New and Events
Wilson Tool celebrates largest European press brake tooling order
23 Jun 2015
Following the on time delivery of the biggest single European tooling order in Wilson Tool’s history, Tony Breakell (European Sales Manager) and Gary Upton (UK and Ireland Sales Manager) visited the KMF facilities to ensure the tooling fully met customer expectations.
Founded in 1971, KMF Precision Sheet Metal Manufacturing is the largest privately owned sheet-metal subcontractor in the United Kingdom. At its headquarters in Newcastle-under-Lyme, North Staffordshire, it currently employs 385 people working a 4 shift pattern, including week-ends.
KMF’s success and growth over the last 45 years is attributable, in no small measure, to its commitment both to investment in technological innovation and excellence in customer service.
The commitment to investing in the latest manufacturing technology has been demonstrated by the recent decision to update its bending capabilities. A review by all parties involved in the sheet metal bending operations established that the press brakes the company was running were not compatible with KMF’s make-to-order production principles.
The outcome of this review was the decision to invest in nine new press brakes. Following a thorough analysis of their manufacturing requirements, KMF decided that the Trumpf press brake best met their needs. The arrival of the new press brakes, has significantly streamlined production and reduced bending cycle times, in one case from 40 minutes to less than 5.
With ever-decreasing average batch sizes, now in the region of only 35 pieces, the speed, reliability and repeatability of machine set-up was critical. As Chris Meyrick, one of the press brake cell shift managers explains – “it isn’t uncommon to change tools 3 times in an hour. This means sometimes over 20 tool changes on a ten hour shift”.
Knowing that the new press brakes’ potential could only be fully realised if equipped with high quality, precision tooling, KMF turned to Wilson Tool International, the acknowledged experts in Press Brake and Punch Press tooling, to supply all of the tools for the nine recently installed press brakes. As Keith Nicholl, KMF’s Operations Director points out, working with Wilson Tool gives us a “good level of service and excellent support mechanism, we have a great personal relationship with the Wilson Tool team. If you pick the right people to work with, you stand a better chance of it working.”
Wilson Tool’s Trumpf style precision press brake tools are a perfect fit for KMF’s Lean inspired make-to-order manufacturing: all punches and dies are individually inspected before packing and despatch; all punches within certain weight criteria are made with a quick-load safety button; all Trumpf style dies up to 50mm V opening are manufactured with Wilson Tool’s exclusive Nitrex surface enhancement as standard; many models and profiles of punch and die are held in stock, ready in many cases, for same day despatch from Wilson Tool’s European headquarters in Swindon, UK; with its extensive product range, Wilson Tool is a ‘one stop shop’ for punch press and press brake tooling.
The quality of Wilson Tool’s Trumpf press brake tooling has been a major factor in allowing KMF to work towards its Lean Manufacturing goals, but, as Keith Nicholl points out, it is not the only reason he decided to work with Wilson Tool for his tooling requirements.
Throughout the review of KMF’s bending capabilities, the investment decision and the subsequent installation of the press brake lines, he came to appreciate the decision to deal directly with experts in each specific field, pointing out that he saw a clear advantage in terms of flexibility and know-how. The decision to work with Wilson Tool as their tooling supplier presented very little risk however, as KMF has been collaborating with Wilson Tool for many years on their punch press and press brake tooling requirements. Keith and many of his colleagues have attended various Wilson Tool Open Houses and visited Wilson Tool’s Swindon factory to discuss solutions and processes for KMF’s specific applications. Keith also emphasised the benefit of having the personal service from his local Wilson Tool sales engineer John O’Meara. John is well known in the KMF manufacturing facility and is always looking for ways of adding value to their product offering. In his own words: “working with such an innovative company means that every time I visit I know I’m going to be faced with a fresh challenge.”
KMF’s customer- focused approach mirrors that of Wilson Tool: the technically trained sales engineers, sales desk and tool designers are always looking to offer the best solution for a customer’s specific needs, including design, price, quality, delivery and after sales support and service.
To discover what products, services and solutions KMF Precision Sheet Metal Manufacturing and Wilson Tool International can offer you, please contact us:
KMF Precision Sheet Metal Manufacturing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +44 (0)1782 569 060