When you see the manufacturing process of stock fencing, it looks fairly simple. Continuous line wires are fed into a machine and joined by cross wires that are wrapped around the line wires and cut to make the required fencing pattern.
So if it’s a seemingly simple process, why do we hear of so many issues in the fencing world with problems erecting fencing?
Sheffield based manufacturer ArcelorMittal Sheffield helped shed some light on this subject.
“You’re right, the manufacturing process is fairly straightforward, but what makes a difference to the product that comes out at the end of the line, is the materials you are using in the process, but more importantly the manufacturing/quality control methods that are in place” explains Andrew Lewis, Head of Operations.
The quality and consistency of the wire used is important. Good quality, consistent wire, batch after batch, provides a good starting point for the process we learned. If the wire runs better in the machines with no stoppages due to uneven and lumpy galvanising, wire breakages due to manufacturing defects etc, this has a positive effect on the product produced.
Luckily for ArcelorMittal Sheffield, they have an advantage in this area as they are the only UK manufacturer who benefit from having a vertically integrated supply chain. This means the wire they use in their EstateWIRE products is manufactured by ArcelorMittal. Even the wire rod used to make the wire is manufactured by ArcelorMittal.
“Our wire drawing team in Luxembourg are producing wire for us all day, every day. Working to a tight specification, they fully understand the importance of getting the product right and the implications inconsistency in wire properties can have” commented CEO, Tony Hinchliffe. “The wire we process is manufactured to the same exacting standard ensuring our products are always consistent”.
Common problems fencing contractors face are difficulties in pulling a fence up and tensioning. “These problems are due to manufacturing issues” explains Andrew. “We refer to this issue as “baggy fencing” and it is caused by too much wire being fed into the machine.”
This is not an issue that is visible to the naked eye during production, it is only when the fence is being erected that it becomes evident when the fence will not “stand up” and is very difficult to tension.
“We have a number of manufacturing controls in place” Andrew commented, “we have the ones that are standard for the machinery we use, but we have also engineered, developed and installed our own improvements to our lines to increase our control over potential manufacturing issues to combat these kind of finished product quality issues”.
As well as this, ArcelorMittal also ensure their machine is routinely maintained, working to daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance plans. “The regular maintenance and upkeep of our machinery is vitally important” commented Tony. “We know that this routine process keeps our machines producing fencing to the right standard and ensures our EstateWIRE products live up to their reputation for quality and consistency”.
To add to this, a new manufacturing information system is currently being installed to monitor the production lines. “The system we are installing is the latest technology available and will help us to monitor our machinery’s performance and spot any trends, issues, weak areas etc, enabling us to improve our manufacturing performance even further which is good news for us, and our customers” Tony explained.