A huge volume of tube is consumed by UK manufacturing every year. And although annual consumption has remained fairly constant over the last four years, the way tube is processed has changed dramatically, with a sixfold increase in the volume of tube processed by tube laser machines.
Judging by the experience of Duright Engineering, a West Midlands-based sub-contractor, the decision to move on from the traditional multi-machine approach can be a hard call to make. Although a well-established business with a 30-year track record, the installation of its first BLM Adige tube laser added 30% to turnover in the machine’s first year of operation. And by the time a
second, more powerful, BLM Adige tube laser was installed at the end of 2005 turnover had more than doubled over a three year period, although the number of people employed in the business had not increased. In 2007, with both its existing tube lasers working 24/7, a third BLM Adige tube laser was installed in response to the growing demand.
“The production requirements of many UK companies do not justify the purchase of a tube laser,” says Ross Taylor, Duright’s Managing Director, “but continuing with the high labour costs of traditional multiple machine processes is making it difficult to compete against cheap labour economies. Subcontracting the work provides an attractive alternative and has significantly expanded our customer base. As well as competing for volume production we can also produce prototypes and re-designs in minutes rather than weeks or months, because it simply involves programming the tube lasers rather than the production of hard tooling.”
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