The Dutch firm Metazet FormFlex, global total partner in horticulture, replaced its existing BLM GROUP laser cutting machines after 17 years with the GROUP’s latest technology tube and sheet machinesp.
“No manufacturer can match the technology, control and speed of BLM GROUP’s tube laser cutting machines. Together with the flatbed laser we have one point of contact for tube and sheet laser processing.”
Ben van der Maarel
Technical director at Metazet FormFlex.
Metazet FormFlex develops and produces innovative products and systems for cultivation and internal logistics for the global horticulture industry and has developed into a forerunner in the field of greenhouse horticulture.
In addition to the production facility in Wateringen, where approximately 65 employees work in day shifts, the company also has branches in China, Poland and Canada.
“By deliberately bringing our know-how to the Chinese countryside, we are creating a new sales market there. Together with other Westland partners, we did this earlier in Russia” says Ben van der Maarel.
Metazet FormFlex develops and produces innovative products and systems for cultivation and internal logistics for the global horticulture industry.
Transition to tube laser cutting technology in 2004
The investment in the first BLM GROUP tube laser in mid-2004 is representative of the company's pioneering spirit.
“Whereas before we used to prepare all the tube material for assembly with drills and saws, from now on we could do that in one process on the Lasertube. That gave an enormous efficiency boost. It did mean that we had to redesign everything to make it suitable for the tube laser. But this also resulted in new design and assembly possibilities and a higher accuracy in assembly.
Design thus contributed to better marketability and image, without incurring additional costs for us. This transition has therefore brought us more than just higher production efficiency,” continues van der Maarel.
Replacement of old LT722D by LTFIBER EVO
For 17 years Metazet FormFlex has been cutting tubes with the LT722D tube laser from BLM GROUP. “With a CO2 laser source and old controls, the machine was technically outdated, but still good enough for the 2nd hand market. With the LT FIBER EVO, we have the latest fiber laser technology, the latest generation of controls, Active Tools features, the Tubecutter laser cutting head and a warehouse at the back with 40 ton loading capacity. This allows us to process small and medium thick tubes up to 15 kg/m material weight,” explains the technical director.
“Whereas before we used to prepare all the tube material for assembly with drills and saws, from now on we could do that in one process on the Lasertube.”
24/7 Sheet Laser Cutting
For all the cutting work in sheets, the company also had a BLM GROUP Adilas sheet laser cutting machine from 2004. “At the time, we had that equipped with an automated warehouse with 50 pallet locations, which gave us 24/7 cutting capacity,” continues van der Maarel. “Shortly after the installation of the new tube laser, we also replaced this machine with the latest sheet laser cutting machine, the LS5 from BLM GROUP. It is also an excellent machine. An important advantage was that it could be directly linked to the existing warehouse and we have one point of contact for both lasers.”
“For all the cutting work in sheets, Metazet FormFlex has the sheet laser cutting system LS5, equipped with an automated warehouse.”
All operations in-house
For Metazet FormFlex, a high degree of flexibility in production is important. For this reason, the company also wants to outsource as little as possible.
“On the other hand, you do need to have sufficient machines yourself for all the machining operations. Over the past forty years we have gradually built up a large machine park, tailored to specific product groups. The workflow for our gutter systems, for example, which we developed 20 years ago, is so efficiently organized that outsourcing would be more expensive and less flexible for us.”
Regardless of the constraints that COVID-19 brought with it, the company is experiencing healthy annual growth. With food demand growing worldwide, Metazet FormFlex continues to develop into a total partner for horticulture.
“In addition to greenhouse equipment, we also develop and build logistics solutions, such as electrically driven internal transport systems. With this we make a significant contribution to the improvement of working conditions. It is precisely in these transport systems that a lot of laser-cut sheet and tubing is used”.