Proving their mettle: Elquip Solutions and YLM: bringing the best in global tube bending technology to local industry

Elquip Solutions works hard to find only the best global manufacturers of products, and as a specialist in the tube and pipe industry, is proud to distribute YLM tube bending machines in South Africa.

“Through YLM we can now offer our existing customers a premium brand which offers a quality product on a par with the best in the world, but which is easy on the pocket,” says Mike Cronin, Managing Director of Elquip Solutions.

Founded in 1976, YLM is a leading manufacturer of specialised computer CNC, NC (numeric control) and conventional tube and pipe bending, cutting and end-forming machinery. YLM has been distributing its world-class products in South Africa for more than ten years, and three years ago chose Elquip Solutions as their sole agent.

“Elquip and YLM have formed a very strong business partnership and we see eye-to-eye on many things, including the importance of delivering a quick and efficient customer service. We are proud to include the YLM brand in our portfolio because of its reputation for robustness and reliability – there are YLM machines in this country which have operated year-on-year without any maintenance issues,” says Cronin.

YLM visited South Africa to attend Automechanika earlier this year, eliciting much interest from visitors and customers at the Elquip stand, with on-site demonstrations of its wire and tube bending machines.

“Automechanika was very important for building relationships both in terms of existing and potential customers, and in demonstrating our good relationship with Elquip. The co-operation we enjoy with Elquip is a powerful one because Elquip is in daily contact with our customers through the supply of spare parts, tooling and consumables. We also receive regular feedback from our customers through Elquip,” comments Bella Lin, YLM’s Regional Manager.

Currently, there are approximately 60 YLM machines in operation in South Africa, according to Cronin, utilised by a wide range of industries including furniture, racking and shelving, automotive, fabrication, rail, shipping and aviation, and general engineering.

Apart from offering a choice of stand-alone, semi-automated NC, fully electronic CNC as well as a combination of hydraulic and electronic, YLM also caters for a very wide range of tube diameters: from 4mm up to 220mm. In addition, the machinery can be used on any metal, including mild steel, stainless steel, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, aluminium and copper, and in any conceivable shape or profile.

“When it comes to spare parts, they are readily available because YLM uses recognised, generic components in their production, making servicing easy,” adds Cronin.

He highlights another feature of YLM production – the working cell concept in which a robot is used within a fully automatic environment, which has proved highly successful in terms of the company’s productivity (24 hours/day) and on-site safety.

“One of the things we really appreciate about YLM is that they are continually developing products and innovations,” says Cronin. “An example is their automatic tool changer, which is a massive time-saver. A process which normally takes about half an hour, requiring more than one person, now takes only seven minutes!”

“We pride ourselves in listening to the customer, and it is that feedback that drives our innovation. Communication is very important to us, and we have a 24 hour customer hot-line,” says Lin.

Another development for YLM is the company’s new in-house laser tube cutting machines which, like its bending equipment, makes quality and state-of-the-art technology both accessible and affordable.

“At Elquip we undertake to find the most effective and efficient technology for our customers’ requirements; and YLM provides value for our customers and complements our existing range of machinery perfectly,” concludes Cronin.