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JF Machines Ltd. Printing Machine Manufacturers
JF Machines Ltd., Kettering, England are manufacturers of machines for the printing industry. The Company was started in 1989 by John Furley, a Cambridge graduate design and development engineer, after seventeen years’ experience working for well-known printing press manufacturer Timsons Ltd. also of Kettering Northamptonshire. Electrical and electronic design engineer, Richard Curtis, a former colleague from Timsons, joined in 1990, bringing his experience of good industrial design practice. From these early days we were able to design and build practical and innovative machines, most of which are still in use and running well.
We design the machines using Computer Aided Design (CAD) for mechanical and electronic design of bespoke components and circuits. Although we use many off-the-shelf electrical items (brushless servomotors and drives, 3 phase inverters, incremental encoders etc.) we often develop our own special circuit boards to supervise these standard components when speed, accuracy and cost-effectiveness demand a fresh approach.
We build the machines in-house in Kettering, using our experience of precision engineering for the printing industry. Careful inspection of each component, fitting, setting up and testing – it’s all been happening in Britain for centuries, and we still do it! We pride ourselves in carrying on the tradition of British engineering combined with a willingness to adopt new technologies enthusiastically. For example the PicoColour (perhaps unusually for an industrial machine) incorporates ARDUINO microcontrollers and we learned to develop our own real-time embedded software, enabling us to move away from proprietary PLC technology. Now we can develop advanced, totally bespoke control systems cheaply and with the confidence that we will always be able to obtain the components in the future.
We have always exported more than 50% of our machines – we’re used to supporting machines in distant places, and dealing with different countries. To remain competitive in the years when the Pound Sterling was very strong, we used our links with Thailand to start our own sub-contract supply company in Bangkok in 2002. Since then JF Machines (Thailand) Co. Ltd. has continued to meet the need for quick response, high quality and lower prices than in England. They’re well equipped with machines and measuring kit, and with our help, they make lovely accurate components which any European sub-contractor would be proud of.
In 2011, Xaar introduced us to a large public Company in China, Lucky Huaguang Graphics of Nanyang, Henan Province, a part of China Aerospace who are active in the printing industry, making CTP and flexo plate materials for traditional printing. Recognising they should start getting involved in digital printing, and that inkjet is very likely to be the winning digital technology, they have negotiated and signed a licensing agreement with us to join forces in manufacturing, design and research and development. More about this in our blog pages.