CNC machine tools and sheet metal machinery
Bristol-based company installs twin-machine system for the manufacture of grain silos

Bristol-based company installs twin-machine system for the manufacture of grain silos

Brice-Baker, a leading UK manufacturer of galvanised steel silos and dryers, provides a complete solution for the grain-handling and grain storage needs of farmers in both in the UK and world-wide.

The company also manufactures a wide range of galvanised-steel water tanks for a variety of horticultural uses, including rain-water harvesting; it also produces tanks for the rapidly expanding European fish-farming industry. Established in 1970, Brice-Baker has continuously developed its product range to meet the growing market demand for grain storage and grain-handling equipment. The company designs, manufactures, supplies and installs complete grain storage plants and counts Camgrain among its customers. The latter is the UK’s largest farmer-owned central storage business and has a total capacity of nearly 250,000 tonnes; Brice-Baker supplied not only the silos, but also conveyors and associated equipment.

The company’s silos — renowned for their robust construction and high galvanising standards — can be substantial structures. For example, its flat-bottom silos (for the shorth and long-term storage of grain, oil seeds and other granulated free-flowing materials) offer capacities up to 16,600m3 and can be up to 28m in diameter and 32.4m high. Meanwhile, its hopper-bottom silos (these provide temporary wet grain storage as part of a grain-drying plant and other ‘buffer bin’ applications in silo plants) can be up to 13m in diameter and 35m high.

Expansion and investment

Brice-Baker is an ambitious company and is gearing up to expand its business into Russia and eastern Europe over the next few years. This planned expansion is being supported by a multi-million-pound investment that will further modernise its production facilities and increase its manufacturing capacity. This investment includes the recent relocation to a new 5,000m2 bespoke manufacturing facility at Yate (near Bristol), as well as new production machinery that includes two Bradbury automated hydraulic rolling and forming machines and a Durma tandem press brake.

Supplied by Milton Keynes-based Axe & Status (Tel: 01908 647707 –, which installed its first Durma tandem press brake in the UK some 18 months ago (at John Harvey Engineering, Ipswich), the tandem unit at Brice-Baker has an 8m 640-tonne capacity and replaces an ageing Rhodes folding press that took around 2hr to re-tool and re-set — a time that Brice-Baker process improvement manager Adrian White says is too long in today’s competitive manufacturing climate. The Durma tandem press brake installation, which weighs some 40 tonnes and follows the purchase of a Durma 3m (10mm) guillotine from Axe & Status last summer, comprises two Durma AD-S 40320 machines (each with a capacity of 4,050mm × 320 tonnes) and takes just 10min to re-tool and re-set.

Moreover, these two press brakes offer significant levels of flexibility and capacity improvements when it comes to manufacturing silo roof panels, because they can be operated as a single 8m unit or as two individual 4m press brakes running different jobs.

Pre-galvanised material

The bulk of the material currently being processed is pre-galvanised 1.2mm-thick steel sheet (450g Z35 grade) in lengths up to 6.5m. The folds produced are usually between 90 and 120deg. Future plans include folding 10mm thick steel sheet in lengths over 2.5m, and it is estimated that around 20% of production will make use of the installation’s full 8m capacity.

These CE-certified press brakes feature five axis back-gauges, motorised crowning, a pair of sliding arms, Sick C 4000 guarding, a 410mm throat depth and a Euro bottom tool-holder. Control is via a ModEva CNC system that features the new Quick Cursor facility and the ability to completely program a part on a single page. When more-complex parts are involved, the graphic sequences generated by a CAD/CAM system can be viewed on the user console. Moreover, all ModEva systems come as standard with PC 1200 off-line bending software, which allows programs to be prepared and checked for both accuracy and feasibility in the office, away from the machine.

In conclusion, Mr White says: “When it came to buying a tandem press brake, we looked at a number of manufacturers, but many of their machines included features that were financially impractical given our requirement for a reliable high-capacity machine capable of undertaking high-volume straightforward folding. Axe & Status also has similar installations in the UK; and because the company had already supplied us with sheet metal-working equipment, we had confidence in it and its products.”

Article reproduced with kind permission from Machinery Market- April 2011

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