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Teparay Precision Sheet Metal has invested in a Kuhlmeyer ZBS portal-type, twin-belt grinding machine from Ellesco to create a more automated work environment.

Teparay Precision Sheet Metal (TPSM) has seen significant expansion resulting in it currently employing 80 people in its 80 000ft2 facility in Hainault, Essex.

This growth is a result of TPSM working closely with its customers across industries such as furniture, storage, shop fittings, lighting, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), to develop ideas and turning them into products that can be manufactured efficiently.

As a result of this philosophy, the company has also been quick to invest in manufacturing technology, particularly where it can automate the process.

Over recent years it has taken delivery of four automated turret punch presses, a laser, five press brakes and three state-of-the-art panel benders.

This is in addition to investment in a new powder paint facility, an 8m by 3.5m box oven, shot blasting and robot welding.

This level of automation highlighted one area that still needed to be addressed, that of deburring and surface finishing.

‘Our managing director, Ray Belcher, visited the Kuhlmeyer factory in Germany as a guest of Ellesco and saw the ZBS twin-belt grinding machine demonstrated,’ said Jon Grainger, TPSM’s technical sales and marketing manager.

‘He could immediately see that it would fulfil the task in hand.’ The Kuhlmeyer ZBS portal-type, twin-belt grinding machine is capable of working on fabrications up to 3m in length and continuous grinding belts that allow roughing and finishing in the same setup, making it a highly productive machine.

The open operating environment makes loading and unloading a straightforward operation and once loaded, components can be positioned on the machine’s axes to achieve the ideal working position and presenting any of the five available component faces to the belts for grinding.

The operator then applies pressure using shaped hand tools or the machine’s pressure pad to remove excess material.

TPSM saw the advantages of this system and after further discussions with Ellesco, the decision was taken to purchase, with installation taking place in summer 2008.

The installation went smoothly, with the machine proving itself almost immediately without any problems; TPSM could see that it would soon be working to capacity.

After just a couple of months the question was asked whether TPSM should buy another ZBS machine to provide additional capacity and back-up.

‘The answer was to return to Ellesco and investigate the potential of a Kuhlmeyer BKK machine that is designed to dress weld on the corners of sheet metal boxes,’ said Grainger.

‘This particular machine complements the ZBS machine as it is ideally suited to heavier weld removal, and would relieve the pressure on the ZBS machine, creating extra capacity for the more detailed finishing work.’ The Kuhlmeyer BKK machine features a table with magnetic supports to hold components with the grinding belt moving vertically across the weld, while the table swivels through 90deg to ensure full contact with the welded corner.

The machine’s control unit automatically recognises the height of the workpiece and ensures that the cycle is kept to a minimum.

Both machines are now in full production and they have proved to be the missing link in TPSM’s quest to create a more automated work environment.

The level of automation is helping to eliminate operator fatigue, which in turn is improving consistency and issues surrounding manual intervention in the deburring process.

The technology employed ensures that components cannot be damaged by over enthusiastic use of abrasive materials while reducing cycle times.

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