CNC machine tools and sheet metal machinery
Durma punch press provided by Axe & Status is helping Walsall-based Simco External Framing Solutions

Pleased as punch

A new Durma punch press provided by Axe & Status is helping Walsall-based Simco External Framing Solutions extend its business in a positive new direction. With 25 years’ experience in the trade, Simco’s family run business specialises in the manufacture, supply and installation of all types of galvanised and aluminium flashings and lightweight steel frames for the construction industry and allied trades. Because it supplies large quantities of galvanised and mild steel cleats and brackets, time per unit had become an increasingly limiting factor. Investment in a new punch press was a logical option, doubling capacity at the plant, allowing the company to take on extra business.

Office manager Tom Dunn explains: “We didn’t look any further than Axe & Status and we’re entirely happy with our purchase and the service levels offered by the company. For example, machine uptime is crucial so the fact I can rely on them to repair a machine if necessary the same or next day was one of the deciding factors.”

Such brand confidence has been built up over the past year which has seen Simco invest £250,000 in new machinery – including a brake press and a guillotine from Milton Keynesbased Axe & Status. The investment forms part of a business plan designed to increase capacity to meet increasing demand.

The punch press in question, a Durma RP-9 offers an X axis of 2,000mm and a Y axis (including multi-tool) of 1,250mm, with speeds of 50m/minute and 60m/minute respectively. However, the X axis provides 360° rotational movement meaning that its practical range can be extended. The top and bottom tools are also synchronised to accommodate all the required angular punching and forming operations and allows a pitch of ±0.02°. Lateral speed in X and Y is 75m/minute, the maximum stroke of punch is 25mm and the maximum punching diameter is 16mm or 24mm.

The RP-9 also features auto repositioning with a range of 10,000mm to allow machining of larger sheets, meaning a range of 1,250mm x 6,000mm can be achieved with three lateral repositions and can also be used for punching in the machine’s 'dead zone'.

“Another reason for the purchase,” adds Mr Dunn “is for our fabrication service which accounts for about 25% of our total business and it’s great for curve flashings and corners. Before we would have had to buy the profiles in, but being able to keep this onsite has cut costs and leadtimes down and streamlined the whole process. There is a large demand for brackets and cleats in the light steel sector so the business is there for the taking. The 360° rotational head and auto repositioning also means that operator requirements are significantly reduced and it doesn’t require a skilled operator. It runs itself and I can easily program it from the office via Radan software.”

Simco typically sets a high standard in terms of leadtimes with Mr Dunn stating that this is currently driving investment and development. The company’s goal is to get any order received delivered within two to three days and to do so, it maintains an extensive stock supply of £200,000 worth of material. In spite of the current slowdown of the UK construction industry, the company is at full capacity with the punch press also allowing it to widen its range by adding a number of profiling companies to its workload.

“Another thing,” concludes Mr Dunn, “is that the machine is a lot more precise. Previously our leadtimes were 7-10 days because of quality issues and having to run the machine at lower speeds. If anything, despite dramatically improving speed, the quality is better. I expect the machine to pay for itself in under a year.”

Article reproduced with kind permission from Production Engineering Solutions - October 2008

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