Insights

How our £4million investment is improving Washington Metalworks

14th November 2019
TruPunch 5000

Here at Washington Metalworks, we’re constantly thinking about the future. We’re always investing in new technology to streamline and advance our services, so we can keep standards high and production costs low. In fact, it’s our forward-thinking that’s helped us become one of the fastest-growing North East businesses of 2019.

In the past year, we’ve invested £4million into new machinery and training. We’ve introduced our most advanced equipment to date; two 8kW Trumpf Fiber Laser Machines, Trumpf TruPunch 5000 Punching Machine, and the Trumpf TruBend 7000 Robotic Bending Cell. By implementing more artificial intelligence and robotics into our plant, we’re more future-proof and efficient than ever before.

Trumpf TruBend 7000 Robotic Bending Cell

The Trumpf TruBend 7000 Robotic Bending Cell  – or Robbie the Robot, as our team prefer to call him – is the machine that we’re most proud of. Not only is Robbie one of four in the whole country, he’s also the fastest small-part bending cell in the world. Thanks to his speed and accuracy, we’re now able to cater for customers who require a higher volume of sheet metal manufacturing. 

Robbie’s intelligence means he’s able to perform optimally for hours on end with zero dwell time. Never needing to stop for a cup of coffee, his effortless ability to switch tools, load metal and clamp products speeds up our fabrication process significantly. By reducing time and labour, we’re able to meet tighter deadlines and reduce the cost of our high-volume work.  

But speed and product volume aren’t Robbie’s only advantages. He’s also improving our product accuracy by removing the risk of human error. His Automatically Controlled Bending technology and optical sheet sensor produces precise, carefully measured angles on parts as small as 500x380mm. 

Since the TruBend’s technology is so advanced, Trumpf requires all operators to take part in a rigorous training programme at their training centre in Germany. After sending our staff overseas, we learned how to maximise Robbie’s full potential so that we’re able to provide the most superior sheet metal manufacturing service to our clients.

Trumpf TruPunch 5000 and SheetMaster

To improve our punching productivity, we’ve invested in the TruPunch 5000 - which can punch up to 1600 strokes per minute and mark up to 2800 strokes - as well as two SheetMasters. 

Thanks to its contemporary automation and smart components, the TruPunch 5000 guarantees precision. With no room for human-error or inconsistencies, its backlash-free drives produce high axis acceleration so that each punch is accurate in size and position. Its high-rotation speed and hydraulic drive make even the most complex contours easier to fabricate, while its gentle handling of material keep surfaces pristine and scratch-free in the process.

To load, unload and sort the material onto the TruPunch, we connected a Trumpf SheetMaster to each machine. Its automated suction cups carefully move the sheets into position, before transporting the finished product to its required area. Using an automated device means we’re able to reduce the amount of personnel needed for each project which, in turn, will reduce the cost of our sheet metal manufacturing services.

Trumpf 8kW Fiber Laser

With the addition of our two new 8kW Fiber Lasers and its highspeed technology, we’re able to contour and remove parts faster than before. Not only this, we’re also able to broaden our cutting services due to the machine’s multitude of settings and nozzles. 

Before the investment, we’d been working primarily with two 5Kw CO2 Lasers which, though still accurate and reliable, would take a lot longer than what was potentially possible. With the introduction of the two 8kW Fibers, we’re now able to work twice as fast. What used to take 16 hours can now be done in 8, meaning we’re able to significantly reduce our product delivery timeframes. 

What’s more - as its name suggests - the CO2 Lasers previously produced a lot of emissions. As we’re eager to reduce our carbon footprint in today’s climate change crisis, we always try to opt for more environmentally friendly machinery where possible. That’s why we found the greener benefits of the Fiber Lasers so appealing.

From faint imprints to complete removal, the Fiber Lasers allow us to perform a wide range of work on multiple metals and thicknesses. Flexibility is important to us at Washington Metalworks, because we’re always looking for new ways to cater to our customers’ vast range of needs and demands. With the new Fiber Lasers, we’re able to tailor our sheet metal manufacturing services even more closely to each client’s specific requirements.

Why Invest?

Constantly thinking about the future is what makes us – and therefore, our customers – stay competitive.

 “Always investing in new machinery ensures that we’re never left behind in an ever-evolving industry,” explains Paul McGowan, our Commercial Director. “If we’re advancing, our customers are too. And that’s something we’re extremely passionate about at Washington Metalworks. By streamlining our production processes, we can continue to deliver services that are as agile, accurate and cost-efficient as possible.

Seeing that we have state-of-the-art machinery should also give our customers confidence in our capabilities. We have a range of multi-faceted machinery that can adhere to each client’s needs, so that nothing needs to be outsourced. From our laser cutting shop through to our paint shop, we’ve got all the necessary tools to deliver the full sheet metal manufacturing package.”

One of the North East’s Fastest-Growing Companies

Our commitment to investment has helped us become one of the North East’s 50 fastest growing businesses of 2019. Thanks to the addition of our new machinery, we’ve been able to broaden our services, take on higher volumes of work and significantly expand our customer base. Our turnover growth has rapidly increased, which is why we secured the 32nd spot on Ward Hadaway’s Fastest 50 Awards. We’re overwhelmed by this achievement, but we couldn’t have done it without our hardworking team, who’ve endured countless training sessions and complex shifts in order to master the new machinery and fabricate projects to our signature standard. It’s been a brilliant year for the whole team and we can’t wait to see what 2020 brings!

If you’d like to arrange a tour to see if our new machinery can help your project, chat with a member of our team today.