If the market needed any more evidence about the accelerating pace of automation in the aluminium sector, it comes in the form of new figures released by software specialist BM Aluminium, which reveal almost a doubling in the number of CNC links currently being bought by fabricators.

BM Aluminium’s Managing Director Dean Hodges explains: “In a normal year, we would expect to be setting up between 20 and 30 new CNC machine links using our LogiKal software module, but we have set up that number just in the last six months, and demand shows no sign of slowing down.

“Clearly, it’s being driven by Covid on two different levels. One, using a CNC link can potentially reduce the number of people required in the workplace and help with social distancing, and two, it means fabricators can increase their volumes much more easily and keep up with the current levels of demand. The LogiKal CNC module does much more than just optimising material usage, it smooths the whole machining process and means fabricators can get more from their machinery investment.

“There’s obviously been a long-term trend towards CNC links for saws and machining centres, but we’ve really never seen a dramatic spike like this in the 14 years that BM Aluminium has been distributing LogiKal.

“Around a quarter of the CNC links we’ve done since October 2020 have been for new customers who are starting out with a CNC module to link LogiKal directly to their machines. But a staggering three quarters have been for existing customers who are linking software to CNC machines for the first time.

“I think that’s a reflection of the level of confidence in the market at the moment and the very significant investments being made right across the aluminium sector in new machinery as fabricators look towards future proofing their operations by building in extra capacity.”

The machine links carried out by BM Aluminium reveal a diverse range of choices in terms of machinery investment. Fabricators are continuing to purchase machines from all the big brands – including Elumatec, Emmegi, FOM and Mecal, as well as Pertici, Tekna and Schüco.

Dean Hodges adds: “One of the big benefits of LogiKal is that it can work across virtually any aluminium system and any machine, so it has the in-built flexibility which fabricators need in such a fast-moving market. We also of course have a very experienced team supporting the software and helping customers with installation and training.”