When faced with a broken-down CNC machine, the options very quickly narrow down. You can’t afford to halt your production line, so do you take a gamble with your quality and outsource your work, or do you revert to manufacturing by hand while you wait for a spare part to arrive?

Either way, it’s going to cost you – but, for established fabricator, Seamless Solid Surfaces, the first port of call was reconditioned machinery specialist, Ferwood UK – and within four days of the breakdown, a Ferwood Functional CNC was sourced, financed and installed …

“We’d just found out that our old CNC machine had an electrical fault and the spare part was going to take up to three weeks to arrive,” begins Gary Wade, MD of Seamless Solid Surfaces. “We couldn’t afford to be without a CNC for three weeks. It would have cost us up to £2000 for every week the machine was out of action.”

The Wakefield-based business needed to find a solution, and quickly. “The engineer that came out to try and repair the CNC suggested that Ferwood might be able to find me a replacement machine quickly. They talked me through a suitable machine on the Tuesday, I saw the CNC in action on the Wednesday, and it was delivered and fully installed on the Friday. All I had to do was make room for the machine in the workshop and supply some wires. It was unbelievable. I’d never experienced anything like it.”

The CNC needed to work effectively on acrylic and solid surfaces such as Corian, Staron, TriStone and Hi-Macs and work seamlessly with an existing template laser. It would also need to work quickly and effectively on commercial batch orders and a growing number of domestic worktops each week. The four-axis, 12-tool SCM Record 100 AL ticked all the boxes, and after being function-tested by a Ferwood specialist, it was ready to be installed. 

Once installed, an engineer spent three days training the team on the machine’s features. “Training was a must for us,” explains Gary. “I needed my team to hit the ground running and there was a lot of kit on this machine that we hadn’t used before. 

“We predominantly use a 12mm cutter on our most popular materials, but the level of training we received gave us a greater insight into the machine’s capabilities, the jobs we could complete and the speed it performed at. A job that would have taken us 30 minutes can now take us just five minutes.”

It has also allowed the fabricators to approach jobs differently. Gary explains: “We’re now cutting plywood kitchens that, in the past, we would have cut on a saw. The CNC lets us pre-drill holes for dominos and shelf pegs, massively speeding up the process and limiting the chance of mistakes being made. We’ve also recently made a curved jig on the CNC which will be used as a mould. Previously, we would have had to do this by hand, which would have caused a lot of material to be wasted.”

On top of that, it has made the company’s production more efficient. “We can now supply our fabricators with everything in kit form,” says Gary. “They no longer have to look at a drawing and mark everything out. It reduces errors and makes each job quicker. I can now get an extra half job a week out of each member of the team – that’s a huge return for the company, and has made the new CNC a worthy purchase.”

In fact, it has made such an impact on the business that Gary is now looking at buying another CNC machine. “This CNC was a big investment for us, but we are now reaping the rewards,” he states.

“A second CNC could well be on the cards soon. I will certainly be contacting Ferwood when I’m in a position to buy another."

“I thought Ferwood were brilliant, and they reacted so quickly. The whole process has been crazy. I would never have thought it possible to see a machine demonstration, organise finance, arrange transport and install a machine in the same week. 

“Knowing that they can also offer fully refurbished machines is also a huge plus point and, with an experienced team behind them, I wouldn’t think twice about using them again. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the whole experience.”

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