Continually maintaining a delivery lead time in the region of 2-3 days can be a daunting prospect for most manufacturers, but for Smethwick based AJS Profiles Ltd, it has become a promise that enables it to outperform its competitors. For anybody purchasing steel profiling services, long lead-times are often the norm and that's why AJS has become the envy of the industry with its capacity, capability and of course short turnaround times that have generated growth in the region of 45% over the last two years.
As one of the largest and most successful steel profiling companies in the UK, AJS Profiles has maintained its commitment to customer satisfaction by investing in the most productive and reliable plant. Over the last few years, this has seen the West Midlands company invest heavily in oxy-fuel and plasma cutting technology from Kerf Developments.
Until the first Kerf machine acquisition in 2011, AJS Profiles had a 22,000sq/ft facility with cutting machines from a variety of vendors that were all selected on their merits. However, reliability and the consequent lack of support from some machine suppliers led to the purchase of a Kerf RUR3500G multi-head oxyfuel cutting machine. The productivity, training, ease of use through the Burny control unit and the support from Kerf, led to the installation of an RUR2500P high definition plasma machine just a
Over a three year period, the build quality and productivity levels of the Kerf range has been second to none. This addition of Kerf machines and new staff has underpinned the phenomenal growth levels that took the company from its long-serving 22,000sq/ft facility into an additional 25,000 sq ft in May 2014. With new employees taking the staff numbers to 25 and an increased floor space, the subcontract supplier to the aerospace, nuclear, automotive, construction and rail industries has now embarked upon filling its remaining floor-space with more Kerf machines.
As AJS Profiles Ltd Director, Mr Neil Webb comments: "Bringing in new staff and increasing the plant list and capacity levels have generated huge growth and a lot of this was initially consumed by the third Kerf machine we bought last April, a RUR3500P high definition plasma machine with a 6m by 3m bed. As the order book filled, we wanted a machine that could rapidly cut the most common steel thicknesses from 3mm to 32mm. The performance of the RUR3500P theoretically absorbed the workload of two alternate oxy-fuel machines and gave us the capacity to maintain our lead times despite a huge influx of work. With the business enjoying growth, 2014 saw us purchase an additional three Kerf machines."
The glowing endorsement for the Kerf reliability and service was confirmed when AJS Profiles took delivery of a multi-head oxy-fuel cutting RUR3500G machine in October. In fact, the growth at AJS Profiles and its confidence in Kerf then noted the profiling specialist buy a second machine in October
2014 from the 2nd hand market, an RUM4000G multi-head oxy fuel machine. The final acquisition in November 2014 can only be described as a monster of a machine. The RUM3000G multi-head oxy-fuel machine has high powered cutting heads for efficiently cutting through steel profiles up to a staggering 500mm thick. The plant list at AJS now stands at 10 cutting machines (6 from Kerf) that is complemented by the UK's largest range of Lumsden Grinding MACHINES capable of processing diameters up to 3430mm.
Whilst the UK's largest range of Lumsden grinders is impressive, its undoubtedly the new Kerf RUM3000G that heats the enthusiasm and shop floor at AJS. As Mr Webb continues:
"The specification of the RUM3000G says it is capable of cutting up to 450mm thick material and we have already cut steel profiles at 330mm. It’s so powerful I wouldn't be surprised if it could cut plates over 600mm thick! Having this capability takes us into new markets that are far beyond that of our competitors."
To process such gigantic profiles, the Kerf RUM3000G is a bespoke solution that incorporates a cutting head from OXY-ARC that has been designed with gas inlet pipes that are 3 times thicker than standard to increase the flow of oxygen and propane. The machine gantry is armour plated to protect the cables and connections from heat. With the RUM3000G generating such heat, the machine also has air-conditioning units inside the gantry to dissipate the heat.
Concluding upon the rapidly expanding line of Kerf machines at AJS Profiles, Mr Webb says: "The broad range of Kerf cutting machines enable us to process steel profiles up to 10m by 3.4m with a thickness ranging from 3 to 450mm and probably beyond. The machines can accept payloads beyond 20 tonnes and it is this robust build quality, reliability, the modular ability to extend the bed sizes, the cut quality and above all the service that keeps us buying Kerf machines. We initially bought Kerf on a
promise of quality, reliability and support - the company has never let us down on these promises and this is key to AJS maintaining its reputation for rapid turnaround work."