Despite all one hears regarding UK manufacturing and particularly referring to the South, we can report that precision engineering has survived and is thriving in Surrey.
Whitelegg Machines, based in Crawley and Capel, have been supplying CNC wire bending and welding machines since 1950. The company has been progressively developing these with technologies such as integral butt welding and accurate 3D forming, innovations which have led to buoyant UK and export sales.
A recent project has been the supply of two CFM wire bending and forming machines to Tom Chamber of Goole a major manufacturer of formed wire garden products.
Family run, Tom Chambers Ltd has a long heritage in East Yorkshire from where it has manufactured decorative garden wire products such as obelisks, hanging baskets, planters and latterly lobster pots for UK shellfish fishers.
With continued expansion in mind, Tom Chambers realised there was a need to invest in advanced automated machinery and ordered two CFM 2D wire forming machines from Whitelegg.
Both CFM 2D machines take wire from coil and form it into a wide variety of shapes, the CFM 1050 (4mm-10mm wire) is used for the production of the lobster pots and the CFM 1250 (forming up 4mm- 12mm wire) is used for making Christmas tree stands and many other decorative iron work components for the garden market.
Fitted with the latest Allform software and Whitelegg's unique forming head, multiple shapes can be quickly programmed allowing production to have the ability to form many different shapes with the minimum set up times, with typical run speed of 2,500 components per hour.
A two plane roller-straightener and 3 feed wheels help straighten the wire which can be adjusted to eliminate wire twist. The wire is fed through guides to the bending head where it is formed and enclosed in two clamping dies during the cropping action, giving a parallel, burr free cut which allows for a smooth and strong butt weld, if required.
A no nonsense approach to product quality has enabled Tom Chambers to become the market leader in their field, this ethic was especially important in the search for new machinery and Whitelegg machines (the founders of 2D wire forming technology) have more than facilitated this drive for product excellence.