Theuws Metaal in Luyksgestel, Brabant, the Netherlands, has seven SafanDarley press brakes. “We also have a guillotine of the same make dating from 1980 which is still in daily use. We bought that second-hand at the time. That says a lot about SafanDarley’s quality,” comments founder Jan Theuws.
Over forty years ago, Jan Theuws started up Theuws Plaatwerk en Metaal, together with his wife Marleen. The business mainly produced structural work such as stairways, fences and steel trusses. “We had regular customers in the region and grew rapidly. In 1996 I had to sell the business for health reasons. A few years later I made a full recovery and started over again,” Mr Theuws recalls.
The entrepreneur started his new business in 1999. “The question was what press brake I should proceed with. I bought my first new machine from SafanDarley. We now have four new and three old press brakes: one E-Brake 40T, two E-Brake 200Ts, an E-Brake 40T Ergonomic, a CNC-LK 150-3100, and an H-brake 120-3100. Our VS 310-6 guillotine dates from 1980 and is still in use every day. That says a lot about this brand,” observes the director. “It’s the same with a car. If you’re satisfied with a particular brand, you stick with it.”
SafanDarley has made strenuous efforts to ensure ease of use and speed of operation in the production cycle. “We are highly satisfied with this. The service is good too,” reports Mr Theuws. “If we ring up, experienced people respond right away to solve problems. And the prices are reasonable in every respect. The trust is there. We even bought a press brake over the phone.”
Theuws produces many components for clean rooms and for the automotive sector, such as the truck manufacturer DAF. “DAF has been our biggest client for years. In Luyksgestel, as well as Theuws Metaal, we have Theuws Assemblage. And since 2007, we have Theuws Polyester in Wieringerwerf. They used to be a supplier. When they went bankrupt, we had to make sure of our source of products and of good quality. So we bought the business. We make plastic spoilers for DAF there. We make the supports and fixing brackets for these spoilers ourselves with our press brakes. We are proud we can manufacture for DAF. We have three DAF trucks ourselves to deliver our products to the factory. On average, a full trailer goes off to DAF and Leyland six times a day.”
The three Theuws enterprises now have 105 employees, of whom 60 are employed in Luyksgestel. “In three years, our sales volume has doubled. There has been more demand in the automotive sector across the board. You can tell from this that the economy is doing well again. We’re seeing a big increase again now. We also do a lot of work for the nautical industry.”
Theuws’ growth made expansion necessary. A new production unit of 3000 square metres has been built across the street, with superior offices and a spacious loading and unloading dock. “We have opted for new movable storage racks that take up one third less space than fixed racks. The production area is LED-lit. Bending is precision work. With good lighting, you spot any defects immediately. For our latest purchase, an E-Brake 200T, we deliberately chose not to have an E-Bend L-angle measurement system, nor the E-Bend S sheet thickness measurement.
In our opinion, they are a safety net for if a press brake is unreliable or if you work with thicker plates. In our view, if you work with reliable press brakes like SafanDarley’s, you don’t need such systems.”
The secret of the enterprise’s success according to Mr Theuws is that a manufacturer needs to make what the customer wants. “If I know exactly what the customer wants, I can see how I should set up the production efficiently. SafanDarley has also looked closely at what the customer wants: quick press brakes that are user-friendly. That’s exactly what we need.”
Operator Roger van Werven is happy to work with SafanDarley press brakes. “They feature a user-friendly control system. A new colleague can be ready to work independently within only six weeks with this system. The software is highly accessible. It’s also handy that you can transfer the program software to another machine with a simple USB stick. That saves a lot of time.”
Director and founder Jan Theuws is now 65. “The company’s future is secure. My son Leo is 35 and has now been working at the company for 15 years. He’s been involved from an early age and recently took over the business. And the next generation is on its way,” laughs Mr Theuws. “Grandson Jan Junior is already two.”
The E-volution in sheet metal working continues to progress towards a factory that is fully controlled and managed digitally. At EuroBLECH 2018, SafanDarley will present the latest innovations in sheet metal working, including a complete range of automated solutions.