BSK Engineering: Keeping An Edge

BSK Engineering has seen explosive new growth with new plasma cutting purchases.

When BSK Engineering opened it’s doors for business in 2001, the family owned Irish subcontract manufacturer primarily served the architectural steel industry with the design and production of gates, railings, staircases and other innovative design stuctures.

However, a change of direction in 2012 propelled the Dugannon company onto a path of exponential growth, supported by plasma cutting machines from Kerf Developments.

For an area with relatively few quarries, the County Tyrone area in Ireland is home to around 70% of the world’s largest quarry plant manufacturing businesses. In the local area, BSK Engineering realised that the quarry industry was absorbing all the skilled staff, causing issues for BSK and restricting it’s growth.

With a huge quarry industry on the doorstep and a pool of suitably talented engineers, the company changed it’s business model to generate growth. To implement it’s strategy to serve the quarry industry, it was essential that BSK Engineering invested in cutting technology.

Explosive Growth for BSK Engineering

Commenting on the 2012 Arrival of its first Kerf Plasma Cutting Machine, ad 3m x 1.5m RUR200P, BSK Engineering’s managing Director, Barry Kerr said:

When buying our first machine, we looked at three suppliers. We examined what other local companies were buying and they were all investing in Kerf technology. The feedback we had from local business on Kerf was extremely positive. Kerf developments was the only supplier with locally based engineering support that could be on site in a matter of hours to resolve any maintenance or service needs. This gave us the confidence to buy our first Kerf Machine.

Barry Kerr

With a 2000sqft factory area, the 3m x 1.5m Kerf RUR2000P was the only machine that would fit into the small three-employee company. The machine was initially purchased to carry out small component-cutting for the quarry industry, as well as structural steel parts for existing customers.


RUR Profile Cutting Machine from Kerf Developments

The first Kerf machine 75% committed to structural steel work, cutting small parts through the nesting technique in quantities of up to 150 out of a single sheet of 3m x 1m steel. However, the machine was soon at capacity, running 24 hours a day. The came the growth.

From 2012 to 2016, BSK Engineering was repeatedly turning away larger scale quarry work. The company opted to take the plunge and invest, expanding the facility from 2000sqft to 13000sqft.


BSK Engineering

BSK Engineering installed a scond Kerf Machine in August 2017, The RUR 3000P plasma cutting machine with a Lincoln Electric Spirit II 275 amp UltraSharp Plasma Cutting Machine. the 8m x 2.5m bed machine provided much needed capacity for cutting quarry parts such as 7m by 2m screen slides that are commonly produced.

It also gave added capacity to take the company away from 24 hour shift production. However, this proved a short lived reality as the company almost doubled it’s turnover from 600,000 to £1.1m in 2017. With two machines running 24 hours per day as well as operating at weekends, the company needed a third machine, and Kerf duly obliged.

In August 2018, the third Kerf machine arrived. Another 8m x 2.5m RUR3000P plasma cutting machine with a Lincoln Electric Spirit II 275 amp UltraSharp Plasma Cutting Machine.

“We bought the third Kerf machine to alleviate the capacity issue and once again move from 24 hour production to single-shift manufacture. We have grown our staff from 3-15 and our turnover has almost quadrupled to 2m in just 3 years. It is the reliability and service of Kerf that has given us the confidence to grow whilst ensuring we can still meet the short lead times of our customers. We can order parts or consumables from Kerf, and we are guaranteed next-day-delivery. likewise, an engineer can be with us very quickly”, the company said.

We have grown our staff from 3-15 and our turnover has quadrupled to almost 2million in just three years

Staying Sharp

Identifying competition in the area and anwering why BSK Engineering has grown so rapidly, Barry Kerr explained: ” Most of our competitors have a three to four week lead time on parts, however we deliver within seven days. That is why we are winning more and more business from our competitors. The Kerf machines also maintain a lower cost overhead compared to our competitors”

“Referring specifically to this point, Barry Kerr continued “All the work we cut on the Kerf machines is steel plate between 2mm to 40mm thick, with 70% of sheets over 10mm thick, This is where we win over competitors. Competitors with expensive laser machines will be faster when cutting plates of up to 8mm but anything above that and the Kerf machine is considerably faster than laser. Added to this, the purchase price and consumable price of the Kerf is considerably less than a laser, enabling us to be more price competitive.

When cutting plates above 10mm thick, many of our customers are finding the edge finish quality is equally as good or sometimes better than that of laser, so we can offer the same quality finish as a laser cut but with reduced costs, improved lead-time and a significantly better service. This means tht customers previously buying parts from laser subcontract suppliers are now moving over to us and our Kerf Ultrasharp Plasma Solution.

We can offer the same quality finish as laser-cutting but with reduced costs, improved lead-time and a significantly better service.

In conclusion, Barry Kerr said “We now have a very competitive business, and this is largely built around the quality of our staff and the three Kerf machines. Around 60% of our work is relatively small and with the large bed machines, we can cut ome 4m plate, whilst another is being loaded. This pendulum loading method reduces our cycle times by 50% whilst we still have the facility for cutting large parts. This capacity helps us to maintain strong lead times whilst the service and support from Kerf developments ensures that we are always running”

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