01 December 2013
THERE has been a noticeable increase in trade since we made a six-figure investment in new technology.
Our high-tech plasma cutting machine has been up and running for two months and owner Diane Kimberley says business has been stronger as a result.
She said: "The new technology has given us a massive boost because it means we can complete orders quicker and more precisely than ever before.
"The equipment has only been running for a short time and we've already won quite a bit of business that we wouldn't have if we had continued with only our flame cutting machines.
"Speed, precision and quality are the big watchwords in this industry these days and bringing in plasma technology means we are in a better position to meet all of our customers' requirements."
The Plasma Viper machine was brought in from Esprit Automation, in Nottingham, whose experts spent three weeks installing the equipment.
Ms Kimberley added: "It's an impressive piece of kit, but it wasn't just a case of plugging it in and away we go.
"Esprit sent over specialised technicians to carry out what was a big and complicated installation.
"They first had to make sure the machine was perfectly level by putting it on special rails and pipes for the gasses it uses had to be properly connected.
"It was quite a long process, but we're up and running now and we're looking forward to benefits the new equipment can bring to the business."
The plasma machine can cut blanks ranging from 2mm to 50mm thick much quicker than its traditional flame-based cousin. It also has ‘Truehole' technology, providing the ability to create bolt-ready holes.
Inert gas is blown from a nozzle to form an electrical arc hot enough to melt the metal and fast enough to blow molten residue away from the cut.
Fibre-optic digital CNC means the machine will immediately provide greater precision in the most demanding of applications and its flexibility gives Arford the option of moving into new markets in the future.
The machine is set to prompt a further addition to the company's 13-strong workforce and existing employees, used to working on flame cutting machines and CAD/CAM equipment, have now been trained to use plasma too.
It leaves Ms Kimberley, who has been in the steel industry all of her working life, excited about the future prospects of a business she took over in 2006.
She said: "We've been experiencing consistent demand for a while now and my decision to make such a big investment now was in response to that.
"It's great to see the new machine up and running and already having a positive effect on the company. People seem to want precise products yesterday and now we can meet those demands.
"Flame cutting machines, for example, would perhaps take an hour to craft steel to the dimensions of a table-top whereas plasma cutting would take seven minutes.
"We're keeping our flame cutting machines on site because plasma can't deal with material thicker than 50mm. But we can now provide an all-round service to customers and it seems to be paying off."
VAT Registration Number: GB 876 2126 13
Registered in Cardiff, Number 5667995