by Mary Scianna
Punch laser combination machine opens doors to new business
Elias Custom Metal Fabrication Ltd. in Vaughan, ON, has something all custom job shops should have to succeed: owners who consistently invest in technology to diversify and grow.
The strategy is working for brothers and owners Fadi and Sam Emeid, who formed the business in 1994. Last year, the company doubled in size moving from a 40,000 sq ft plant into a 80,000 sq ft one and investing approximately $1.5 million in a lights out sheet metal cutting centre from TRUMPF.
At the heart of the new technology is TRUMPF’s Trumatic 7000 large format punch laser combination machine.
“We have punching and laser machines but when we saw the demonstration of the punch laser combo machine at other facilities, we knew the technology would be good for our business,” explains Fadi Emeid. “The most important component for me was the automation that allows us to run the machine overnight and on the week-end. It’s enabled us to be more competitive, diversify, and to offer more reliable service to customers.”
Elias Custom Metal Fabrication has come a long way since it first opened its doors in a 4,500 sq ft facility. In addition to the lights out punch laser combo machine, the full service machine shop is equipped with two TRUMPF laser cutting machines, punching machines (a Strippit turret punching centre, a Pierce All punch machine and a Euromac notcher), press brakes from TRUMPF, Niagara and All Steel, and a shear from All Steel. It also offers welding, rolling, milling, machining, plating, painting, and assembly capabilities.
Before investing in the punch laser combo, Elias had been investigating a tube laser cutting machine, also with lights out capability.
“We had an order in place and then in 2009 the economy went south and we put the brakes on that purchase,” recalls Fadi Emeid.
“Then a year later we re-evaluated our investments and decided instead to go with the punch laser combo machine because of the diversity it could offer us by opening new doors to new customers and also allow us to do more innovative work.”
The automated punch laser system has been in place a year now and while there have been growing pains because of the transition of going to an automated environment [programming and managing more job orders on a faster processing system), Sam Emeid says the machine has helped Elias make significant productivity gains.
“Before certain parts required work on three different machines [shearing blanks, punching and laser cutting) and now we can make these same parts on one machine and that is a huge productivity gain.”
The flexibility of the automation is also a plus. The machine can run lights out with only punching, only laser or both, depending on the order.
The punch laser machine has opened doors to new markets and customers.
While the original tube laser machine the company was considering would have also run lights out and created more business opportunities, Fadi says he and his brother Sam are happy with the decision to go with the TRUMPF machine, attributing part of the decision to the long-term relationship Elias has had with the supplier. Elias purchased its first TRUMPF laser 12 years ago.
“We have built a good relationship with TRUMPF and we are loyal customers because they give us the support we need. We have five TRUMPF machines and we’re looking at another press brake for new orders.” SMT