Trans-Web says the installation of a new Blackman & White digital cutting system has expanded its ability to offer bespoke products - even completing work from competing companies who lack the technology for the job.
Founded in Oldham in 1987, Trans-Web is a leading UK manufacturer of lifting systems, lashings and height safety equipment. In 2014 the company moved to its existing premises, an 18,000 sq ft building with an acre of land, which presented an opportunity to grow its machinery portfolio and meet increasing customer demand. Following a period of research on the available digital cutting systems suited to this task, in November 2018 Trans-Web took delivery of an Orion flatbed cutting machine from Blackman & White.
The robust and reliable Orion is designed for high-volume production in a range of industries thanks to its unrivalled range of blade and pen tool options, including steel/tungsten carbide blades for different materials. Its vacuum-enabled bed holds material securely during the cutting process, while the modular construction optimises the cutting area.
Blackman & White manufactures every one of its cutting systems from start to finish in the UK - the only brand in the market to do so. Based in Maldon in Essex, Blackman & White has over 50 years' experience designing complete solutions for a wide range of applications, including tailor-made systems.
Lee Wrigley, Managing Director of Trans-Web, explains that this local connection was part of the decision-making process.
"We attended several trade shows to research cutting systems, but Blackman & White's history as a British company was a big plus for us," he says. "We're a UK manufacturer; it's part of everything we do. Buying from another brand wouldn't have suited our make-up as a business."
Lee adds that some of Trans-Web's existing machines are from manufacturers or suppliers based in the USA, meaning that spare parts must be sent from overseas - a process that results in inconvenient downtime. In the unlikely event that the Orion encounters any issues, meanwhile, Blackman & White's expert engineers can arrive in a matter of hours.
Blackman & White systems are also designed to be easy to use, even for operators new to the technology, and can be left to work unattended for hours at a time. At Trans-Web, the Orion is used to cut a variety of materials - foam, PVC, Cordura, canvas and leather - in various shapes, and for marking these pieces to indicate the position of straps. This has accelerated production and enabled millimetre-accuracy of work.
"The Blackman & White Orion has made a big difference to Trans-Web," says Lee Wrigley. "It's a very valuable asset.
"Through 2020 and beyond we'll be very busy, always looking for opportunities and producing more bespoke products. Even our competitors are sending bespoke work to us as we now have the cutting technology to complete it at a very high quality."