Peitzmeier reaps the benefit of innovation
When Ulrich Peitzmeier sowed the seeds of his start-up business five years ago, he had little expectation of such a quick harvest from the risk and hard work that he put into the project. Peitzmeier Maschinenbau GmbH produces long-belt grinding machines for use in surface processing of stainless steel, steel and aluminium components across a wide range of industry sectors. In the UK, these machines are represented by deburring and surface finishing expert Ellesco.
“When I started the business it was just me. I was fortunate to have a 50m2 garage that I used as an assembly area for the initial machines. That lasted for two years before I had to upscale for the first time in 2017. A further move saw floorspace increase to 300m2, but our plan is to double this in 2020 to be better able to manage the influx of orders that saw us working to full capacity in 2019,” says Ulrich Peitzmeier. Employee numbers have also grown, with Ulrich now working alongside six colleagues who between them generated 1.4 million Euro of turnover in 2019, a figure that will grow considerably this year.
For such a young business, export sales are a major element in its success, with almost 70 percent of its sales coming from markets outside of Germany, with the UK, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Qatar, India and China all presenting good market growth for the business. This growth is due in part to Ulrich Peitzmeier’s previous experience in machine tool sales, but also down to the traditional methods still employed by many for surface and edge preparation.
“We find that between 80 to 90 percent of the people we speak to still remove edges when processing metal with an angle grinder by hand,” he says. “This opens up so many opportunities to highlight the benefits of our machines and their automation of the grinding and deburring process, eliminating time from the operation and also reducing risk to operators.”
Deburring and polishing by hand is tiring work and brings with it its own health and safety issues. The result is that very few people want to do it, so automation had to be the way forward. By removing the bulk of human intervention in the process quality and consistency is also improved dramatically. This will increase further as more robotic systems become available, which is part of the Peitzmeier strategy. “In the world of high-quality consumer items, stainless steel cooker hoods for example, manufacturers attach great importance to this high level of consistency. We are seeing similar moves in the automotive sector also,” says Ulrich Peitzmeier. “This is something that gives us great optimism for the future and will allow us to maintain a full order book.”
One of the key advantages of Peitzmeier is its agility and ability to tailor machines to suit a customer’s specific needs. The design of the Peitzmeier Omni-Grind machines is modular, a system that was developed from day one of the company’s existence.
“Modularity is our unique selling point,” says Ulrich Peitzmeier. “Because we had the advantage of starting with a blank piece of paper, from the beginning we opted for the modular system. Many of our competitors, on the other hand, had a history of manufacturing machines for the woodworking industry and simply adapted their systems to the metalworking sector, creating compromises. Confirmation that our approach was correct came at the 2016 EuroBLECH trade fair, where the design was awarded an innovation prize.
For such a relatively small company, Peitzmeier provides a full service to customers from development and design, through to production and after-sales service. It keeps tight control on its supply base, with most components locally sourced. For example, the control system is manufactured in Verl, Peitzmeier’s hometown, while spindle drives come from Bielefeld, and the motors from Lippischen, both less than an hour’s drive away.
Focusing on quality rather than volume, Peitzmeier has just three machines in its portfolio, all of which can be adapted to suit. These are the Omni-Grind Twin, the Omni-Grind Portal and the Omni-Grind Dura, covering small to midsize, large and heavy parts and large heavy metal plate respectively. Each machine can be equipped with individual modules to match individual applications. Automation can also be tailored to suit a customer’s requirements, with programmable five-face grinding possible. The rigid machine construction makes it possible to process parts measuring from 2 m to 12 m in width, depending on machine type.
Cooney South invests in Timesavers to address changing customer needs
Founded in 2017 following a merger of the metal fabrication department of Sunseeker and Cooney Marine, Poole-based Cooney South has seen significant growth in its business supplying high-end superyacht manufacturers in the UK with precision stainless steel and aluminium components. This has been achieved through investment in machinery and people, with its latest purchase, a Timesavers 22 WW Series dry finishing and deburring machine, providing a solution to two challenges being faced by the company.
The first of these challenges was a drop in quality of the polished stainless and aluminium sheet material being supplied to Cooney South. “With the quality of raw material falling off the result was that when after laser cutting, we were having to scrap components due to the finish not meeting customer expectations,” says managing director James Cooney. “At the same time, we were under pressure to take quality to the next level, in terms of polished finish, by our customers in the superyacht sector.”
This led to an increase in hand polishing of components and delays.To overcome this, it was recognised that some automation was required. As its sister company Cooney Marine was already operating a Timesavers machine at its Kettering facility, the initial plan was to transfer work between the two locations. However, after further discussion the decision was taken to invest in a second machine, leading to evaluation of what exactly was required with input from Cooney South management, shopfloor staff and the expertise of Ellesco.
“The Timesavers machine at Cooney Marine was a single head variant and, as we wanted to increase throughput, we initially looked at buying a three-head version of the Timesavers 22 Series,” says Chris Sleet, production manager at Cooney South Ltd. “When we visited Ellesco to carry out trials on our own components, we were drawn to the two-head machine and, after experimenting with a variety of belts with different grit sizes, we discovered that the twin-head machine was more than twice as productive as the single-head at Kettering. It was also much less expensive than the three-head variant, so would save a considerable amount of money. Not only that, but with the twin-head being in stock could be delivered quickly to meet an urgent order.
“Ellesco came up trumps and the support we received from them was excellent, from initial training and fine tuning for our applications, through to installation, commissioning and follow up support. When it came to dust extraction, we had planned to use our existing supplier, but they couldn’t meet the pressing deadline. Ellesco recommended Climavent, a supplier that it has recently started to work with and the support of Climavent sealed the deal for us as they designed, manufactured and installed the extraction system within three weeks, which was vital to us getting the Timesavers machine up and running to meet this pressing order. I would say it was the slickest installation we have had, both here and at Cooney Marine.”
The arrival of the Timesavers 22 Series at Cooney South enabled the company to meet the uplift in quality requested by its customers, 99 per cent of which are in the high-end marine sector, with products including many of the visual elements on superyachts, many of which require a mirror finish. The two-head machine installed at Cooney South by Ellesco has a 900 mm wide table, which feeds parts past two abrasive belts, each of which can be fitted with differing grit sizes to meet the specific finish requirements of individual components. The result is that quality and consistency of the sheet coming off the Timesavers machine minimises the need for hand polishing. Furthermore, the speed of processing components is more than double the capability of the single-head machine installed at Cooney Marine and, as a result of this additional capability and capacity, Cooney South is opening up new opportunities to expand the business outside of its traditional customer base, with architectural clients coming on board.
“Apart from the initial requirement to meet a customer order, the main driver for this investment and others that we have made and continue to make is to target growth and our willingness to invest is what customers want to see,” says James Cooney. “The combined resources of Cooney South and Cooney Marine mean we can take flat plate from raw material, through laser cutting to mirror finish to superyacht standards, effectively under one roof. We have positioned ourselves, through investment in people and equipment to become one of, if not, the biggest suppliers of fabrication and polished products in Europe, in the sector we operate in.”
Ellesco improves productivity and quality for made-to-order bedmaker
The Timesavers 22 Series dry finishing and deburring machine installed at The Wrought Iron and Brass Bed Company has drastically reduced processing times on bed frame production (bespoke bed shown and has opened up opportunities for other types of work
Manufacturing a range of standard and bespoke beds is a labour-intensive process that includes welding, fabrication, assembly, painting and coating. All of this is undertaken in-house at the Wrought Iron and Brass Bed company, whose manufacturing facility is located in Wolferton on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. However, increased demand put pressure on production and the need to automate certain processes became inevitable. Technical director, Jack Thompson turned to Ellesco for a solution.
The Wrought Iron and Brass Bed company is a family-owned business that has been trading since 2003, in that time it has developed a range of standard bed frames that can be supplied ‘as is’ or customised to suit individual requirements, who are not only human as a range of dog beds are also available. Success in selling to individuals and leading high street retailers saw business boom and Jack, who was previously a development engineer with a major pharmaceutical packaging company joined his parents and brother in the business to oversee manufacturing of standard and bespoke products. These projects include one to supply 12 super king-sized beds for a private residence in London as well as a one-off canopy bed for a famous playwright. With these successes and as part of a long-term development plan, manufacturing was concentrated under one roof three years ago and the focus turned to streamlining production.
All Wrought Iron and Brass Bed Company’s products are made to order, so production is a mix of parts with relatively low volumes, with control of the process from order to delivery of the finished product undertaken in-house. Part of that process includes deburring of individual component parts for each bed and, where required creating a brush finish prior to coating for specific parts. This was a process that was undertaken manually and would take a full week to fully prepare a complete set of components by hand. The installation of a Timesavers 22 series dry finishing and deburring machine by Ellesco has reduced the time required to a single day.
“The Timesavers machine has given us major time savings on what was an extremely labour-intensive process. We have freed up people to work on other things,” says Jack Thompson. “As we develop the business, the Timesavers machine will also be a great asset in deburring flat sheet products.”
The Timesavers 22 Series is a versatile machine that can be supplied in three widths: 900 mm, 1,050 mm and 1,280 mm and can be equipped with a wide abrasive belt for removing heavy burrs or a ScotchBrite belt for a brushed finish, as is the case at The Wrought Iron and Brass Bed Company. As well as a belt, it can be equipped with a rotary brush head for deburring punched parts, removing the secondary burrs and edge rounding. Depending on the finish required it is a quick process to change over the abrasive belts on the Timesavers 22 Series and one that The Wrought Iron and Brass Bed company makes full use of, utilising belts with grit sizes ranging from 80 to 400, depending on what material or style of finish is being processed. Another feature of this particular installation is that Timesavers reversed the machine to make it effectively left-handed. This was required as the plan is to integrate the 22 Series machine into a flow line that will eventually include a waterjet machine.
While bed manufacture remains central to the company’s development, the increased efficiency and capacity created by the addition of the Timesavers machine is allowing expansion into other areas, with gazebos and garden sculptures now available.
“The plan is to have a standard range of these products, made from section material or flat sheet, but we have the flexibility and capability to design and manufacture to offer a bespoke service. The Timesavers machine will be a big advantage here as we can process flat sheet quickly, creating a brushed finish and round off corners on all edges. This corner rounding is vital both in terms of health and safety for customers, but also a precise corner is essential in the coating process to ensure good adherence to the material,” says Jack Thompson.