Oldham-based Constant Group provides full design to manufacture service that encompasses its own products, including LED lighting systems for industrial and commercial applications, architectural products such as kick plates and ventilation systems, as well as providing a sub-contract fabrication service, with customers across many industry sectors, including pharmaceutical, food processing, enclosures and packaging. The family business started as Constant Aluminium Supplies, evolving over the past 50 years into what it is today; a full service supplier of fabricated parts and assemblies operating from 50,000 ft2 premises with the latest manufacturing technology.

With batch sizes ranging from 10-off through to 1000s off the management team at Constant Group took the decision in 2019 to make a significant investment of £1 million in fiber laser and press brakes and, while these machines may have been the main focus, the arrival of a Timesavers 12 series 600 mm W deburring and finishing machine from Ellesco, now GE Machinery, has also made a significant impact on the efficiency when grinding stainless steel materials. “The Timesavers machine was purchased specifically to process stainless steel, which we targeted as an area of operation that we could make the greatest efficiency,” says Matthew Garlick, Joint Managing Director, Constant Group. “Prior to the arrival of the 12 series machine we were hand grinding all of these parts, which could take 20 minutes each, we now achieve that in seconds, with consistent quality.”

The Timesavers 12 series is amongst the smallest machines in the range and can be specified with working widths of 225 mm or 600 mm, the latter being specified by Constant Group, which also specified the basic configuration with an abrasive belt for grinding and removing vertical burrs. The machine can be equipped with a cylinder brush or rotating disc to remove side burrs and for edge preparation. Sheet between 1 and 75 mm thickness can be processed with simple control allowing work to flow under the belt at between 3 and 9 m/min to achieve the exact finish required. The simplicity of the Timesavers 12 series is also playing another important role for Constant Group in that its ease of use allows anyone to set and operate it, freeing up skilled employees to work on higher value operations.

“Since the arrival of the timesavers machine it has been running eight hours a day minimum with no issues whatsoever and the ability to have anyone running it is a big advantage, especially during the covid-19 pandemic, where if we had staff absent we knew we could continue to process work thanks to the simplicity of the timesavers machine. Beyond this we are also seeing significant savings in consumables compared to manual grinding where the lack of consistency between operators meant increased spend on abrasive discs, we are now in total control of that aspect of the business.”

The choice of Timesavers by the Constant Group was driven by the reputation for ease of use and build quality as well as the interaction it had with Ellesco, the UK and Ireland distributor of Timesavers range. “The conversations we had gave us the reassurance we needed to make the investment,” says Matthew Garlick. “And, while we only specified the entry-level machine, the experience we have had has certainly given us the confidence to go for a higher specification as we identify further areas of growth for the business.”