Going for growth

Two successful fabrication businesses are reaping rich rewards following investment in Bystronic equipment. PES reports.

Continuous investment has always been key to Sheffield-based Charles Day’s success and with its latest addition to the laser fleet, the company is showing no signs of slowing down.

Having recently purchased a new Bystronic ByStar 15kw fibre laser with a cutting bed of 6,000mm x 2,500mm, it has once again broadened its service offering further establishing itself in the marketplace as an industry leader. 

From humble beginnings Charles Day founded the business as a specialist flame cutting service in 1976, where its first site consisted of a single machine in a small workshop. From there it has grown into one of the largest and most diverse specialist cutting providers in the UK having since been an early adopter of laser and waterjet cutting technology.

The company now owns six flatbed lasers, three large bed waterjet machines and three flame cutters, not to mention a sister company specialising in tube laser cutting. 

“The addition of a 15kW laser is a big step forward in Charles Day’s already large capacity and capability offering,” said James Day, operations director. “With the ability to cut thicker material up to 50mm at such a high-speed on this new laser, we also increase the capacity on our existing five lasers by focusing material thickness to its most productive machine.”

Charles Day has five other lasers comprising 3 x 6kW and 2 x 10kW on 4,000mm x 2,000mm cutting beds, allowing for short lead-times on projects of all sizes. 

The 15kW variant is claimed to be the first machine of its kind in the UK and the ability to cut with 15kW of power on such a large cutting bed means customers will benefit from tighter tolerances on parts up to 6,000mm long. These would otherwise need to be cut using other methods such as plasma or flame.   

“Achieving laser tolerances on parts up to 6,000mm is a gamechanger,” adds sales and business development director Charlie Day. “Where typically larger and thicker parts are limited to the tolerances of flame and plasma cutting methods, often having to be split and welded together later, this machine will offer customers greater part flexibility at competitive prices whilst maintaining short lead-times. 

“This, coupled with having such varied capability and capacity under one roof, makes Charles Day a logical choice for a production partner. As we have also recently purchased a Bystronic Xpert Pro press brake (150 tonne, 3,100mm width), customers benefit from a reliable, high quality, one stop shop.” 

The right technology for growth

The second highly satisfied Bystronic customer is Global Steel Manufacturing, a family owned business based in Enniscorthy Co. Wexford, Ireland.

The company has been in operation for over 30 years. Founder Jim O’Connor still plays a hands on role with his management team in running the business.

Global Steel provides a range of services including fibre laser, waterjet and plasma cutting as well as stainless and mild steel fabrication, CNC press break folding and powder coating.

Operating from a new, purpose-built premises on the outskirts of Enniscorthy town, and fitted out with modern fabrication and machine shop equipment, the company has 40 full-time employees. Global Steel offers a wide range of specialised engineering products and services to all sections of industry, particularly food processing, pharmaceutical, telecommunications and related sectors.

Plans are in place to grow the business by double digits year on year. 2020 saw the turnover reach €3 million. The company is experiencing rapid growth and is now recruiting new staff as part of a five-year plan to grow the operation. 

 Global Steel’s business model is based on quality of product, JIT delivery and a repeatable service experience. A Bystronic BySmart 3kW fibre laser cutting machine was purchased in 2020, the first of its type in Ireland. To match the new increased capacity, another press brake folding machine was also ordered from Bystronic which has a 4m fold capacity.

In June this year, the company placed an order for a second Bystronic fibre laser machine due for delivery imminently. This 4kw machine will significantly further increase the company’s ability to penetrate the contract cutting and folding market.

Bystronic was selected as a high-quality supplier of lasers and press brake equipment with a knowledgeable and prompt support service team. The BySmart Fiber offers impressive cutting performance for high output and excellent cutting quality with thin to medium sheet metal thicknesses.

Why laser?

The introduction of the fibre laser machine presented a technical solution in the expansion of the business, particularly in the context of a shortage of qualified welders. The company is currently re-organising to expand laser run time by introducing a shift rota in its laser department. These plans for additional shifts will significantly increase capacity to service the downstream capabilities of the business.

Led by production manager Paul Cullen, training was provided to a group of highly motivated individuals who have been cross trained on the key requirements of the department, namely drawing, laser machine operation and folding.

More space, more capacity

A significant new factory extension has been completed to provide the additional floor space necessary to prepare for growth. This space allows a re-organised layout to cater for the laser machine, the relocation of the fabrication shops and the creation of a material storage area.

The new layout achieves a seamless flow of material and product consistent with the Lean fundamental of minimising transport time within the process. In addition, Global Steel is currently pursuing a site earmarked for future expansion necessary to fulfil the plan in two to three years’ time.

Target markets

“Global Steel’s enhanced capabilities are targeted to better meet the needs of our existing customers as well as increasing our client base,” explains general manager Hugh O’Byrne. “The expansion with new customers will focus on laser cutting and folding while also providing a complementary services for fabrication and powder coating/painting where required.”

In the waterjet area, the company has the ability to cut heavier/specialised materials up to 150mm and will target customers with these specific needs. In fabrication, Global Steel plans to primarily target customers requiring fabrication services which will benefit from automation.   

“Specific skills and expertise in high technology manufacturing are well-established in Ireland,” Hugh O’Byrne concludes. “Our established track record in providing first-class products and services and our ability to meet deadlines are our greatest strengths.”

Charles Day

Global Steel Manufacturing

Bystronic UK

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