When you think of York, your first thoughts are probably of the grand York Minster, ancient walls, tourists, boutique shops and Vikings. You’d be forgiven for overlooking the vast number of businesses which contribute to the economy by way of manufacturing. With all the recent news coverage of the steel sector collapsing, you’d also be forgiven for not realising that many companies in the metalwork industry are indeed, thriving.
At Yorkshire Profiles, we are one such company and we have recently invested over £500,000 in the very latest manufacturing technology, so much so that the serial number on our top spec equipment from Amada UK, is 4.
On January 25th we eagerly awaited the arrival of our new “Ensis” fibre laser cutting equipment with an automated material handling tower. It arrived before we did that day on 3 articulated lorries complete with abnormal load escort. It would have been great to see this convoy coming up the A1 in the early hours of that morning. The arrival was a combination of excitement and frustration as we were aware that installation would take up to 3 more weeks.
You’re probably wondering what makes this futuristic? Laser cutting has been around for a long time. Well the Ensis model is currently one of a kind; the design starts with the rise of “Fibre Lasers”. Fibre lasers can cut up to 3 times faster than conventional CO2 lasers, which the vast majority of laser cutting sub-contractors own. They also use a fraction of the electricity, dropping from around 120 amps to around 38 amps, which is excellent news for our environment. Running costs are dropped even further as they have fewer consumables. Where-as CO2 lasers use a series of optics and mirrors to channel the beam to the material (which distort and degrade quite quickly), a fibre laser uses a fibre optic cable from source to cutting head allowing the beam to keep consistency and power.
Fibre lasers also use an alternative wavelength to a CO2 laser, allowing them to effectively cut brass, copper and titanium with high speed. This used to be a big ‘no-no’ for laser processing. But even Fibre laser cutting has been around for a year now, what makes the Ensis so special? Well, the clever engineers at Amada managed to overcome a problem that first generation Fibre lasers suffered from. They were excellent at cutting thin materials but suffered greatly on anything above 3mm. Amada fitted the Ensis with a “beam control unit”, this unit is able to replicate the beam that a 4kw CO2 laser would produce. So the Ensis has all the advantages of a 2kw Fibre laser on thin materials, and all the advantages of a 4kw CO2 laser on thicker materials.
What an excellent addition for us as a sub-contract manufacturer. But we’re not finished!
Not only does the Ensis greatly increase our production capacity in speed and range alone, but we also fitted it with an “AS LUL Automation Tower”. This material handling tower allows us to process up to 12 tons of materials unmanned. As a result, we have created several jobs in quality control, despatch and sales, with the support of Amada and no requirement to use the Regional Growth Fund.
Overall this is fantastic news for York, Yorkshire, ‘The North’ and the UK as UK manufacturing rages on.