Since procuring an AMADA CNC-controlled ENSIS-3015 AJ fiber laser-cutting machine last year, Generic Punching Systems (GPS), a company based in Dudley in Great Britain, has been able to open up new opportunities for the future. And, in doing so, save up to 50 percent in energy costs.

Founded in 2002, GPS concentrates primarily on the construction industry. However, it also supplies products to a series of leading furnishings and street furniture manufacturers. The products manufactured by this British family-owned company range from small mounting brackets and Trimline guttering through to rainwater piping systems and facade claddings. These components are used for example in the training facilities of Stoke City Football Club, the Metropolitan University in London, the Science Museum Research Centre and the legendary Silverstone race track for which GPS has manufactured 16,500 panels. For over a decade, GPS has exclusively used tools and machines from AMADA due to their high technological standards. After moving premises in 2015, the company took a further step forwards by purchasing an AMADA ENSIS. “To replace the AMADA LC-3015 X1 NT CO2 laser cutting machine, we invested in an ENSIS AJ, canceled the lease on our former premises of barely 280 square meters where the X1 had been installed and leased a new site measuring approximately 930 square meters,” recounts Geoff Bull, Managing Director of GPS. “This allowed us to increase production by 45 percent and save about 1,000 pounds a month in energy costs. Thanks to the ENSIS, these have been cut by approximately 50 percent.”

Machining a wide range of materials

One of the great benefits is the machining quality: smooth cut edges on all the products, knows Geoff Bull (left).

One of the great benefits is the machining quality: smooth cut edges on all the products, knows Geoff Bull (left).

GPS uses a wide range of different materials. More than 60 different materials are machined on the ENSIS every month. With the new fiber-laser cutting machine, we can now also cut copper and brass, something that was not possible using the old CO2 laser cutting machine. The batch sizes are usually between 10 and 50 units. Although this British company often delivers one-off prototypes, the order volumes can also reach as much as 3,000 units. “We cut standard steel in thicknesses up to 25 millimeters and stainless steel of up to 15 millimeters – as a result, we use the full potential of our ENSIS,” says Bull. “The machining speed of the ENSIS is particularly pleasing. We are now able to produce on a just-in-time basis. We use the amounts we save every month to buy larger materials quantities at more attractive prices, for example. And the quality is also just what we need. The cut edges are all smooth and free from defects: No deburring or cleaning work is needed.”
Another factor influencing Bull’s decision to invest in the ENSIS was his wish to act as a pilot customer – something he achieved in 2015. “I wanted AMADA to send potential customers who want to see the system in operation to us,” says Bull, “I enjoy sharing my experience. And, of course, there is something exciting about being the first company in Great Britain to have an ENSIS at your site.” Word-of-mouth recommendations have always been the way GPS has achieved its success. The company allows its work and its impressive array of machines to speak for themselves instead of paying vast amounts for advertising campaigns. “We have seen how our business has grown over the last ten years thanks to the procurement of the right machines,” says Bull. “Around four years ago, our turnover was just about 460,000 pounds. This year, we achieved half of that in the first quarter alone. A lot of people think that machines of this class are unaffordable for small family businesses – we have 15 employees – but we have shown that it is possible. Our AMADA machines pay for themselves. And what is more, we believe that they are the best machine tools available on the market.”

More efficient production workflows

GPS currently possesses a total of five AMADA machines. These include two HFE series press brakes and an EMZ-3620 NT punching machine. “I can still remember the first order that we completed on our AMADA EMZ punching machine in 2014 – we saved 43 hours during the punching work and 48 hours during programming,” explains the Managing Director. “All of a sudden, we could complete an order that used to take five days in just 1.5 days.” According to Bull, what differentiates GPS from its competitors is the company’s enormous commitment – no order is ever refused, however great the challenges might be. However, he also attributes the company’s success to the speed at which it completes its orders. “We are considered to be one of the fastest actors among the building system subcontractors,” says Bull. “Our customers know that they are in safe hands if they entrust us with orders with fixed deadlines. Our business is more successful than ever before. And the new orders that keep coming in show that our customers are satisfied.”
In the next phase of investment, GPS is planning to move to an even larger site. It will then install an FMS system that will be connected to the AMADA ENSIS and EMZ. Manufacturing at GPS will then take a further step toward a fully automatic production environment.

Pictures: AMADA