Before Paramount Steel Fence took delivery of a BLM ADIGE TS72 CNC production saw in November 2008, the company's Burslem, Stoke on Trent site was regularly running a night shift to keep pace with the demand for its wide range of decorative and secure fencing systems. "With our previous way of working we were very tight for capacity," says Bob Dewberry, Managing Director. "It's a more relaxed situation now as we have a more flexible production capability and can process several jobs on the new saw at the same time."
Since 1984 Paramount has expanded its product portfolio to include every type of steel security fencing, including those specified by high profile organisations such as British Gas, British Rail, Scottish Power, water treatment plants, nuclear power stations and defence establishments. Paramount also provides various designs of steel fencing for factories, commercial premises, local authorities, and airports and motorways. In addition, the Staffordshire- based company manufactures steel cantilever sliding gates and conventional swing gates to match its steel fencing styles, while its electronics/automation division designs and installs access control, audio control and CCTV/surveillance systems as part of turnkey projects providing a total security solution. Growth in demand, particularly for security fencing, has resulted in Paramount emerging as one of the UK's largest steel fencing manufacturers, with around 120 people employed in its Stoke on Trent factory and two other sites in nearby Rugeley. The company's Palisade fencing is the most popular style for security applications, with its installation around Paramount's own sites described by Bob Dewberry as both "a shop window for the company's products and a necessary deterrent to crime and vandalism". An alternative security style that is becoming more popular with customers is the Diplomat welded mesh fencing introduced for applications where a change from conventional designs is called for without compromising security features such as resistance to climbing. "Predominantly we supply our steel fencing to accredited contractors, who ensure that our products are installed correctly and complement the perimeter of any premises," says Bob Dewberry. "Hot dip galvanising and architectural standard polyester powder coating contribute to long-term durability, with 20 to 25 years to first maintenance the norm rather than the exception.
"The steel fencing business is a very competitive one and we can't afford to stand still in terms of the equipment we use," he adds, "We have always adopted a progressive attitude to investment in production equipment and information technology designed to provide customers with an efficient service and quality products at a competitive price. The new saw was bought for its speed of operation and contribution to the lowest possible unit cost, and we are very happy with the outcome". Jon Norton, Production Manager, confirms that the ADIGE TS72 is easy to program and quiet in operation, with the added advantage of avoiding scratching or marking of material by lifting it away from the vice bed and vice jaws during the automated feed operation. The new machine can process material up to 102 mm OD and, depending on the machine specification, up to 4.5 metres in length. It can be programmed to process up to four different cut lengths from the same stock length and to unload these cut lengths in four different locations. The TS72 is designed to operate either as a standalone unit - as at Paramount - or fully integrated into a complete automated system with additional deburring, washing, drying and collecting operations. The machine's programming software selects optimum working parameters from a comprehensive database. This covers blade speeds and feeds for different materials, saw blade selection - Paramount uses HSS blades - and material feed rate. With virtually all the machine's settings being managed by the CNC, changeovers are very quick and very simple. Typically, a full changeover takes less than two minutes, but this can be reduced to literally seconds if the next job has already been pre-programmed. So, without reliance on operator expertise, the TS72 sets itself to the correct machine settings and operating parameters to guarantee that maximum output is consistently achieved.