one-man start-up to a 10-employee business that is on track for a turnover of £1.3 million in 2024; and while the reasons behind this growth are many, it is ironic that the company gained its first real break during the pandemic. Although welding jobs came to a halt, Kellys Welding was also selling raw material online, and it was this activity that boomed.

Mr Kelly said: “After the pandemic, we had enough money to buy our first laser cutter. A pre-owned CO2 machine, it was perfect at the time, but we soon ran out of capacity due to our growing workload and the machine’s lack of speed. It also consumed a lot of electricity, which prompted us to think about a replacement.”

By then, Kellys Welding had built up a substantial customer base, one that was large enough to warrant a brand-new laser cutter; and around the same time, the company relocated to the unit next door. This move doubled its previous footprint and provided ‘the perfect home for a new laser cutter’.

Mr Kelly said: “We looked at many machines over a 12-month period; and while we initially considered brands that were familiar to us, we soon realised that they were way out of our price range and started looking at other brands — including from Asia, but they were of poor quality. However, when we investigated the Accurl MasterLINE range of machines we knew it was the one for us, particularly as they had ‘all the right parts’.

Precitec cutting head

A lot of machines from Asia come with components we had never heard of, but the Accurl is different. For example, it features a Precitec cutting head; it also carries an official CE mark — and features integrated Class IV safety systems. Axe & Status did some test cuts for us, and we were very happy to proceed with the purchase.”

AxeKellys Welding estimates that the Accurl MasterLINE 3015 6kW fibre laser cutter is about eight-times faster than the company’s previous CO2 laser cutter, while offering far more economic running costs. Mr Kelly said: “The Accurl machine uses around five-times less electricity than our CO2 machine, which equates to a saving of around £4,000 a month — savings that pay for the finance on the machine. This machine also uses far less gas — and profiled parts require a lot less clean-up and come off the machine ready to weld.

“Furthermore, the CAD/CAM nesting software for the Accurl brings further savings. We recently nested a job for 5mm-thick stainless steel; and whereas we would previously need three sheets, now it is just two because the software can place parts closer together — and at £500 a sheet that is a big saving.”

Kellys Welding laser cuts mild steel from 1 to 20mm thick, stainless steel from 1 to 12mm, and aluminium up to 6mm. The company processes everything from one-offs and small batches up to batches in thousands. Moreover, Mr Kelly says that investing in the Accurl fibre laser is not only good news for the company but also for its customers. “Keeping our CO2 laser would have created such a backlog with the workload we have today. Our customers need a quick response, and if we aren’t in position to meet their requirements they will quickly go elsewhere.

“As a small company we usually have the flexibility to price match and win orders, unlike many of our competitors that have high-cost monthly machine payments to meet. We looked at a European machine with a similar specification, but the Accurl was less a than a third of its cost — and came with a three-year warranty for parts and labour.

“Accurl MasterLINE fibre laser cutters offer high dynamics, with a positioning speed of up to 180m/min and an acceleration of 3g; and thanks to high-quality components — such as an IPG laser fibre source, Precitec ProCutter laser head, and Rexroth servo drive — these machines can operate continuously seven days a week, 365 days a year, being supported by automatic nozzle cleaning and graphite anti-burn technology.

“During commissioning we had the engineer from Accurl optimise the parameters for every single material we cut here; and since then, Axe & Status has set up a WhatsApp group, which means that if we ever have a query we simply post a message and get a reply about two minutes later. The group is even linked with the Accurl factory, which will be useful if we ever need their input in the future.”