May 16th, 2024 - Beth

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Why buy punch tools from thousands of miles away when the best are on your doorstep? asks the window and door industry’s premiere tool maker Adam Jones of Jade Engineering. Well, he would, wouldn’t he?

Perhaps needless to say, but the man who heads up the engineering for the country’s primary tooling producer for the country’s PVC-U frame makers and most of those working with aluminium, is somewhat bemused that a number of companies continue to import their new and replacement tooling from oversees. And this becomes especially egregious to him when such products are readily available in any specification, within these Sceptred Isles. On their doorstep, no less.

Scandalous eh? But whilst you would expect Adam to feel that way, maybe he has a point. “Jade Engineering supplies every fabricator of PVC-U window and door frames in the UK with high quality tooling for their CNC and other machinery,” Adam told Glass News. “We are also very successful at manufacturing custom and standard tooling, especially punch tools themselves, to aluminium frame makers. But some continue to import their tooling from oversees, sometimes from considerable distances. And that strikes me as wasteful, and unsustainable.”

The custom is often simply a continuation of original supply chains established when overseas-based aluminium systems firms established themselves in the UK following the renaissance in aluminium windows and doors for the UK residential market. “Those firms naturally used the suppliers with which they were familiar,” refected Adam, “but now they are established we – and dare I say others that manufacture such tooling in the UK, can offer a far more efficient service with products that are at least on a par with the tools being imported. And UK produced tools are very often superior – we have a proud tradition of engineering in this country and especially in the Midlands where we are based.”

Simply examining the facts, it is difficult to argue with Adam’s assertion that it makes little sense for UK aluminium frame fabricators to continue importing their tooling, especially replacement-cycle products. Whichever side of the Brexit line one stands politically, importing from the EU particularly is often complex and bureaucratic, adding to the delays created by the sheer logistics involved.

Adam explains that the supply and repair of tooling and punch tools especially, is particularly slow and problematic: The export of old tools for refurbishment comes with delays and other issues that, for such a crucial but relatively low-cost product, is cumbersome, expensive and subject to considerable disruption.

“Suppliers further afield do not have the EU red tape to contend with, but the sheer logistical challenge for products that are routinely renewed and refurbished, can bring its issues, especially when international events and weather, for example, disrupt the supply line. My point is: when a better alternative is available locally, why not take a look?” the Jade man asks.

“‘People should never be expected to ‘Buy British’ simply to be patriotic,” believes Adam, “But when the products are often superior and less expensive even before the complex logistics are considered, then of course it makes sense to do so.  Punch tool refurbishment is managed in hours rather than weeks or even months and there is no threat to the supply chain due to wars, hurricanes and the odd barge caught in the Suez Canal, though it can be a bit wet,” jokes Adam.

In addition, custom solutions such as those provided for some of the UK’s most successful aluminium systems companies, can be developed and delivered in weeks, advised Adam: “Custom production solutions are what we do best as engineers, says Adam. “And often, we have designed and installed the tool, even before an engineer could fly in from overseas.”




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