Recent 11,000 Square Feet Expansion
New Trumpf 3030 Fibre Laser
Increased Capacity!

A Period of Expansion & Development

New Premises & Trumpf Laser

It’s been another busy period of growth here at GF Laser with our fifth laser installed in the summer. With limited space at our existing site we took the decision to take on an additional unit less than a mile from our headquarters in Dudley. We plan to expand this unit over the coming months with more machinery as we continue to add more capacity.

Partnership To Offer One Stop Shop

Our sister company Moseley Brothers has also enjoyed a successful year with the launch of a new division MB Presswork. This new division builds on the foundation of the toolmaking business with capacity available to provide low volume press production. In addition, GF Laser and Moseley Brothers are increasingly working together on large projects for the automotive and yellow goods sectors. The joint offering has the ability to provide flat and 5 axis laser cutting, press braking, traditional presswork and toolmaking under one roof. Customers benefit from having a single point of contact and they can save time and money by using one supplier instead of three or four.

Nitrogen Expansion For Fibre Lasers

Back to our new site, GF Laser installed a large 30,000 litre Nitrogen tank to serve the new laser cutting machine. This reflects our increasing need for Nitrogen as the new generation of fiber lasers use substantially more gas when compared to older CO2 machines. The new tank has a telemetry system linked to our supplier so that they can automatically deliver as and when required.

Fibre Lasers For Burr Free Aluminium Cutting

We are also seeing an increase in the requirement for laser cutting aluminium which we cut with Nitrogen. In the past laser cutting companies have not always offered an aluminium cutting service as it tends to need a number of test cuts in order to achieve a burr free finish. However, we are finding that our new Fibre lasers cut burr free with minimal setup due to the technological advances made by our preferred suppliers Trumpf.

New Staff

Expansion of production has meant an increase in staff to help cope with the increased demand.
We have boosted our estimating team over the past few weeks so all quotes are accurate and turned around in as quick a time as possible which can be important on urgent projects.
We can help you with your ongoing and new laser cutting needs no matter the size or turnaround time. Contact the team today and let us help.

Simon Tregillus | Director

T: 01384 245095
M: 07792 143076

You can contact me through LinkedIn https://uk.linkedin.com/in/simon-tregillus-5ab05b10

GF Laser and Moseley Brothers working together, what services can we provide?

GF Laser and Moseley Brothers work together on numerous projects to provide customers with a complete solution where multiple parts are required that have different manufacturing processes.

Customers are able to deal with their single preferred point of contact at either company who will oversee the project from start to finish.

Working with GF Laser and Moseley Brothers customers can utilise the following manufacturing processes:

FLATBED LASER CUTTING: GF Laser operate multiple flat laser cutting machines around the clock for high and low volume production of metal parts up to 4000mm long and 2000mm wide.

5 AXIS LASER CUTTING: GF Laser offer prototype and 5 axis laser cutting for profiling pressings, extrusions, formed tube and spinnings. All holding jigs and checking fixtures are manufactured in house to ensure each part is produced as accurately as possible.

PRESS BRAKE: Using standard or bespoke tooling, GF Laser can fold parts up to 3000mm long using one of their 100 tonne Amada press brakes.

TOOLMAKING: Moseley Brothers are one of Europe’s most experienced Press Tool Manufacturers, with the capability to design and manufacture press tools as well as project manage the process from start to finish.

CNC MACHINING: Operating small and large bed CNC’s Moseley Brothers offer drilling, tapping and machining for tool manufacture and on a sub-contract basis.

PRESS PRODUCTION: With a range of presses from 75 to 500 Tonne with a 3200mm bed size Moseley Brothers sister company MB Presswork can offer presswork on a relief and production basis. Parts can be produced by both coil feed and single operation as required.

QUALITY APPROVALS: Both companies are approved to ISO 9001 and are working towards the latest TS standard which they are hoping to have implemented in the early part of 2018. PPAP’s, ISIR’s and customer specific inspection reports can be produced using CMM or Laser Inspection.

By offering such a wide range of processes GF Laser and Moseley Brothers can easily cater for customers who require, for example, multiple parts which they then assemble in house. The two companies also have storage facilities so are able to hold safety stock for customers whilst still delivering to customers using supply solutions such as JIT or KANBAN.

If you have a large multi part project that you would like to discuss further please contact a member of the estimating team on sales@gflaser.co.uk for a fast response.

Simon Tregillus | Director

T: 01384 245095
M: 07792 143076

You can contact me through LinkedIn https://uk.linkedin.com/in/simon-tregillus-5ab05b10

Removing the Oxidised Edge After Laser Cutting

Laser assist gases are used at the point where the laser cuts the metal and most laser cutting companies use either Oxygen or Nitrogen as the assist gas. Oxygen is excellent for cutting mild steel as it actually speeds up the cutting process and allows cutting speeds to increase.

Nitrogen can also be used for cutting mild steel although the speed benefits are not realised as the nitrogen does not actually assist laser cutting in the same way as oxygen does. However, laser cutting with nitrogen has one major benefit when compared to cutting with oxygen as it prevents an oxidised edge on the part. Whilst this looks aesthetically pleasing it also means that the parts can be painted without a descaling operation.

GF Laser offer nitrogen laser cutting for customers and have recently invested in a 30,000 litre tank to supply their fiber laser cutting machines with high quality nitrogen.

Working in conjunction with the large tank supply GF Laser also generate their own nitrogen using an advanced Nitrocube system that converts compressed air into nitrogen. This two-fold approach means that the laser cutting machines always have nitrogen available for cutting 24/7 to meet customer demand.

Our team of estimators can advise what type of gas is required for different projects depending on customer requirements. GF Laser can also carry out alternative methods of descaling such as manual deburring or barreling which is well suited to high volume batch production.

Simon Tregillus | Director

T: 01384 245095
M: 07792 143076

You can contact me through LinkedIn https://uk.linkedin.com/in/simon-tregillus-5ab05b10

GF Laser & Made In The Midlands Exhibition

GF Laser recently exhibited at the Made in the Midlands Show and overall the sales & marketing team felt it was worthwhile attending. Attending any exhibition is always a risk for a company as so many factors such as timing, weather and stand position can affect success. In addition, success is quite hard to measure as sometimes companies enquire months or even years after attending the show.

The exhibition, which was held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, was set to attract around 2000 visitors all with an interest in manufacturing of some description. Although the show felt a little cramped there was a good flow of visitors with many of them willing to discuss the merits of laser cutting over other cutting methods.

GF Laser had commissioned Aberdeen Art to design a metal laser cut piece to demonstrate how they could laser cut, fold and engrave metal to a high standard. The piece generated a lot of interest with some customers even considering a piece for their reception.

GF Laser met with existing customers which gave them a chance to spend some time discussing current and upcoming projects. Especially pleasing was the amount of new potential customers that GF Laser talked to at the show.

Simon Tregillus, Managing Director, of GF Laser commented that “The show demonstrated the recent resurgence in manufacturing which has been evidenced in the growth of GF Laser and other manufacturing companies in the region over the past few years. As ever there will be many more challenges and opportunities for the industry over the coming years as negotiating Brexit with a hung parliament, at least in the short term, brings another unexpected dimension to the business environment.”

GF Laser & Aberdeen Art

GF Laser & Aberdeen Art

GF Laser and Aberdeen Art have worked together on a number of laser cut pieces throughout GFL’s 10 years of business. Because of the outstanding designs Aberdeen Art have produced for the company in the past, we thought it would be appropriate to ask Aberdeen Art to design a special piece that we displayed at the Made In The Midlands Exhibition.

 

PROCESS:

Programming: The team at GF Laser begin the project by assessing and evaluating the CAD that is sent to them by Aberdeen Art. This is usually converted from a DXF format which it’s supplied in, to a format that can be read by the laser cutting software TOPS.

Once converted into TOPS the file will then be prepared for laser cutting. This involves selecting items that will be cut or engraved and the order in which the laser must cut the piece. Where GF laser are cutting numerous parts on one sheet then the laser programmer would also ascertain what would be the best route for the laser to move from piece to piece in order to cut as efficiently as possible. In addition, TOPS will also work out how to best arrange or nest multiple parts to make the best use of material.

Finally, the programmer will select a number of options before exporting the file onto the network in a format that can be read by the physical laser machine.  These Include

. Type of material, in this case mild steel

. Thickness of material, in this case 3mm

. Laser assist gas. This will usually be oxygen or nitrogen but we can also use compressed air or argon.

. Whether to use automatic or manual sheet changing techniques

Laser Cutting:  The Programmer will have decided which one of the five lasers used by GF laser will be used for the job. They will also print out a setup sheet with information from all the above, pictorials of the part to cut and key dimensions for checking purposes. The operator will select the programme from the network and import onto the hard drive of the laser. The operator will take some test cuts stopping the laser ensuring that the cut is burr free. The laser operator will continue to check the job as slight differences in the material can make a difference to cut quality. The operator will undertake a number of dimensional checks to make sure the parts meet the necessary specifications. For more complex parts the laser will involve one of our quality engineers who can also check the parts using Vernier checks or more in depth checks using a CMM or Faro ScanArm system.

Folding: The Folding operation is carried out on one of our Amada press brakes, GF Laser have the capability to fold parts up to 3000mm in length. The press brake operator will utilise the setup sheet to see the details of the folding job. The operator will also examine the relevant drawings paying special attention to tolerances and key features. We also have an extensive range of standard tooling that can be used to fold metal; any tooling for non-standard folding can be manufactured by our in house toolmakers or bought off the shelf from our pressbrake suppliers Amada.

Laser Cutting at Grazebrook Dudley

Laser Cutting at Grazebrook Dudley

As with any laser cutting business continual investment is vital to keep the company growing and to remain competitive as laser cutting machines become faster and faster.

With this in mind GF Laser purchased their fifth laser cutting machine in May 2017 which is now up and running and ready for business. The new model joining the GF Laser family is the Trumpf 3030 Laser

Although GF Laser had only recently moved to larger premises they had outgrown them in the two years due to the growth in the laser cutting industry. The Directors decided to look for additional premises and when a suitable, 11,000 square feet site just a few hundred yards away became available, the company moved quickly to secure a lease.

New Fibre Laser

Given the success of the fibre laser working at GF Laser’s main site it was decided to purchase another fibre laser. The new generation of lasers were extremely fast at cutting thinner and medium gauge material and used around 40% less electricity than a traditional CO2 laser.

Whilst the site at Grazebrook was a great location with a large yard, cranage and excellent access for large vehicles there was still some work to do to prepare the site for laser cutting.

This included the following investments:

1 – Designing and constructing a new floor for the laser to ensure that it met the flatness and depth requirements.

2 – Installing CCTV and alarms to ensure the safety and security of staff.

3 – Installing a 30,000-litre nitrogen tank that could cope with the demands of laser cutting using fibre lasers.

4 – Compressed air system to serve the laser and for general use of the operatives.

5 – Suction sheet metal handling system to load material onto the laser without scratching material and to increase handling speeds.

6 – IT infrastructure so that laser programming can be undertaken at the main office including remote monitoring of the laser.

Stock Holding & Storge

Setting up the additional site, whilst a significant investment, does allow GF Laser to serve a wider range of companies with the additional capacity and space for storage of stock and customer material. Furthermore, the proximity of the site to GF Laser’s main factory and the excellent I.T links means that managing the operation will fit within the company’s existing management and quality systems.

Finally, the site has extensive room for expansion that will hopefully serve GF Laser and their customers well over the coming years.

Why Laser Cutting Aluminium Isn’t Easy.

Trumpf 3030 Laser in action

When GF Laser started in business, over 10 years ago, the laser cutting of aluminium was something that was quite specialist. Some subcontract laser cutting companies wouldn’t even cut the material because of the fact that it tended to burr and was generally problematic to run. Furthermore, the reflective properties of aluminium mean that there was a high risk of the laser beam reflecting back into the laser cutting machine causing serious damage.

With laser cutting machines costing hundreds of thousands of pounds little wonder that cutting aluminium with a laser wasn’t something that companies relished.

Soft Metal Laser Cutting

The reason that aluminium isn’t easy to laser cut is because it is a softer metal than say stainless steel. Its soft properties make it ideal for forming using a press brake or traditional press but those same properties make laser cutting aluminium a little harder.

Save On Deburring

Fortunately, GF Laser had bought a brand new laser in 2006 and with the support of Trumpf (Laser machine manufacturers) they achieved consistent results with aluminium minimising any burr so that the parts could be pressed without a deburring operation. During this time the team at GF Laser learnt some valuable lessons about cutting aluminium such as the grades that performed better, how constant attention to the cut whilst time consuming initially paid dividends in the quality of the finished product and reduced the time and cost of deburring.

Increased Capacity

Fast forward to today and with five lasers operating at GF Laser including two modern fiber versions then those early lessons in cutting aluminium have proved invaluable. Coupled with the massive improvements in laser cutting technology means that whilst laser cutting aluminium isn’t as easy as cutting stainless steel it’s certainly not as difficult as it was a decade ago.

Will British Industry Become Great Again?

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Today sees the government unveil a ten point plan as part of a new industrial strategy to drive growth in UK manufacturing.

Whilst any focus on rebalancing the economy is welcome, companies need action not soundbites so it will be interesting to see if Theresa May is fully committed to pushing through initiatives that benefit all companies, not just those in the service sector.

The Brexit vote was obviously a defining moment for UK PLC and manufacturing has more to gain in a brave new world where more UK manufactured goods are bought by UK consumers.

At GF Laser, even before Brexit, we have seen a trend of reshoring manufactured goods where overseas suppliers did not fully understand the quality requirements. In addition, rising transport and logistics costs mean that sourcing from overseas is no longer the cheap option.

One of the most positive points to come out of today’s announcement is the return to a location appropriate approach to government funding and support. Who better to support local businesses than local government who understand the particular needs of a region?

The recent success of Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan’s commitment to the UK all points to a rosy future for the UK’s automotive sector. This can only be bolstered by a manufacturing friendly Government where new OEM’s will see the UK as a great place to make cars with the supply base and skill set in place.

At GF Laser we’re cautiously optimistic about today’s announcement and anything that allows us to be more competitive is welcomed. Let’s hope that today’s announcement is fleshed out with some all-important detail and action over the next few months and years.

Simon Tregillus | Director

T: 01384 245095
M: 07792 143076

You can contact me through LinkedIn https://uk.linkedin.com/in/simon-tregillus-5ab05b10

Productivity Improvements With Technology

At GF Laser we are always looking to improve productivity using technology to increase efficiency.

We currently use a number of systems in the following areas:

Sales Order Processing

All enquiries are logged and quotations constructed within our Clarity system. When an order is placed the quotation status is then changed and a Works Order is produced. This Works Order then stays with the job until it is delivered, this process ensures that anything detailed at the quotation phase is carried through to Production minimising the risk of mistakes.

Cloud Based Systems

We use secure cloud based systems when information is required off site as well as locally. Each piece of machinery has its own planning schedule and we offer customers the ability to view when their jobs are scheduled.

In addition, the collections / deliveries for our transport are booked using a cloud based system. Each driver gets an email delivered to their phone telling them the details of each delivery and they can also interrogate the system to view their weekly deliveries.

Plans for 2017

As well as improving our email system and general infrastructure we are evaluating a number of CRM systems as part of an ongoing focus to communicate with customers and potential customers keeping them abreast of our latest developments.

Simon Tregillus | Director

T: 01384 245095
M: 07792 143076

You can contact me through LinkedIn https://uk.linkedin.com/in/simon-tregillus-5ab05b10

GF Laser take on additional space!

As part of our ongoing expansion plans we have taken on additional space to support our growth plans over the next five years.

Additional space has been secured a few hundred yards away from our Narrowboat Way headquarters in Dudley which makes it an ideal location to support our ever growing laser cutting capabilities.

The 11,000 square foot building which includes excellent access for loading / offloading vehicles will initially be used for storing laser cutting material and fixtures for our five axis laser cutting service.

However, we are currently in discussions with a number of suppliers about adding additional capacity in the new site in quarter 2 2017. This is likely to include additional laser cutting facilities as well as ancillary operations.

As our company gets busier we are seeing an increasing need to offer customers storage facilities for their material and pressings. This additional space increases our ability to handle high volume laser cutting of flat and formed material.

We also currently operate three vehicles with dedicated drivers who are able to transfer material as and when required to ensure customers get the parts quickly and on time.

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Simon Tregillus | Director

T: 01384 245095
M: 07792 143076

You can contact me through LinkedIn https://uk.linkedin.com/in/simon-tregillus-5ab05b10