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

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

Christmas & New Year Opening Hours

GF Laser’s Christmas opening hours are as follows:

23/12/2016:    Close at 1pm

24/12/2016:    Closed

25/12/2016:    Closed

26/12/2016:    Closed

27/12/2016:    Closed

28/12/2016:    Workshop only

29/12/2016:    Workshop only

30/12/2016:    Workshop only

31/12/2016:    Closed

01/01/2017:    Closed

02/01/2017:    Closed

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

xmas2016

Laser Cutting, Jaguar Land Rover & Electricity

rangerover

Some very interesting news from Jaguar Land Rover https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38102507. If their plans come to fruition this will be great news for the UK laser cutting industry and of course the wider economy.

It’s also interesting to note their power requirements, at GF Laser electricity is a large part of our overhead as laser cutting machines love to use electricity. However, the new breed of fibre lasers like our Trumpf 3040 use substantially less power than the equivalent CO2 machine.

In order to monitor our power usage each one of our laser cutting machines is individually monitored so we can see how much electricity is being consumed at any one time. This information is fed back to a central piece of reporting software which calculates in pound notes how much electricity each machine uses each hour.

By keeping a constant watch on our power consumption we can make sure we cost all our work as competitively as possible and it helps us to understand how best to plan our shift work to make sure we take advantage of lower tariff electricity.

As we are also looking at our next capital investment for 2017 the usage of electricity is also helping us decide on which laser to purchase next. The fibre lasers use a lot less electricity but the capital costs and some of the running costs are more expensive than CO2 lasers.

A final word on Jaguar Land Rover, in our opinion it is imperative that the UK government continue to support our car industry and have a credible industrial strategy to drive economic growth over the next few years. It’s foolhardy to think we can continue to rely on the service sector to drive the UK economy especially in the Brexit era. Now is the opportunity to back Jaguar Land Rover and the myriad of UK suppliers that partner them.

Simon Tregillus | Director

T: 01384 245095
M: 07792 143076

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

RBS, Trump & Brexit

brexit-trump-rbs

One piece of news which has been effectively buried with last weeks shock news that the next US President will be one with zero political experience is details of The Royal Bank of Scotland’s compensation package to “squeezed firms” https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37903541.

It’s interesting that many commentators are making direct links to Brexit and Trump and the financial crisis of 2008.  Many voters still feel that the political establishment have not done enough to help them since the global financial crash. Hence protest votes turn into majority votes. Whether the world changes we will have to wait and see.

Back to RBS, a whistleblower made allegations that, in the aftermath of 2008, the bank deliberately forced viable businesses into administration so it could pick up assets at a knockdown price. The so called Project Dash for Cash gave staff higher bonuses based on fees collected for restructuring debt.

One can only imagine how these business owners feel now knowing that companies they built went bust might actually have been viable. No amount of compensation can reward them for the emotional damage of losing everything. It’s not hard to see why individuals vote against the establishment when the establishment failed to protect big business from exploiting them.

What does all this have to do with laser cutting? Not much at the moment I guess but as we celebrate our tenth year of trading I wonder how the world will have changes in 10 years time?

What will the UK look like outside of Europe? What will Trump’s legacy be to the world? What will GF Laser and the laser cutting industry look like? Certainly I think there will be many opportunities for manufacturing and I just wonder if this could be the start of a shift towards a more balanced economy in the UK where manufacturing becomes the powerhouse of the economy as it once was…..

Simon Tregillus | Director

T: 01384 245095
M: 07792 143076

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

10 Years in Business & 10 Years as a TRUMPF User

Press Release (28 June 2016)

Dudley-based GF Laser is celebrating 10 years as a leading supplier of subcontract flatbed 2D and five-axis 3D laser cutting services. The company, which has grown into a £2 million turnover, 20-employee business, started trading in 2006 with a newly acquired TRUMPF TLC CUT 5 five-axis laser, a machine that is still working reliably and proficiently to this very day. In the intervening years, the company has invested in three further TRUMPF laser cutting machines, which today form the bedrock of success at this progressive subcontract manufacturing business.

GF Laser was formed after being spun-out of sister company Moseley Brothers with the intention of creating a business based on five-axis laser cutting. Today, however, the ISO 9001:2008 accredited company also offers 2D laser cutting, formed tube cutting, sheet metal bending, welding and powder coating services. Besides the provision of 24/7 production capacity, the company can also offer next day delivery to UK and Europe using its dedicated vehicles or retained couriers.

“We serve industries that range from automotive and yellow goods, through to construction and architectural,” explains Director Simon Tregillus. “We’re one of only a few UK laser cutting companies to offer laser cutting utilising both five-axis and two-axis machines.”

Aside from the original TRUMPF TLC CUT 5, which is still used on a daily basis at GF Laser, the company also has a TRUMPF TruLaser Cell 7040 five-axis laser with the latest split cabin technology and a TRUMPF TruLaser 3030 flatbed laser. The most recent installation, however, is a TRUMPF TruLaser 3040 fiber, which with its large bed can cut components up to 4000 by 2000mm.

“The machines are extremely quick and reliably produce high quality parts, which is essentially why we keep returning to TRUMPF for our new laser machine requirements,” says Mr Tregillus. “The TruLaser 3040 fiber, which we installed in 2015, is so fast that we are on course to achieve our shortest-ever ROI.”

The company’s commitment to ongoing investment is one of the principal reasons for its success, along with tight control over costs that can be passed on to customers, a dedicated in-house quality department and fast turnaround capability. The combination of these factors helped the company achieve its highest ever monthly turnover in March 2016.

GF Laser cuts parts up to 25mm thick in all materials, including copper and brass, while batch sizes range from 1-off prototypes up to high volume quantities.

Simon Tregillus | Director

T: 01384 245095
M: 07792 143076

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

All about GF Laser – The First 10 Years

GF Laser celebrates its tenth year of trading this year, but who are they and how did they get there?

June 2006 saw GF Laser install it’s first laser cutting machine, this was a five axis Trumpf laser machine that is still in use today. The laser was bought to take advantage of the growing market for low volume laser cut pressings.

The company was founded by three Directors with wide ranging experience in engineering and operations. GFL now employees around 15 members of staff from modern premises based in the West Midlands.

The business has grown over the past 10 years increasing capacity by continually investing in new laser cutting machinery and adding additional services such as press braking. The company has a strong reputation in the marketplace for delivering laser cut parts at very short notice. This is made possible by operating lasers on a 24/7 basis with capacity nearly always available.

GF Laser also has a dedicated Quality Manager who ensures that our systems adhere to ISO 9001 and also continues to monitor the ongoing quality of our Production.

There have been many milestones for the business over the past 10 years. The main areas are detailed below:

2006: First laser cutting machine installed.

2007: Systems Approved to ISO 9001:2008 and have been fully maintained since.

2009: Gained approval to supply Nissan with prototype 5 axis laser cutting.

2010: First flatbed laser installed.

2010: Gained approval to supply Jaguar Land Rover.

2012: First AMADA pressbrake installed.

2012: Gained approval to supply GKN.

2015: High Volume Production 5 axis laser cutting cell set up.

2015: Completed Move to new larger premises.

2015: Nitrogen Generation System installed.

2015: First fibre laser installed.

2015: First 4000mm x 2000mm installed.

2016 Creation of Management Team to take the business through the next stage of growth

What next for GF Laser?

2015 and 2016 have undoubtedly been a very important time in the history of GF Laser with much of the previous year’s hard work by the team culminating in the move to new larger premises.

However, the business continues to monitor the market to ensure it remains at the forefront of laser cutting. Over the next few years GF Laser will be looking at the following areas:

Replacing existing CO2 laser cutting machines with faster fibre laser cutting machinery.

Increasing it’s welding and fabrication offering to customers.

Improvement in Productivity that are passed on to customers through lower costs and even faster turnaround.

 

Simon Tregillus | Director

T: 01384 245095
M: 07792 143076

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