Bideford-based sheet metal fabrication specialist Smart Manufacturing Ltd is taking its manufacturing operations to the next level by investing more than £1 million in a number of cutting-edge machines and building an additional factory in which to run them 24-7.

The company says the new machines, which include a state-of-the-art  Amada VENTIS-3015AJ 4 kW fibre laser cutter and EMZ 3612MII punch press, both with automation, will help double its turnover to circa £8 million within five years. 

Higher Quality & Higher Quantity… 

Founded in 1986 by Martin Murch the father of current Production Director Shaun Mcquillan, the company began life serving the food-pharma sector, manufacturing parts from high-end stainless steel equipment.

“Since buying the AMADA machines we’re picking up a lot of thinner gauge work in much higher quantities,” says Shaun Mcquillan. “A year ago we would probably view an order for 500 as high quantity, but now we are seeing orders for over 5000. Of course, the only way we can handle these orders and maintain reasonable lead times is with automation” 

Continuous Growth… 

In combination, Smart Manufacturing’s automated VENTIS-3015AJ 4kW fibre laser cutter and automated EMZ 3612MII punch press allow the company to load almost 10 tons of material and run the machines lights-out overnight.  

“Our customers therefore get to enjoy both reduced costs and shorter lead times,” says Mr Mcquillan. “With the new AMADA machines we can increase our daily material tonnage throughput by five times. It’s almost scary to see how fast these machine run.” 

Employing 35 people, Smart Manufacturing is currently on a steep growth trajectory. Turnover is currently circa £4 million, but with its investment in AMADA machines the company is projecting to hit £6 million in two years and £8 million within five years. Among new clients taking up the services of Smart Manufacturing since the arrival of the AMADA machines in January 2024 are those operating in entirely new sectors, such as military, defence and AI technology.  

“We looked at all the main players for our new machines, but AMADA are superior in my opinion,” he states. “Moreover, AMADA always provides excellent customer service for our existing HFE-series press brakes.” 

Increased Productivity With Industry 4.0 Solutions… 

Smart Manufacturing has built another £500,000 factory next to its existing facility in which to house the new AMADA machines. Also now on site is a new nitrogen-generation system, saving around £35,000 a year in nitrogen deliveries and the CO2 emissions associated with transportation. 

Key to the successful ramp-up of manufacturing operations at Smart Manufacturing will be AMADA software. The company is now getting familiar with AMADA VPSS3i Blank CADCAM software and V-factory software – the Industry 4.0 of AMADA. V-factory actively monitors the performance and operation of machines by collecting data in real-time and facilitating access to that information anytime, anywhere.  

“We’re still new to V-factory but it will prove very useful for managing our production,” states Mr Mcquillan. “The software can monitor alarms during the night and identify any issues with our cutting schedules. It will ensure we are as productive as possible for as long as possible.”  

“We are team red” 

The philosophy at Smart Manufacturing is quite simple: the company combines teamwork and technology to exceed the quality and customer service expectations of clients. Smart Manufacturing not only produces everything from simple products to extremely complex bespoke machine builds, it also offers full design of conceptual ideas, through to final design of 1-off units and mass production of high-volume parts. Production excellence is at the heart of this offer. 

“AMADA machinery allows us to offer products and services that our competitors simply cannot produce, so much so that we regularly supply other sheet metal companies with metal parts for their clients,” he concludes. “I would never go anywhere other than AMADA: we are ‘team red’ now and I can’t see it changing.” 

Amada United Kingdom Ltd, Smart Manufacturing