Getting a gripple on laser 

The purchase of a Nukon 2D fibre laser machine from Nukon Laser UK has brought vertical integration, product development and sustainable manufacturing benefits to Gripple, a manufacturer of wire joining, tensioning and suspension systems. The installation of a Nukon 2D flat sheet metal fibre laser machine at its recently opened Norfolk Bridge manufacturing site in Sheffield has reaped considerable benefits for Gripple.

With increasing global sales for its Fast Trak® bracket systems for mechanical and electrical service suspension, a desire to equip its Ideas & Innovation team with greater opportunities for new product development, and a drive to reduce its carbon footprint through greater vertical integration, Gripple took delivery of a new Nukon 2D fibre laser machine in 2022. 

Supplied by Nukon Laser UK, the sister company of Unison Ltd, the Nukon Eco 315 4kW fibre laser offers power and performance. It is equipped with solid-state American-made nLIGHT fibre lasers as standard. After considering several fibre laser machine manufacturers, Gripple shortlisted Nukon and another leading brand. With product quality and capability provided by Nukon machines, it was the commitment of Nukon Laser UK’s Sales Director, Steve Haddrell, to fully understand Gripple’s laser-cutting requirements, that secured the sale.

At Gripple’s Norfolk Bridge site, production surrounds the manufacture of the company’s Fast Trak® bracket systems, as well as solutions for the rail industry and utility solar applications. For this type of work, Gripple typically uses CNC-controlled punch machines. However, with an ‘Ideas & Innovation’ team continually looking to provide new solutions to the challenges faced by customers, and a company-wide drive to bring even more production in-house through a vertically integrated supply chain, it wasn’t long before the new Nukon fibre laser began making its mark.

“Following installation, our Nukon fibre laser machine quickly gained a key role in the cost-effective manufacture of our OSHPD OPA-2123-10 seismic bracing and blast protection systems – brackets developed for some of the most demanding environments in the world,” comments Claire Tunnard, production manager at Gripple’s 21,000sq/ft site. 

“The machine is also being used to produce components for our lightweight, easily transported solar cable hangers. The ease of programming, speed, accuracy and flexibility are also providing our Ideas & Innovation team with exciting opportunities for new product development. The Nukon fibre laser is being used to produce components for the manufacture of machine tools that will be based at other Gripple sites.”

Significant savings from cutting with air

From the outset, Gripple’s manufacturing team was impressed with the Nukon laser’s build quality, performance and precise cut. “Nukon Laser UK has shared a wealth of advice and technical knowledge with us, including specific production processes and the most cost-effective gas to use depending on the material being cut. For example, our solar cable hangers are cut exclusively using compressed air – an essentially free medium,” says Claire Tunnard. By cutting with compressed air, rather than costly nitrogen, which looks set to remain at historically high prices, Gripple is also benefiting from significant savings that help it remain competitive. 

Nukon Laser UK’s Steve Haddrell adds: “For us, it is all about supporting the customer, whether it’s advising on the best fibre laser machine, achieving a particular finish, or using a particular gas – and all with the highest levels of aftersales service as standard. We work closely with Gripple and will continue to do so.”

The Nukon Eco 315 4kW 2D fibre laser machine purchased by Gripple was specially developed for organisations wishing to add value to in-house manufactured products and for subcontractors either starting in 2D laser cutting or with demanding flat sheet metal cutting requirements. Nukon Eco machines offer high-spec features including advanced Lantek Expert CAD/CAM nesting software and American-made nLIGHT fibre lasers, with CutLine Adaptive Beam Shaping.

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