Success is Made With Kerf When Made Profiles first opened its doors for business in March 2014, the first acquisition for the sheet metal company was an RUM3500 profiling machine from Kerf Developments. Just over two years later and the fledgling Wigan subcontractor has grown exponentially, recently taking delivery of its third Kerf profiling machine, an RUR2500 high definition plasma machine.
Founded by Managing Director Mr Mark Derbyshire, Made Profiles started with one man’s ambition, decades of experience and a book of industry contacts. Using his expertise and business acumen, Mark initially opted for a Kerf Developments machine as he was familiar with the build quality, reliability, service and support that Kerf guarantee – all critical elements for a new business that would be reliant upon the uptime of its single machine. In the two years since its inception, Made Profiles has built its business around the reliability and productivity levels that Kerf has delivered.
The first machine installed, the colossal 12m by 3m bed RUM3500 has four flame cutting heads for simultaneously profiling multiple parts up to 250mm thick. This machine also has one 150amp high definition plasma head for high speed cutting of steel profiles up to 15mm thick. Only six months after the installation, Made Profiles commissioned Kerf to extend the machine bed by 3m. The now 15m bed received a second cutting machine with a high powered 275amp plasma cutting head for rapidly processing steel sheets up to 30mm in thickness.
Supplying cut profiles for the rail, oil & gas, automotive, construction and general subcontract engineering sectors, the first two machines suitably cater for the high speed and high definition cutting of thin profiles whilst the oxy-fuel flame cutting four- head configuration provides simultaneous cutting of extremely thick steel billets.
Kerf Develops a Bespoke Solution
If the first two machines and the respective cutting head configurations were acquired to satisfy market demand, the arrival of the RUR2500 was specified to take the business to the next level. Already processing anything from mild steel, Hardox, Durbar and boiler plates; the biggest market growth has been cutting stainless steel profiles. This is why the new RUR2500 machine was installed. Delivered with the UltraSharp technology for precision cutting to less than +/- 0.5mm with astounding edge finishes, the RUR2500 has been purchased specifically for cutting small stainless parts. The 150amp cutting unit is well suited for parts up to 20mm thick whilst the 4 by 2m bed has been configured by Kerf for small part production.
As Mr Derbyshire recalls: “Typical spacing between the machine ‘bed bars’ is 100mm, but we asked Kerf to supply a bed with a bar spacing of 50mm. With the wider spacing, small parts could fall through the bed. With the bespoke bed configuration, we can now comfortably process parts as small as 50-60mm square. Complementing this, the UltraSharp gives us unparalleled edge quality and clarity when cutting slots, holes and other internal geometries on small parts that may have once been beyond our scope. We used to subcontract out any work smaller than 120mm, with the RUR2500 we have brought this work in-house, slashed subcontract costs and reduced the associated lead-times by 4-5 days.”
The new RUR2500 has been dedicated to stainless steel profiles, so its nitrogen and oxygen fuel configuration doesn’t have to be continuously changed over. Furthermore, the new RUR2500 also has an argon gas feed for etching components. As Mr Derbyshire continues: “We also wanted the machine to have an etching facility, this allows us to mark parts with identity numbers and reference codes to customer requirements. We are also etching datum spots for customers that want to drill or machine their profiles as a secondary operation. The changeover from cutting to etching is completely automated and seamless, thanks to the touch screen Burny 10 CNC control unit. We only have to enter our material types and cutting parameters and the control unit does the rest.”
The component programming and part nesting for the Kerf machines is conducted off-line with the Lantek CAD system that is also supplied by Kerf Developments. As Mr Derbyshire says: “We now have two seats of Lantek CAD software from Kerf and this maps out the cutting speeds, gas flow, nozzle height and even the torch path based on how to optimise material usage, productivity and cut-quality. We bought the Kerf RUR2500 as a ‘laser equivalent’ machine. With the UltraSharp system, the RUR2500 is far superior to standard plasma cutting and this gives us the ideal machine for stainless steel profiling.”
Commenting on the journey from the first Kerf machine to the latest acquisition, Mr Derbyshire says: “We started with five staff and now we have 13. The business grew 100% in year one and two. Year three is on-course to almost match previous figures. This growth is down to our expertise and sticking to our core strategy of turning out high quality bespoke and small batch steel profiles faster than our competitors. Of course, Kerf Developments have been with us all the way to ensure our machines never miss a beat. That is one reason why we will keep returning to Kerf whenever we need to invest in machinery.” MADE Profiles October 2016