Kintech, a leading specialist in the fabrication of engineered parts, is benefiting from the installation of its first TRUMPF machine in preference to the company’s long-established brand. Based in Hull, Kintech is using the automated TRUMPF TruPunch 3000 to perform the lights-out production of parts for the caravan, leisure, retail and medical sectors, thus eliminating the cost of outsourcing this activity.
Although only established in 2009, the company was formed from the ashes of former Hull-based fabrication business John A Kinnersley Co Ltd, which had 40 years of history. The assets of Kinnersley were acquired by current Kintech chairman, Carl Canty.
“Although the machines were perfectly operational, it was clear that the last 10 years of business at Kinnersley had seen minimal investment,” explains Mr Canty. “As a result, since the establishment of Kintech, we have steadily been updating, which has resulted in more orders and revenue growth.”
Today, Kintech has 60 employees and has enjoyed year-on-year growth since its formation a decade ago. Core business at the company is the punching, bending and powder coating of sheet and tube. The latest machine to come under scrutiny in terms of potential replacement was Kintech’s punch press.
“Our punch press was old and could no longer keep pace with growing sales,” says Mr Canty. “In fact, we had started to subcontract our punching work, which was having an obvious impact on bottom line profitability. With this in mind, we decided to replace the machine.”
Mr Canty had been a long-time user of a particular supplier of sheet-metal processing machinery, but this time around, conscious of being thorough, he decided to examine the entire market. What he found, proved to be a surprise. “Although I thought that my previous machine tool supplier would be hard to beat, the TruPunch from TRUMPF was more attractive, both technically and financially,” he says.
To make sure, Mr Canty duly accepted invitations to both TRUMPF in Germany, and the company’s UK headquarters in Luton. “TRUMPF went the extra mile and were very professional from the outset,” he reports. “I originally thought the TruPunch 2000 would be ideal for our requirements, but following advice from TRUMPF, I could see that the 3000 model was far more suitable. This was primarily because of our intention to introduce lights-out manufacturing and the availability of more automation options on the TruPunch 3000.
Kintech produces many parts from large panels, particularly for its customers in the caravan and leisure industries. A number of these sheets have short punching times of 2-3 minutes. Such jobs can be labour intensive, so automation provides a very attractive alternative. Subsequently, Kintech requested that the TruPunch 3000 be accompanied by a full size TRUMPF SheetMaster load/unload system.
Installed in July 2018, the automated TruPunch 3000 has been busy producing large panels for caravans and sunbed equipment, largely from 1.0 to 1.5mm thick sheet. Typical materials processed on the machine include galvanised steel, zintec and aluminium. Kintech accommodates batch runs of up to 1500, but more usually around 200-off. Many of the longer-running repeat jobs are processed unmanned overnight and at weekends, with more intricate jobs completed during the day.
“There are many aspects of the machine that we like,” states Mr Canty. “Aside from the obvious business benefits of running lights-out, we enjoy the high speed of the machine and the fact that we can set-up the tooling while it is running. We are also saving on nesting, labour and materials, not to mention subcontract costs. Furthermore, with its brush table, the machine is quieter than our previous model. Indeed, we have now sold that machine, so we are totally reliant on TRUMPF for our punching requirements.”
To support its investment in the TruPunch 3000, Kintech also acquired TRUMPF TruTops Boost software for 2D/3D design and programming.
“In my experience, investing in proprietary software for your machine tool – rather than third-party software – always pays dividends, and this has proved no exception,” explains Mr Canty. “We have found TruTops Boost to be highly beneficial, and the operators have really warmed to it. In fact, as first-time users, we found the learning curve to be a lot shorter than expected. Within two weeks we were feeling very confident on the system, which is really easy to use. We already have a number of special tools for the TruPunch 3000 and they are readily supported by TruTops Boost.”
Kintech supplies products to some of the largest caravan parks and manufacturers in the UK. The company’s portfolio includes caravan steps, beds and tables, storage units, siting equipment, flues, roof plates, and the manufacture of assisted-living aids for the care industry. According to Kintech, the company has been able to innovate much of its product design due to the versatility and advanced capability of the TRUMPF TruPunch 3000.
ISO9001 accredited, Kintech is continuously investing in making its business bigger and better, as investment in the automated TruPunch 3000 and TruTops Boost software proves. Indeed, the package represents the company’s largest ever investment as it looks to offer customers a more reliable, faster and more cost-effective in-house punching resource.
“We have a good set-up now with the new TRUMPF TruPunch,” concludes Mr Canty. “Our throughput has increased in line with orders and the machine is delivering exactly what we expected. Having in-house control over manufacturing is a real benefit – we can even process emergency jobs if necessary. Of course, the saving on our previous subcontract requirements has helped to justify the investment, which means that our ROI will be relatively short.”