The company originally started as a service-based organisation, repairing and upgrading a broad range of profile cutting machinery. It was the experiences gained working on such a varied range of equipment that formed the basis of the current machine range. Dan Taylor, Managing Director, explains the transition to machine building, “We have a considerable amount of experience in the industry and we could see which machine configurations gave the best and most reliable performance. The machines that we build here in the workshop in Rochdale have been designed by our team of engineers which, with Kerf being completely independent, means that we can select best in class products for our turnkey solutions from leading global partners such as Lincoln Electric and Burny.”
In addition to offering a standard range of profile cutting machines, Kerf works with its customers to specify a bespoke machine that matches their own individual application. They design and build machines up to 4m wide with a combination of plasma and oxy-fuel heads and of any length. The smallest machine the company have supplied has a working area of 2.5mx 1.25m. The largest has a huge working area of 40m x 4m with multiple bridges.
A choice of plasma systems can be supplied with the machines ranging in cut capability from 1mm right the way through to 90mm. For oxy-fuel applications machines can cut up to 150mm thick as standard or considerably more if the application requires it.
As part of their continued development, Kerf needed to evaluate the capabilities of various CADCAM and nesting systems as this was becoming an ever-increasing requirement from its customers. Following evaluation of several of the leading systems the one that came out on top for the engineering team at Kerf was the Lantek Expert system.
As a world leader in software for the sheet metal and fabrication sector Lantek now has over 24,800 customers in over 100 countries and 20 offices in 14 countries. Its Expert software is supported by a team of engineers in the UK and is developed at the company’s Technological Excellence Centre in Bilbao, Spain. For Kerf Developments, Lantek has trained Kerf’s engineers so that they can provide training and first line support. Dan Taylor says, “All our field service engineers have a copy of Lantek Expert software as part of their toolbox so that they can provide an instant response to any queries. Lantek provides regular and valuable updates to the software and are always on hand to provide online support to fine tune systems to work in line with our customers’ needs.”
For offline programming of the cutting machines, CAD data can be imported directly into Lantek Expert, parts nested on the material to optimise usage and the cutting path automatically created, providing a very fast and simple way of keeping the machine running, achieving high productivity levels and short delivery times.
As part of the collaboration, Lantek has worked closely with the engineering team at Kerf to perfect its UltraSharp technology which delivers high quality parts with a square edge, better quality edges and 1:1 hole sizes, for example, a 5mm hole in 5mm material, a capability which would previously have been impossible on a plasma machine. For the user, this capability makes it possible to use much lower cost plasma technology rather than laser technology to manufacture parts and is especially effective for thicker components. Dan Taylor adds, “The UltraSharp technology involves internally enhanced software protocols, accelerating and decelerating the torch dynamics on tight contours and holes, controlling the power, gas pressure and flow, amongst other things, and also automatically selecting special lead in and lead out configurations. The result is a constant and true arc with no lag between the top and bottom of the material being cut. All the parameters required to achieve this are built into our technology tables making it easy to achieve high quality components direct from the CAD data.”
One of Kerf Developments’ customers, Pressed Flights based in Littleborough, manufactures screw conveyors. The shape of the screw in its flat state is complex and, in many cases, varies along the length of the screw depending on the material being transported.
Previously, these parts were subcontracted for laser and waterjet cutting. Now, the company has a Kerf RUR2500p machine with UltraSharp cutting technology and Lantek’s software and carries out all the cutting in house achieving ± 0.25mm general tolerance. Mark Cryer, Managing Director at Pressed Flights says, “It is one of the best investments we have made. We transfer CAD data directly into Lantek, nest the parts for best yield, easily and quickly generating the CNC program. The Kerf UltraSharp plasma is very reliable producing augers which are spot on in size, it is a vital part of our operation. After sales service is excellent from both companies.”
Dan Taylor concludes, “The 14-year collaboration with Lantek has enabled us to deliver industry leading technology to our customers as part of our turnkey machine packages configured to meet the demands of each client’s business. Our focus is on providing excellent service, as it has been from the start. Lantek has the same mindset making it a valuable partner for the delivery of a full process offering.”
18th September 2020The past four decades has seen considerable development in the metal cutting process with a range of oxy-fuel, plasma, waterjet and laser cutting machines able to cut materials from 1mm galvanised sheet through to 300mm thick mild steel. Each process has its role to play in the cost-effective manufacture of a wide range of products.
The cutting technology provides a cost-effective alternative to laser cutting for many applications. The UltraSharp technology intelligently utilises material databases to calculate the most appropriate cutting strategy, identifying the most suitable speeds and feeds, gas pressures and applying the most appropriate lead-in lead-out strategies.
Calculating and combining all these strategies, UltraSharp offers customers high cutting speeds, consistent cut quality, excellent edge finish and downstream productivity benefits. Improving up, what as Kerf states, is already considered the best technology available.
The RUR2500 is an extremely popular and cost effective Plasmaster 3015 profiling machine. Initially launched at MACH 2016, the Plasmaster is a compact machine that enables Kerf to bridge the gap between the high-end RUR machines and the refurbished machines the Rochdale company supplies. Significantly with new technology since its introduction, the enhanced Plasmaster 3015 targets smaller businesses wanting to cut everything from thin materials such as ductwork through to heavy duty fabricators needing to cut thicker materials up to 25mm. Kerf has created a robust, efficient and productive machine that appeals to a range of manufacturers.
Finance for the entire product range is available through Kerf Developments long standing partner; Finance for Business.
Tel: 01706 757 670
Structural steel applications have been one of the most signi cant growth areas for Kerf, as manufacturers can now cut bolt-ready holes and slots more accurately than ever before. This is largely credit to the latest UltraSharp plasma cutting technology, now available across a complete range of Kerf machines.
The ability to also cut holes and slots into box sections, angles, channels and other sectional materials on standard machines has also been a factor in sales to this sector.
Sales of larger sized oxy-fuel and plasma cutting machines have also been strong. Machines with huge cutting beds sometimes beyond 40 m long and in many cases with multiple cutting stations offer signi cant improvements in material utilisation, throughput and productivity, with larger plates being processed with ease, around the clock, if required.
The engineering team has been busy throughout 2019, developing and evaluating new products and technologies, as well as refurbishing a wide range of older Kerf machines. As part of the machine lifecycle, Kerf accepts ageing machines from customers that outgrow existing technology.
Customers frequently upgrade to larger machines and Kerf can accept and refurbish to as-new such old machines.
The refurbishment process includes a complete strip-down and rebuild, with many machines receiving upgraded control and plasma systems to breathe new life into them. This offers customers with smaller budgets the opportunity to purchase a high quality and extremely productive Kerf machine, an approach that has become very popular among pro ling companies.
In fact, the service has become so popular with customers that every factory-refurbished machine rebuilt in 2019 has now been sold. Finally, Kerf Developments enjoys an unparalleled reputation for customer service.