If you've ever driven past a construction or heavy industrial site, whether its on the motorway, a quarry, mining or even recycling plant, the likelihood is that you have at some point see an Ezystak conveyor system in action. With over 20 products in its range, the County Tyrone company has recently invested in new plant and equipment to keep abreast of its remarkable growth levels.
The family owned Dungannon business manufactures a range of tracked and wheeled conveyors, Bin feeders, Trommels', Screener and Incinerator products. It has enjoyed turnover growth of 300% and its staff levels have increased by 580% in the last five years. This almost exponential growth sees the Northern Irish business export to over 15 countries that include the USA, Mexico, Canada, Australia, East and Northern Europe as well as Africa and Dubai to name a few. The issue for such a successful business is keeping up with demand; and this is where Kerf Developments has given the company a helping hand with the supply of one Kerf RUR 3000 CNC UltraSharp plasma cutting machine together with an RUR 3500 machine for profiling wider material sheets.
Prior to the Kerf purchases Ezystak were using subcontractors to supply the profiles it required using their high definition plasma and laser cutting machines. However, Ezystak was witnessing indifferent performance from its suppliers ranging from lengthy lead times, sometimes dubious quality and increases in costs. Discussing the company's investment in Kerf RUR machines, Ezystak Managing Director Mr Seamus McGrath says: 'We wanted to eliminate bottlenecks created by suppliers delivering parts to excessive lead-times, as this was putting pressure on other departments in our business. We also wanted to reduce production costs. We needed a reliable machine with excellent cut quality and after reviewing the market, Kerf had the best solution for our business.'
'We looked at machines from all the major suppliers of profiling equipment and spoke with other local manufacturers. We eventually selected the Kerf RUR machines based on the build quality of the machine, the cut quality achieved with the UltraSharp plasma unit, the reputation of the supplier and the availability of local support in Northern Ireland,' says Mr McGrath.
The Kerf plasma machine was installed together with a large press brake and the project proved so successful, the decision was made to order a second RUR plasma machine to bring all the work in-house. The first machine arrived in the summer and the second machine was delivered in September. 'We were immediately impressed. The Kerf machine helped us to take 2 weeks off our lead-times and bring all our cutting and folding in-house. Furthermore, the service we were promised prior to purchasing has lived up to its reputation. We have outstanding support and any consumables that we need are supplied via next day delivery service,' says Mr McGrath.
Quantifying The Benefits...
Ezystak has witnessed a multitude of benefits and these include a significant cost reduction in producing its parts and respective machinery. Subcontract suppliers were providing a unit cost per part to EzyStak and by making the parts in-house, this cost has been slashed. By doing the work internally EzyStak is achieving maximum material utilisation through the Lantek Expert CAD/CAM and nesting system supplied with the Kerf RUR's. The system automatically generates programs for the machine based on pre-programmed parameters that are fine-tuned for the material, its thickness and the profile properties. This simplifies programming for the operator, reduces set-ups and guarantees that optimal production times are achieved on every job whilst delivering consistent cut quality on holes and profiles.
From a lead-time perspective, Ezystak specified the RUR machines with a 10m bed, so they could cut 5m by 3m sheets on one end of the bed whilst loading or unloading another sheet at the other end. This pendulum loading system increases the output from the machine by up to 70%. The speed and precision of the UltraSharp plasma system to cut mild steel from 3mm to 35mm and the combination of 'pendulum' loading has reduced lead times by at least 2 weeks. This is significant when the overall production and construction of a machine takes from 5 weeks to 7 weeks, depending upon the size and model of the machine.
Whilst the lead-time saving has alleviated in-house bottlenecks and provided a huge benefit to the customers; from an EzyStak perspective one of the main benefits has been the elimination of subcontract cutting costs. 'We were spending upwards of £12,000 per week on subcontract cutting, this has been eliminated and we now provide other companies with our own subcontract cutting services. The Kerf machines have been so influential to our business they will pay for themselves in the coming months on direct cost savings alone.
Concluding upon the Kerf RUR 3000 and 3500 acquisitions, Mr McGrath says: 'We are delighted with the two new machines. They are fast, efficient, cost effective to run from a consumable and power consumption perspective; and the service is outstanding. This investment has a short payback period. It has reduced external costs, improved lead-times for customers and also improved our cut quality. We couldn't ask for anymore from a machinery supplier.'