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News

Upgraded Ultrarex helps Corus Catnic increase lintel production

ESAB Group : 19 May, 2006  (New Product)
Investment by specialist building products manufacturer Corus Catnic in a refurbished/upgraded ESAB Ultrarex UXD-P plasma profiling machine has helped the Caerphilly-based company to meet increased demand for its products. The machine is used for profiling of components for bespoke lintel forms such as arches, for which demand has more than doubled over the last couple of years.
Investment by specialist building products manufacturer Corus Catnic in a refurbished/upgraded ESAB Ultrarex UXD-P plasma profiling machine has helped the Caerphilly-based company to meet increased demand for its products. The machine is used for profiling of components for bespoke lintel forms such as arches, for which demand has more than doubled over the last couple of years.

The new machine was bought to replace a mechanically identical profiler installed at the beginning of the 1990s. It is generally used to cut out components from sheet and plate material in the 3 mm to 10 mm thickness range, though on occasion material up to 20 mm thick is profiled. This is well within the capability of the 100 amp plasma unit.

The original machine had given good service but was beginning to show signs of mechanical wear, whilst the control system was outdated. Ralph Jones, Corus Catnic project engineer, comments. 'With the increased order throughput the reliability of the old machine was beginning to become an issue. Moreover certain components for the control system were obsolete and in short supply. We elected to replace the machine with a modernised version as part of a wider project to upgrade our manufacturing facilities.'

A key improvement on the new installation has been the Vision LE PC-based control system which offers a graphical user interface and supports parameterised CNC programs for up to 65 component forms. In addition the control, in combination with new axis drives, provides improved profile accuracy through the ability to fine tune component size by altering kerf width during program execution.

The decision to purchase a refurbished machine instead of a new machine was based on a combination of economics and process requirements. A refurbished Ultrarex costs around 40 per cent less than a new equivalent. Although its on-paper performance is also lower, because of the regular swap-overs necessitated by the small batch nature of the work at Corus Catnic, real-world productivity disadvantages are minimal.

The machine delivered to the company benefited from new axis drives and replacement of any mechanical components, such as the drive pinions, that are subject to wear. In addition a new 100 amp plasma unit was fitted as well as the new CNC unit. It also carries a one year warranty.

Mr Jones concluded. 'The new machine has fulfilled our expectations in terms of productivity and profile accuracy, and supported significant growth in the level of activity within our fabrication shop. Its control software has made it easier for us to respond to repeat orders and the modern control will also enable it to integrate with new order processing and production management software currently being installed within the factory.'
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