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This pace of change in manufacturing technology is one of the reasons behind the decision by KMF (Precision Sheet Metal) Limited to host a series of Design Engineering Workshops for engineering designers from its existing and potential customer base.
With its customers falling into two distinct camps; those who require a build to print service and those who require a complete design to delivery service KMF has recognised a common bond, namely that both groups of customers are able to take advantage of KMF’s belief that knowledge sharing is mutually beneficial to all of its customers as well as its own internal manufacturing systems.
With this in mind, and taking advantage of its new £600,000 training centre, KMF is organising a series of Design Engineering Workshops, the first of which took place on Friday 26th March, supported by four of KMF’s key technology partners: Wilson Tool International Ltd; Trumpf Ltd; Salvagnini UK & Ireland Ltd; and Amada UK Ltd.
“Technology and investment is at the heart of KMF’s business philosophy, but the true potential of that technology can only be realised if customers know what’s possible and understand how we can utilise that technology to their advantage,” says Graham Leese, KMF’s Engineering Manager.
The first of these informal workshop events saw 31 delegates, from 19 KMF customers, interacting with these technology partners and drawing on the local expertise of KMF’s dedicated Design and Engineering teams. “KMF believe opportunities like The Design Engineering Workshop offer our valued customers a unique insight into our modern manufacturing site and systems. We understand that designers often sit in isolation from the technology that their supply chains utilise and sometimes do not get the opportunity to witness new techniques and processes first hand. Designers have huge ability to influence the ultimate cost of the finished article, however once the design is finished approximately 80% of the cost of manufacture is “locked in” leaving the remaining 20% capable of being affected by value analysis/value engineering activities. This rationale alone makes the early consultation of the manufacturer essential,” adds Graham Leese.
KMF is supported on the design days by machine tool and tooling suppliers, including Trumpf, Amada, Salvagnini and Wilson Tool, all of which gave 45 minute presentations into how best to utilise their products installed at KMF to achieve the lowest manufacturing costs. For example, Trumpf highlighted the difference between punching and laser cutting, and which is the most cost-effective machine to design components around. Trumpf punching technology allows slitting and forming to be incorporated into the cycle. That said, sheet metalworking without laser machines is no longer conceivable today and Trumpf explained the ability of laser cutting to process a vast range of materials from 0.3 mm to 20 mm thick.
Amada concentrated on the advantages of a more in-depth understanding of bend allowance due to different bottom tools and the relationship to internal radii these produce. “The link between this and the bend allowance used when developing flat components from a finished design drawing is key to the engineering process before manufacture,” says Matt Woods, Amada’s Assistant Manager.
KMF are the market leader in the supply of precision sheet metal solutions. We are committed to Quality, Investment and Innovation. For more information on precision sheet metal visit the KMF website