In the past two years Universal Converting Equipment has doubled its turnover and to support this turnover growth invested in additional manufacturing space, designers and assembly staff (Phase 1). However, the company found that the business was being held back by the lack of capacity of its sub-contractors to meet their increased demands. In the past 12 months Universal undertook an ambitious plan to install its own machine shop so it could be self-sufficient in machined mechanical parts.
This Phase 2 investment plan is now complete following the installation of £1m in CNC controlled machine tools. The investment has included a CNC mill for the manufacture of machine side-frames, a CNC lathe for production of rollers, PC controlled roller balancing equipment and a range of CNC machining centres for the manufacture of other parts. Special foundations were built for some of the equipment. For example, the large mill sits on a solid reinforced concrete base over 1000mm deep. Levelling the machine bed to the tolerances required took a specialist team over a week to achieve.
“We have been using 3D CAD systems to design our machines for the past 10 years,” comments managing director Alan Jones. “We have now invested in CAM software systems so that the part drawings can be converted into files that can be downloaded directly into the CNC machine tools. This prevents errors caused with manually controlled machines and eliminates data entry mistakes. The CAM system ensures we have consistently high quality components with the minimum of downtime when new designs are entered. Since installing this equipment we have changed the design of some components so that the machining time can be reduced resulting in cost savings that can be passed onto our customers. We have used our own resources to fund this investment without the need for borrowings, increasing the financial strength and stability of the company. We are now commencing Phase 3 to increase our global sales and support infrastructure.”
Universal Converting Equipment manufactures slitter rewinders, rewinding machines, hot melt coating equipment, core cutters and other ancillary systems used in the global converting industry. The Universal X6 slitter rewinder is a machine with a compact footprint that has proved particularly successful as a high performance yet cost effective slitting machine for slitting flexible materials. It incorporates automatic knife setting, core alignment, closed loop tension control, additional tension zone through slitting and constant geometry contact rollers to allow high speed operation, minimising changeover time with consistent high quality output.