Budget Sheet Metal Engineering is a family-run business that specialises in the manufacture of sheet metal parts and finished products.
“Growth in any type of market or industry does not come easily. You have to be innovative, be prepared to spend money on capital equipment to increase and improve your manufacturing capabilities, but more importantly, engage with your client. You have to offer and show them confidence in your service and resolve any issues immediately. There is no such thing as sweeping problems under the carpet and hoping they will go away or having a different agenda or operating in an underhand manner,” says Sietse Walma van der Molen, Production Director at Budget Sheet Metal Engineering.
“We are a business to business sheet metal fabrication company that has an emphasis on process rather than creating products, although today we have the skills, engineering software and equipment to take your concept to finality while protecting your intellectual property,” continued Sietse.
Installed earlier this year at Budget Sheet Metal was a new Amada HG 1303, a 130-ton, downacting hybrid drive press brake equipped with AMNC 3i intelligent, interactive, and integrated controls and a bend indicator sensor (Bi-S)
“We use our client’s specifications to brainstorm, model and develop solutions to meet the client’s individual needs. Using the latest 3D Modeling software such as SolidWorks communicating directly with our advanced sheet metal fabrication equipment, we ensure the highest quality standard at an effective cost.”
10 year milestone
“Although the company has been in existence since 1991 our – the current directors – journey with Budget Sheet Metal Engineering began in 2007 when we purchased the company. My brother-in-law Claudio Ferrari, who is a mechanical engineer, his wife Sigrid, who is an analyst, my wife Ketti, who is Claudio’s sister and an economist and myself, an industrial engineer, purchased the business when we needed a change from the previous business we owned, which was in the food manufacturing industry,” explained Sietse.
“The 10 years have not been easy with some unforeseen obstacles thrown at us. At the time when we took control of the business it was on a comfortable footing but, for various reasons, struggling to achieve any growth.”
“When we took over we knew there was potential that just needed to be unlocked. Controls, systems and computerisation were implemented to encompass all facets of the business and we began to change the inherited perception that our main focus was manufacturing rainwater components such as gutters and down pipes,” reflected Claudio Ferrari.
Budget Sheet Metal are innovative in designing products for clients. This example shows how the company has designed and manufactured a mobile trolley to store press brake tooling
“We also took a fundamental decision to have an emphasis on process rather than creating our own products. There are virtually no Budget Sheet Metal products. The company’s strategy is to work with our clients to manufacture sheet metal fabrications to their own specifications and individual needs. I believe that we have achieved these objectives and are now building on a reputation whereby we are recognised for taking a product design idea, improving it and processing the product or component using the multiple, complex operations and skill sets that are now at our disposal.”
“However, there is always room for improvement and Sietse’s trip to Japan to visit the Amada manufacturing facilities earlier this year (2017) showed that in many aspects we are way behind but if we implement what we learn from countries such as Japan we could all prosper.”
Sietse describes what he saw and learnt: “Japan is a very advanced country, especially on the manufacturing side, which was the purpose of our visit. I had previously visited the country and was amazed then, but the country has subsequently not stood still and has continued to innovate and evolve. It is all about their culture, work ethic and “monozukuri”, which means, ‘making things,’ in the sense of devotion to manufacturing. Specifically Japanese manufacturing.”
“New manufacturing techniques are not only highlighted in the manufacturing process but also in the equipment. It really struck home on this visit that the path to reducing the machine footprint, while increasing capacity and reducing material consumption, has developed more than I thought.”
An enclosure made for a client
“Equally the use of automation, machine monitoring and data-driven manufacturing was apparent at all levels. To keep Japanese manufacturing moving forward they are constantly innovating and evolving. We have to pay attention and learn from them.”
“We have always had this type of thinking in the company but to remain a successful service provider and to stay ahead of the competition you have to continue to invest in the latest advanced technology and always be tuned into ways to make your services increasingly more unique, which usually involves more advanced technological investment and a continual rethinking of how to process components.”
“We are constantly looking at ways of taking out or improving steps in the manufacturing process. With our emphasis on process rather than creating our own products we like to say that we meet and exceed client expectations, which we do by emphasising quality through the elimination of human involvement and variability by the use of advanced technology. If you don’t keep an eye on the future – if you take a break from the competitive battle – the future will blow by you with a vengeance.”
“We are always pursuing new clients in diverse markets and chasing manufacturing challenges. This has created a cycle of learning and by doing that it has allowed us to pursue still more challenges,” said Sietse.
Budget Sheet Metal have recently invested in a 100 ton eccentric press
“With this in mind in 2016 we invested in a second Yaskawa Motoman HP20D-6 DX100 robot that included a manipulator and SKS power joint robotic welding equipment for tack and welding operations. We purchased this Yaskawa Motoman robotic welder for a specific contract, which involved manufacturing 1 000 insulated stainless steel trolleys. As with the first robotic welder we designed our own table and jigs for this setup. Our research showed that by investing in the robotic welder we could reduce welding time done manually from five hours down to 12 minutes per trolley.”
“However, besides wanting to learn more about the latest technology that Amada has to offer and is used for cost savings and quality, we had a wish list to upgrade in our press brake department. Installed earlier this year was a new Amada HG 1303, a 130-ton, downacting hybrid drive press brake equipped with AMNC 3i intelligent, interactive, and integrated controls and a bend indicator sensor (Bi-S). Mission accomplished.”
“We have also invested in the VPSS 3i software, Amada’s newest generation of a fully automated and highly efficient programming system for sheet metal processing.”
“With the VPSS 3i Blank, Bend, Robot and Weld Solution Packs you have everything you need to prepare laser, bending, punching and punch-laser combination programmes externally. The requirements on design and production vary widely in sheet metal production. That is why it is all the more important to be equipped with all the essential tools that will allow you to optimise programming processes.”
Budget Sheet Metal have also recently invested in a second Yaskawa Motoman HP20D-6 DX100 robot that included a manipulator and SKS power joint robotic welding equipment for tack and welding operations. This Yaskawa Motoman robotic welder was purchased for a specific contract, which involved manufacturing 1 000 insulated stainless steel trolleys
“In between we have also been upgrading our tooling from HFE tools to rotational tooling and we also purchased a 100 ton eccentric press.”
More involvement with clients results in 46% growth
“Besides the results that have emanated from investing in equipment and our processes one of the primary reasons that we experienced a 60% growth in 2016 has been our ability to become more involved with the production and assembly of clients’ products. We are no longer a company that only offers cutting, bending, punching and welding of sheet metal. We have taken the process further.”
“For example, an enclosure that we manufacture for a client requires powder coating, monitors and other equipment to be installed and secure locks to be fitted. We now source all of the extra components and equipment, in consultation with the client, get the metal finishing done and then assemble. They are now able to come to us and get a complete service – from design to final assembly.”
For further details contact Budget Sheet Metal Engineering on TEL: 011 792 5981 or visit www.budgetsheetmetal.co.za