For a business that began life in a garage importing and selling pizza pans Alphin Pans has come a long way since its creation in 1989. For the first 20-years of its existence it was happy to simply buy and sell pizza pans and associated equipment, building solid foundations and counting the leading UK pizza supplier as a key customer. When stock and logistics issues arose with its suppliers in the Far East and encouraged by speaking to contacts in the metal spinning business, it took the decision to invest in manufacturing in the UK and in 2009 took delivery of its first metal spinning lathe.
“We had been happy to operate as an importer/wholesaler of products for 20 years, but when faced with supply problems we investigated manufacturing in the UK, and found, to our surprise that this could be done competitively,” says Alphin Pans Managing Director, Matthew Sykes. “Having made an initial investment in 2009, we took the decision to relocate and invest further in 2011, which brought pressing and flat-bed laser capability in-house. Initially this capability was for our own pizza pan production, but over time we recognised the potential to offer this to others as a sub-contract service.”
Quick response to customer requests
Success quickly followed and the business is now split 70/30 in favour of sub-contract metal spinning, pressing, profiling and forming, with customers from across a range of industries including industrial lighting, tier two nuclear, construction and more general sub-contract work. Its success has seen Alphin Pans also build an international customer base with its products exported far and wide, from Iceland down to the Middle East which has just resulted in it being awarded the 2020 Queens Award for Enterprise and International Trade. As a result further investment was made, including the arrival of a deburring and surface finishing capability in the form of two Timesavers machines from Ellesco. “We pride ourselves on being able to respond quickly to customer requests and this has been possible thanks to our willingness to invest. Our two Timesavers deburring machines are a case in point.”
Finishing edges with 42 RB Series
The Timesavers machines are a 42 series 1350 RB and a 22 series 900 W, the former being initially purchased to meet the requirements of one particular customer, who Alphin Pans managed production spikes on some 0.9 mm thick laser cut stainless steel parts. While the laser produced a perfect edge, for health and safety reasons that edge required some finishing. Exchanging ideas with the customer, who already used Timesavers, the decision was taken to purchase the 42-1350Rb machine with its rotating brushes that provided the exact edge preparation that was required. “The Timesavers 42 series machine is a fantastic piece of kit that we use purely for edge finishing and we have run hundreds of thousands of parts through it without any problems,” says Matthew Sykes.
Timesaving and ease of use
The second Timesavers machine was introduced to eliminate the need for hand graining of 5mm thick aluminium parts, with the machine being purchased after seeing just six sample parts being processed. The results after those six parts and the confidence that Alphin Pans had from the first Timesavers machine made the investment in the second machine an easy decision to make. “The impact the 22 series machine has had is significant as we have saved hundreds of hours since its introduction. With hand graining these parts would take at least five minutes, where with the Timesavers 22 series and its 900 mm wide abrasive belt these same parts are processed in seconds to a consistent standard. The ease of use of the machines is also a positive as they can be operated by anyone in the company with minimal training allowing skilled staff to be deployed on higher value work,” says Matthew Sykes. “From both machines the added value that we now present to the customer is a positive and they were also impressed by our pro-active approach to meeting their requirements. The result is that we have gained more work, with indications that volume work is also being on-shored back to us thanks to willingness to invest and react positively to challenges.”