Start-up business invests in flexibility

Start-up business invests in flexibility
Start-up business invests in flexibility

After working in the sheet metal profiling industry for over 20 years, Mark Derbyshire wanted to build his own family business.

Starting with nothing but industry contacts and experience, he formed Wigan-based Made Profiles last March and only a matter of months later, the company was already exceeding its projections and expectations. This is largely thanks to a management team that helped found the company. The team consists of a sales and CAD/production manager both having over 20 years of experience that has been integral in the early success.

When forming the company with limited finances, Mr Derbyshire needed a cutting table that would deliver reliability and first class service levels. The first point of call for the new business to achieve this was Kerf Developments.

“As a start-up company buying our first machine, it was imperative that we bought a quality product with outstanding service levels,” says Mr Derbyshire, managing director of Made Profiles. “We reviewed the marketplace and the deciding factor was that I worked with Kerf machines in my previous post, so I knew their service and support was second to none.”

Whilst Made Profiles set the bar high with its service and reliability expectations, another key factor was Kerf's ability to manufacture a bespoke machine that fitted the needs of the subcontractor servicing the offshore, automotive, rail, construction and bridge building industries. When specifying a cutting table, Made Profiles wanted flame cutting heads for profiling up to 250mm thick steel plates whilst simultaneously requiring high definition plasma cutting capabilities for high-speed and high quality cutting of sheets below 25mm thick.

Kerf duly obliged by manufacturing an RUM3500 machine with four flame cutting heads for simultaneously profiling multiple parts, plus one high definition plasma head for the high-speed cutting of thinner profiles. However, Mr Derbyshire also had the industry nous to specify the Kerf RUM3500 with a particularly large 12m by 3m bed.

“I wanted a large bed for flexibility and work flow purposes,” he explains. “We are continually growing and the large bed enables us to prepare up to three jobs simultaneously on the machine. This allows us to set-up at one end of the bed whilst an operator is cutting profiles at the other end. This reduces our set-up and leadtimes drastically and it improves our workflow through the shopfloor.”

This workflow is of particular importance to Made Profiles. One of the founding principles of the business is to deliver quality profiles at leadtimes the customer requires. Mr Derbyshire adds: "In general, leadtimes in the steel profiling industry for small quantity volumes can be quite lengthy, so we aim to work to a leadtime of two to three days for our customers. To consistently meet our target, the Kerf RUM3500 is running up to 15 hours a day, seven days a week. Despite this non-stop running, the RUM3500 has been outstanding with no breakdowns or downtime."

The fast turnaround service at Made Profiles has enabled it to exceed its growth expectations in year one. The result of this growth is the imminent delivery of a second Kerf RUM3500 machine.

"Now we have been operational for a number of months, we have a better projection of what materials, thicknesses and profiles our customers require,” Mr Derbyshire continues. “Up to 75% of our year one work is precision steel profiles up to 25mm thick, so we have ordered a second RUM3500 with a single 275AMP plasma cutting head. More powerful than the existing 150AMP plasma head, the new machine will allow us to cut high quality profiles up to 40mm thick whereas the existing 150AMP head is limited at 25mm thicknesses."

Kerf will add the second RUM machine to the existing 12m cutting table. In addition to this, Kerf will be extending the current 12m bed to 15m. This will effectively provide the company with the flexibility to manufacture components up to 15m or alternately use the bed as two individual 7.5m machines on a single platform.

Mr Derbyshire concludes: "We are cutting anything from mild and stainless steel through to Hardox, Durbar and boiler plates and the new plasma head will improve our through flow of work and enable us to maintain our benchmark in the industry as a supplier that can consistently meet short leadtimes.

“We have built our business on this philosophy and the support of our customers has been outstanding. With such exceptional support from our clients, we will continue to invest to exceed their expectations. Kerf has been, and undoubtedly will be instrumental in our future plans."


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