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Sheet metal subcontractor eliminates outsourcing costs with new cutting machine

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UK sheet metal subcontractor Cambridge Rapid Components has eliminated its monthly outsourcing costs following a recent investment in an entry-level laser cutting machine.

The firm, based in Haverhill, Suffolk, installed a TruLaser 1030 Fiber system from Trumpf back in June in order to gain more control over its production processes, through which it serves the furnace, scientific, laboratory and security industries.

The new machine is the second of its kind to be installed in the UK.

Core business for Cambridge Rapid Components in recent years has focused on the supply of stainless-steel barriers to the furnace sector, which requires the processing of high-temperature 310 and 330 grade stainless steel. Most of the sheet work handled by the firm is between 0.9 and 3mm thick, but occasionally goes up to 5mm. On a typical basis, the company accommodates batch sizes extending from 1 to 100-off.

Until recently, the company was relying on its in-house TruPunch 1000 machine – also from Trumpf, installed in 2015 – and was outsourcing contracts to laser-cutting suppliers. However, following a business review, this strategy changed with the purchase of the TruLaser 1030 Fiber, which incorporates a TruDisk solid-state laser and is expected to deliver high-quality processing despite its low investment and running costs.

  • Related article: John Powell discusses some of the key aspects to consider when buying a new cutting machine for a job shop

‘We wanted to bring the speed and finish of laser cutting in-house as we knew this technology was ideal for the high-value items we supply, particularly the high-tolerance, high-complexity thermal barriers, as well as other parts for the laboratory and biomedical sectors,’ explained Esther Cornell, director at Cambridge Rapid Components. ‘We have the biomedical capital of the world on our doorstep, so this investment will help capture even more market share.’

The new system is already working hard, according to Cornell: ‘It’s fantastic what we can do. We’re getting whole sets of parts off the machine and can now undertake full product builds, which makes a big difference to our business. We’re running the laser alongside our existing TruPunch 1000 machine, which has been retained for aluminium parts and some engraving work.’

The new system will deliver a number of notable gains for the firm, according to Cornell: ‘For a start, we no longer need to outsource our laser cutting, which amounts to a significant monthly saving. Also, due to the improved surface finish of laser cutting, we reduce the secondary deburring requirements sometimes needed when punching stainless steel. Perhaps most importantly of all, having extra capacity means we can grow our business and further support our commitment to on-time deliveries.’

On-time delivery was described by Cornell as one of the Cambridge Rapid Components’ key differentiators from its competitors. The firm also offers a particular expertise in stainless steel, and is commited to employing the next generation of professionals in the manufacturing sector – most of its workforce are under 35 years of age. The family-run business was formed 32 years ago and currently has 14 staff, with more apparently soon to follow.

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