“Our tube processing makes us special”
Lerch AG is the first company in Switzerland to work with the new TruLaser Tube 7000. In an interview, Managing Director Michael Lerch explains why he chose this high-end tube cutting machine and what advantages his trailblazing choice brings his business when it comes to working tubes.
When and why did you start processing tubes, Mr. Lerch?
We started in 2008 with a pre-owended TUBEMATIC from TRUMPF. Working tubes appeared to offer a lot of potential, among other reasons because our orders are often a combination of 2D parts and tubes, and the demand for single-source solutions has increased considerably in recent years. The purchase of a used machine represented an affordable investment and took the pressure off us of having to work profitably right out of the gate.
From a pre-owened machine made in 2001 to the latest high-end machine TruLaser Tube 7000 – that’s a huge step. What prompted you to make this investment?
We’re simply certain that tube processing has great potential. We could already see this clearly in the utilization of our old machine. With the TruLaser Tube 7000, we’re the first company in Switzerland to have at its disposal a TRUMPF laser tube cutting machine with bevel cutting function. This enabled us to expand and successfully differentiate our spectrum of offerings, which in turn cemented our reputation as an innovative tube processing specialist and opened entirely new markets for us.
The TruLaser Tube 7000 enabled us to expand and successfully differentiate our spectrum of offerings.
So in other words, this enabled you to expand your service spectrum?
Yes, because the machine provides us with a number of new application possibilities. That starts with the dimensions of the tubes we can handle. We were previously limited to a diameter of 150 millimeters and a length of three meters; now we cut tubes and profiles with diameters up to 200 millimeters and a length of six meters, with wall thicknesses of up to eight millimeters. Additionally, the diagonal cutting function enables us to make cuts of up to 45 degrees. So we can produce miter cuts, bevels, semi-mountings and plug-in connections precisely – entirely without subsequent processing, thanks to the high cut-edge quality and precision of the TruLaser Tube 7000. This machine is also excellent for working open profiles and angles. Thus, we can offer our customers entirely new, top quality solutions. And that makes us special.
So are your customers involving you in the parts design phase?
We discovered early on that the tube working sector is extremely consultation-intensive. Unlike 2D laser cutting, the technology and the possibilities it offers are still new to a lot of our customers. So they often bring us in on their planning at a very early stage, and we frequently support a part from prototype construction to series production. That pays off for our customers, because when the design is well thought-out, they can save both working steps and material when working tubes. We have the necessary knowhow, supported by 3D CAD software, and with the TruLaser 7000 Tube we’re able to fabricate even complex components rapidly, reproducibly and with high process reliability.
When the design is well thought-out, you can save both working steps and material when working tubes.
Speed, process reliability, flexibility: those were your requirements when buying the machine. Were your expectations met?
Absolutely! With 3600 watts of laser power, we can now achieve excellent cutting quality even in marginal areas. And fully automatic machine setup has cut non-productive times significantly. By being so easy to program, the machine enables us to fabricate parts out of steel, chrome steel and aluminum in a variety of tube sizes and different geometries flexibly and precisely. The excellent quality of the parts has a major positive impact on customer satisfaction, which enhances customer loyalty. And that’s certainly our most important objective.
Contact us: MastersofSheetMetal@trumpf.com
This article war first published in autumn 2014.