ParkerSteel boosts manufacturing with latest laser cutting technology

The BLM LS7 4020 fibre laser cutting machine on the shop floor at ParkerSteel
The BLM LS7 4020 fibre laser cutting machine on the shop floor at ParkerSteel

In an era where steel supply chains face significant pressures and demand from end users has been tepid, the trend among stockholders has largely been to shy away from investing in new processing machinery that could enhance the value of their offerings. However, ParkerSteel stands as a notable exception.

Throughout 2023, ParkerSteel committed over £4 million to significantly upgrade its processing capabilities. The investment included the acquisition of two BLM tube laser cutting machines for its Dudley facility and an additional four machines for its Canterbury headquarters.

The latter comprised a similar tube laser, a combined drill-and-saw, a mitre saw, and notably a cutting-edge flatbed fibre laser profiling centre from the BLM Group, sourced through the manufacturer's UK subsidiary based in Ampthill.

The strategic investment, spearheaded by managing director Dylan Alexander, puts ParkerSteel at the forefront of the sector's resurgence. The company's diverse customer base, spanning construction, transport, agriculture, manufacturing, energy, marine, utilities, highways and mining, is set to benefit from an expanded portfolio of steel and aluminium products, including precision-cut billets for machining by OEMs and subcontractors.

A sheet being processed in the LS7 4020
A sheet being processed in the LS7 4020

ParkerSteel's journey with laser cutting technology has been progressive and forward-thinking. Starting with ten COâ‚‚ machines in the early 2000s, the company transitioned to an automated fibre laser cutting centre equipped with twin 8kW lasers in 2016.

Despite its success, this upgrade posed new challenges, prompting production manager Michael Seager to seek a more flexible and reliable solution. The new 12kW BLM LS7 4020 fibre laser cutting machine emerged as the ideal choice, offering not just operational efficiency and flexibility but also much-needed redundancy for uninterrupted production.

The choice of the BLM LS7 4020 was influenced by its European build quality, CE marking ensuring safe operation, cost-effectiveness and the supportive approach of BLM's UK team. Its modular design facilitated rapid onsite assembly, significantly enhancing productivity at a crucial time for ParkerSteel.

A visit to the BLM Group's manufacturing facility in Levico, Northern Italy, by Mr Alexander and Mr Seager reassured them of the equipment's reliability and the manufacturer's support. Since its commissioning in mid-October 2023, the LS7 4020 has demonstrated exceptional productivity, attributed to its 2g table acceleration and an automatic pallet shuttle system, which together streamline operations and minimise changeover times to an impressive nine seconds.

An automatic pallet shuttle system on the LS7 4020 enables one table with finished parts to exit the machine while another table with a fresh sheet enters it, all within nine seconds
An automatic pallet shuttle system on the LS7 4020 enables one table with finished parts to exit the machine while another table with a fresh sheet enters it, all within nine seconds

Ease of use has been another commendable feature, with program handling and nesting and cutting cycles efficiently managed offline through SigmaNEST CAD/CAM software. The machine's advanced features, including active piercing, nozzle centring and real-time control of cutting accuracy, ensure precision and quality in processing a wide range of materials.

As ParkerSteel moves forward, its investment in the BLM LS7 4020 represents not just a commitment to technological advancement but also a strategic positioning for growth and innovation in the steel industry.

BLM Group



BLM Group

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