Kidderminster-based Beakbane Ltd, the UK’s leading manufacturer of bellows and machinery protection systems, has invested £500,000 in a new TruMatic 6000 high performance CNC punch-laser combination machine from TRUMPF.

Purchased as part of its ongoing investment programme, the new machine will ensure high accuracy, consistency and reliability of component production. Furthermore, the large format (3050 x 1550mm) set-up will provide for improved material utilisation at a time when steel prices are at a premium, thereby enabling efficiency gains through a reduction in waste.

“The acquisition of this machine completes a major investment programme during the past four years to improve the company’s metal cutting, punching and folding capabilities,” says manufacturing manager, Roy Legg. “The investment has been targeted to maintain Beakbane’s position as the European leader in the design and manufacture of machinery protection systems.”

Due to be installed in June 2011, the increase in capacity and efficiency provided by the investment is seen as necessary by Beakbane in order to offer existing and new customers a high quality, accurate and cost effective manufacturing capability.

“If you take the strengths of the punch, in terms of accurately forming material, coupled with the speed of punching holes, and you take a part that has sweeping contours and irregular shapes where smooth edges without burrs is important; and you then put those two types of geometry into one part – that’s the perfect combination machine component,” says Mr Legg.

Beakbane has many parts that fall into this category as the very nature of its business is high variety, low volume specialist work.

The Trumpf TruMatic 6000 is a rugged, all-round machine based on an open C-frame design that is able to process sheet up to 8mm thick. Intelligent punching, a wear-free ram guidance system and 360° tool rotation are combined with a choice of three lasers (2, 2.7 or 3.2kW) and simultaneous (XY) cutting speeds of 108m/min for optimum efficiency.

Among the many innovative features of the TruMatic 6000 is Adaptive Stroke Calibration, which automatically monitors and corrects in real time the depth of forming regardless of material thickness variations, ensuring perfect parts from the first to the last piece.

Trumpf Trumatic 6000

“The TruMatic 6000 will address the costly problem of machine downtime resulting from tool changes through the use of standardised tooling on a standard punch machine,” adds Mr Legg. “When a part requires a shape that the standard tooling can’t provide, it can be cut using the laser. This choice of ‘combination’ provides the opportunity for increased efficiency, reduced throughput times and agility within the manufacturing process.”

Mr Legg indicates that cycle times will almost certainly reduce due to fewer handling operations and the ability to complete parts in one hit. Beakbane will be able to tap, countersink, form and bend in a single set-up, thus reducing the non-value-added time associated with secondary operations.

Beakbane has been established since 1954 and is accredited to ISO9001:2008. Today, more than 120 employees help the company offer its clients a complete outsourced service from product design through manufacture to delivery.