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    • Project type – Machine tool enclosed guarding
    • Year completed – 2020
    • Project location – Nottingham, UK
    • Client – Esprit Automation Ltd
    • Services provided – Design and manufacture of standards-compliant guarding
    • Products provided – Two sets of sheet metal guards with sliding doors and integral soundproofing

    Project Overview

    Esprit Automation designs and manufactures state-of-the-art CNC cutting machines based on plasma, laser and flame cutting technologies. The machines comprise a robust bed with a moving gantry carrying the cutting head. Until recently, these have all been ‘open’ gantry-style machines but the latest flagship laser cutting machine, the aerospace-inspired Esprit Photon 5G, is fully enclosed.

Most components for Esprit Automation’s machines are manufactured in-house. However, the company did not have the specialist knowledge to design standards-compliant enclosure guards. Furthermore, it did not have sufficient manufacturing capacity to produce the guarding.

After considering its options, Esprit Automation chose to work with Procter Machine Safety. Procter’s designers took the customer’s guarding concept and developed it into a set of detailed designs for guards that comply fully with the applicable machinery safety standards. The guards would therefore allow Esprit Automation to CE mark the finished machines to the Machinery Directive.

Features incorporated within the guards include: a dramatic aesthetic with curved panels and a two-tone finish; a wide manually-operated sliding door to give the operator clear access; very large viewing panels of toughened and laminated glass, tinted to provide eye protection; an automated rise-and-fall load door through which the machine’s moving table slides; a pair of interlocked hinged doors at the opposite end for additional access; removable panels on the back of the machine and lift-out roof panels for maintenance access; a control panel that pulls out for ease of use or can be pushed back flush with the front of the machine; a slide-out keyboard and drawers beneath the control panel; and integral sound proofing.

The new Esprit Photon 5G has been extremely well received by the market. This present case study relates to two sets of guards. Because this was a follow-on order, Procter already had CNC programmes for its laser cutting, punching and folding machines, so these programmes were retrieved from the relevant libraries. The guards were then fabricated, trial-assembled, dismantled, and prepared and finished in a tough polyester powder coating. Finally, the component parts were built up into sub-assemblies, quality checked, and packaged ready for despatch to meet Esprit Automation’s build schedule.

By subcontracting the guarding design and manufacture to Procter Machine Safety, Esprit Automation is benefiting from Procter’s market-leading knowledge of machinery safety standards, as well as the company’s expertise in the production of high-quality, ergonomic guards. Furthermore, Esprit Automation’s design engineers have not been side-tracked from their core competences, and the manufacturing team remains focused on higher-added-value tasks relating to the cutting technology. Importantly, the quality of Procter’s guards ensures the flagship Esprit Photon 5G has the right aesthetic to impress prospective customers.