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Bradford-based subcontract fabrication specialist Powell Manufacturing has achieved uptime of 99.68 per cent since installing its latest Trulaser 3040 laser-cutting machine from Trumpf.

Powell Manufacturing demanded high-uptime guarantees before committing to the purchase of the Trulaser 3040, to ensure that it could continue to meet the expectations of its high-profile customers in industries such as electronics, construction and automotive.

Powell Manufacturing, (previously known as NGBM), a trading division of Switchgear and Instrumentation, was acquired by US group Powell Industries in 2005.

Although the company continues to supply fabricated products for the switchgear side of its business, around GBP5m is generated annually in turnover from external contracts.

To distinguish itself from competitors, one of the company’s recent manufacturing strategies has been to implement a highly developed maintenance and performance programme in order to help ensure that its quality, reliability and price remain market-leading attributes.

Peter Watts, Powell Manufacturing’s sales and marketing manager, said: ‘Turnaround times are tight and there is little if no margin for machine downtime, particularly with regard to our laser-cutting facilities, which are integral to our operation and productivity.

‘We operate a computerised capacity planning system to schedule the workload across all our processes, thereby ensuring deliveries are maintained at the optimum and allowing fast re-scheduling to reflect the dynamic demands of our many and varied customers.

‘Machine downtime does not fit into this manufacturing ethos,’ he added.

In its first 97 weeks, the Trulaser 3040 worked for 13,926 hours, or 143.54 hours per week.

This equates to 99.68 per cent availability across the company’s working directive of 24 hours a day, six days a week (144 hours).

Downtime has amounted to just 42 hours in 97 weeks, time that can be attributed to installing new software updates and for routine wearing part changes.

Among the reasons for this uptime are the inherent reliability gained from Trumpf’s high-quality engineering and the maintenance team at Powell Manufacturing being Trumpf-trained.

Watts continued: ‘We have four engineers trained to maintain Trumpf technology.

‘Most of the maintenance is simply planned routine tasks, but if there is ever a small glitch, we have the capability to get the machine up and running again in minutes rather than calling for assistance from Trumpf.

‘Our team can even rectify major faults should they ever arise, in fact we are one of the few companies trusted by Trumpf to work on the high-voltage side of the resonator,’ he added.

Powell Manufacturing uses its Trulaser 3040 to process everything from 0.5mm aluminium (for electronics industry parts) up to 20mm stainless steel found typically in balustrade and balcony components for the construction sector.

Batches range from one-offs up to thousands.

Watts said that the inherent flexibility and lack of tool changes means laser cutting is well suited to the business model at Powell Manufacturing, which also undertakes CNC forming, welding, powder coating and assembly operations at its Bradford facility 24 hours a day, six days a week.

With its 3000 x 1500mm working range, everything about the Trulaser 3040 is geared towards getting from ‘art to part’ in the shortest possible time.

Advanced functionality includes modern control technology with integrated know-how, programming with Trutops Laser, the ability to preset processing parameters via technology tables and a quick-change system for cutting heads.


Remaining profitable today is a challenge and staying competitive in the future requires solutions that can adapt to your every-changing business needs. The technology built into TRUMPF precision machinery gives fabricators the flexibility to increase the efficiency of their high-quality, close-tolerance part production – in small batches or high volume jobs.

TRUMPF ranks among the world's leading manufacturers of production technology and industrial lasers. Technical solutions for its customers have been the company's focus since 1923. In every technology group TRUMPF machines are designed to minimise unit costs and to provide reliability and a rapid return on investment.

All machines are designed to accept flexible and expandable automation. The choices range from simple productivity gains from features such as automatic laser nozzle exchange through to all the elements necessary for full lights out production.

In the field of CO2 and solid state production lasers the TRUMPF product spectrum is now unparalleled and its experience extends from OEM systems to small hand-manipulation processing stations through to large 5-axis machines. It has competence at any level of power from 2W to 20kW.

The production processes for which TRUMPF lasers are designed are numerous and include welding, cutting, drilling, tube processing, surface treatment, additive manufacturing and component marking.

TRUMPF punching is much more than simply making holes. The TruPunch range of machines provides complete part processing – including forming – and virtually eliminates the need for secondary processing. And in its TruMatic series these benefits are combined with laser cutting; the best of both worlds.

The TRUMPF TruBend press brakes use patented technology to ensure that the bending angle is precise, right from the start and can handle small, complex or single components cost efficiently. Completing the main technology groups are the TRUMPF TruTool range of power and pneumatic portable fabrication equipment.

Under the umbrella of TruServices TRUMPF provides a highly comprehensive range of business services to support its customers. This starts with finance – TRUMPF operates its own bank – and includes full software support both at machine and business level. A wide range of predictive maintenance and service packages are also available as is application and product specific training.

With TRUMPF nothing is left to chance. In every aspect of its business, customers can be assured of quality and exceptionally value for money.

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