Currently undergoing an expansion programme and planning to move to bigger premises due to growing demand and a successful online offering, established sign making material supplier, Sign Trade Supplies, has invested in a new Striebig Control vertical panel saw to increase productivity and reduce waste and labour costs.
“We had been using an old flat bed panel saw to cut our sheet material but as demand grew, it was proving difficult to keep up,” begins Garrick Dartnell, Business Development Manager at Sign Trade Supplies. “It struggled to work on the vast range of materials we wanted to use and manual handling made work more challenging than it should have been. We needed a better solution and a more efficient replacement that could not only benefit the company now but also in years to come.”
The new saw needed to cut large panels up to 4000 x 2000mm and cope with a variety of sheeting materials including ACM, Foamex Foam, Acrylic, Polycarbonate, 11SWG aluminium, Plywood and MDF. It also needed to offer unparalleled accuracy, reduce handling and produce minimal waste when trimming material sheets.
The Kent-based company did their research and contacted several vertical panel saw distributors but it was TM Machinery and the Striebig brand that stood out from the crowd. “Where other distributors focused on their machines and features, TM Machinery took an interest in our business and what we needed the machine to achieve,” says Garrick. “They showed us the features that would benefit us and went the extra mile to show us why a Striebig vertical panel saw was right for our business. This approach made us buy into TM’s knowledge, experience and understanding of the industry. It felt like they were willing to help us find the right machine for the job and not just try and make a quick sale.”
The Striebig Control ticked every box for Sign Trade Supplies and its superior build quality was a key selling point for the sign producer. “We cut a lot of sharp sheets so we needed a machine that could easily withstand these robust materials. Several of the saw brands we looked at only offered melamine-backed models and standard rollers that would quickly wear when cutting high volumes of harder materials. The Striebig, however, offered a self-supporting welded saw frame and aluminium rollers that would stand the test of time.”
As well as an automated cutting cycle with digital input for outstanding trim and cut accuracy, the vertical Control panel saw could accommodate 4000 x 2000mm sheeting up to 19mm thick with ease and, with the addition of a triple chip negative saw blade, it could accommodate a wide range of materials and thicknesses whilst maintaining its renowned precision and cutting quality.
“Having the ability to cut several sheets at one time has made the biggest difference to us,” admits Garrick. “The speed and accuracy of the machine is phenomenal and sheets are being cut at record speed. It’s safe to say that we’ve increased our productivity by more than 75%. We were previously limited to cutting two sheets at a time on our old flat bed saw but we can easily cut six sheets of softer material at once with the Striebig. This has allowed us to slash our lead times, offer a rapid response to those customers that need a super-fast turnaround and take on larger jobs we couldn’t have fulfilled before. In fact, it was only last week that we had an order that required 1,000 sheets to be cut-to-size in a few days. This would have been impossible to achieve without the Striebig.”
The Control’s top trimming feature has also proved to be invaluable to the supply company. “When we create shop signs, we often need more than one sheet length. The size of the two sheets has to be completely square, which in the past, required the painstaking accuracy of an experienced operator. With the new Striebig Control, we can programme the saw to cut the smallest amount off a sheet automatically and it does this quickly and effectively. This unwavering accuracy has resulted in our customer’s refusal rate being at an all time low and, with minimal handling required from our operators, there has also been a significant reduction in damages when loading and unloading the sheets.”
The installation team delivered, unloaded and installed the vertical saw in just two days and comprehensive training was provided. “It wasn’t a quick overview of the machine and its key features. The engineer went above and beyond to help us create a ‘best practice’ when operating the machine. Because of the length and breadth of materials and sheet thicknesses we use, he tested a range of materials for us and recommended cutting speeds that would guarantee the saws best performance. We really valued his experience and it helped us hit the ground running.”
This level of service from TM Machinery has continued since the saw was installed. Garrick explains, “We wanted to know if we should be using a different blade to cut solid aluminium. It’s a new material for us – one we couldn’t use on our old saw - and we were confident TM Machinery’s experts would know the answer. As expected, they were really helpful and were brilliant at helping us find a solution. As it goes, we didn’t need to purchase a new blade. Instead, we just needed to cut the material at a slower rate.”
Garrick adds, “The introduction of the new Striebig Control is an investment in our future. As well as moving to bigger premises in the near future and expanding our services, we are continuously looking to improve our supply chain and work with a wider range of materials that have the potential to benefit our customers and reduce costs. Thanks to our new Striebig vertical panel saw, Sign Trade Supplies can now excel in producing perfect cuts every time. Jobs can also be priced more economically due to a reduction in our labour costs and customer satisfaction is high. We value TM Machinery’s continued support and we couldn’t recommend their team or Striebig more highly.”