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Case Study

Precise manufacturing in the construction industry: Blade Pile’s journey to efficiency, quality, and safety with TRUMPF Technology


Blade Pile, a top supplier of screw piles for Australia’s residential construction, began in 2007 in Southeast Queensland, producing locally at their Burleigh Heads factory and have since grown steadily. The management team realised that their traditional fabrication processes incurred high costs and challenged their competitive advantage. In 2022, Blade Pile recognised the opportunity to automate its production processes in its new purpose-built Yatala site using a TRUMPF TruLaser Tube 5000, automated material handling, and robotic welding.

About Blade Pile Group: Blade Pile manufactures, supplies, and installs a wide array of steel piles and piling accessories for the construction industry throughout Australia and New Zealand. Blade Pile is recognised as a leader in residential piling products and foundation systems. Our technical innovation and inventive approach to piling has provided our customers with a range of industry-leading products alongside our network of engineering and installation support services. Click here to find out more.

The Blade Pile challenge:

Blade Pile encountered a pressing challenge: Differentiate their product in the market and control costs. Robotic welding was part of the solution. Robotic welding provides consistent welding results with a consistent throughput and little risk, thus reducing production costs. However, it does have tighter tolerance requirements than manual welding which cannot be achieved with a traditional band saw pipe cutting process. Also, bandsaw and notching machines do not give flexibility to continually optimise product design or to differentiate them in the market via product labelling or marking. The final challenge was to minimise materials handling costs. An integrated materials handling solution was needed.

In summary, Blade Pile needed to solve the following challenges:

  1. Cut pipe to length within the tight tolerances needed by robotic welding.
  2. Have a flexible solution which can enable continuous product development.
  3. Mark and label their parts to make them visually differentiated in the market.
  4. Develop an integrated materials handling solution.

The solution

Zak identified tube laser cutting as the solution to his main challenge of cutting pipe to the tolerance needed. He had observed that the international brands he admires have invested in TRUMPF technologies. He felt that if TRUMPF was their partner of choice, then TRUMPF also would not let BladePile down. He found Headland Technology as TRUMPF’s exclusive agent in Australia. Subsequently, Zak connected with Tim Stoddard, the Queensland sales manager based in the Brisbane office. The consultation process narrowed down to a TRUMPF TruLaser Tube 5000 (Fiber) as the suitable technology solution. Headland also collaborated with AMM Engineering and AKA Electrical & Automation to develop an automated unloading solution and configured the machine to provide the required control signals to the unloading robot.

Tim coordinated a visit to a valued customer who had already invested in a TRUMPF TruLaser Tube 5000 (Fiber) and achieved significant success with it. Witnessing the customer’s production first-hand, Zak knew he had selected the right machine technology and a brand that perfectly suited Blade Pile’s needs.

The implementation

The installation of the TruLaser 5000 (Fiber) at Blade Pile was a smooth process organised by Headland’s project management office with expert service provided by Headland and TRUMPF technicians. The technicians installed and commissioned the machine and provided the necessary operator and software training. Headland and TRUMPF continued to support Blade Pile through the commissioning process for the unloading robot. This solution was innovative, and the team worked to get communication established between the laser and the robot. The communication proved to make ongoing programming and optimisation of the robot unloading system very straightforward.

Blade Pile levels up: Increased productivity, quality, and unparallel safety

Zak Plotkin enthusiastically shares that Blade Pile has witnessed remarkable improvements across various fronts giving them a competitive advantage in their industry. The streamlined process has significantly boosted productivity and efficiency and will enable Blade Pile to easily scale with future increases in demand. Furthermore, employee satisfaction and engagement levels have soared, reflecting a positive work environment. Notably, the quality of their output has experienced a substantial enhancement, impressing visitors, potential clients, and their staff alike.

A visible sense of excitement resonates among the team members as they eagerly embrace the opportunity to work in a world-class fabrication process. Safety has also undergone a transformative shift, thanks to the robust safety features embedded in the TRUMPF TruLaser 5000 (Fiber), which provides a profound sense of peace of mind. Compared to operating the old band saws.

Quality control measures propel success amidst traditional industry norms

Their investments in technology have enabled Blade Pile to secure a contract with a prominent National account with stringent regulatory requirements. The repeatable quality that automated processes enable gave this customer that Blade Pile is the partner they could trust. While the construction industry remains largely traditional, Blade Pile now stands out by using cutting-edge machinery such as the TRUMPF TruLaser 5000 (Fiber) and modern automation.

Blade Pile’s investment in technology enabled them to successfully overcome their challenges with the following outcomes:

  1. Accurate cutting of tube to within +/-0.1mm in length.
  2. Ability to continuously improve their design using powerful offline programming software.
  3. Mark the parts with Blade Pile branding and individual part information.
  4. Automatically unload the machine with a robot and pack finished parts into stillages prepared for robotic welding.

We asked Zak to sum up his experience with Headland here is what he had to say:

“My experience with Headland Technology has been great. They have deep expertise and are committed to promptly solving any issues that come up.  Working with them feels like getting top-notch service directly from the manufacturer. I am very happy with Headland’s support, ensuring smooth operation and handling any challenges with professionalism and skill. “

Regarding Blade Pile’s future, Zak stated that they aim to expand from their current 8 to 12-hour production schedule to a round-the-clock operation within the next five years and may add another TRUMPF machine.

We would like to thank Zak Plotkin for the insights and wish Blade Pile continued success and the attraction of many more customers in the future.

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TRUMPF TruLaser Tube: Tubes prefer TRUMPF

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Matthew Malatt

Matthew Malatt

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