Simplicity Australia manufactures a broad range of air seeders and tillage equipment in-house, and high-definition plasma technology from ART has helped the company to stay ahead of the game.
From humble beginnings, Simplicity Australia has spent the past 30 years building its reputation – and its success – on a passion for manufacturing. The Dalby-based 70-men strong company specialises in the design and manufacture of air seeders and tillage equipment, and according to General Manager Troy Law offers the most diverse range of air seeders in the country and even globally. He believes that a focus on its core competence and product range keeps the company competitive. “Instead of diversifying we decided to focus on what we are good at,” he says.
The popularity of the company’s products is reflected in the business growth over the years – “but you have to become better at what you do and most of all be flexible and efficient,” Mr Law explains. “Our strategy is to manufacture most of what we produce in-house with equipment that can do what we need when we need it, quickly. We need to be able to efficiently manufacture small runs.” As a consequence, Mr Law implements lean manufacturing strategies to some degree and is also continuously investing in productive and state-of-the-art machinery to ensure efficient manufacturing processes in his factory.
In 2009, it was time to replace an existing but ageing plasma cutter and weighing up the pros and cons in regards to plasma or laser technology, Simplicity decided to invest in a locally made high-definition plasma cutter from Advanced Robotic Technology (ART). “Building a quality item at a competitive price and delivering it on time are prerequisites to compete in our market, which requires us to have state-of-the-art machines that are highly accurate and reliable,” Mr Law explains. “Plasma was the better alternative, weighing up the costs of operation.”
“The reason to go with ART was that they are an Australian company and a solid business close to us,” he says. “When you are investing in technology you ask yourself the question, is the business going to be around in the next 10 to 15 years for service and support. ART has been around long enough and I am very happy with the construction of the machine.”
Over the last 16 years, Brisbane-based CNC machinery manufacturer ART has developed automated CNC machinery to make companies like Simplicity Australia more productive. For heavy-duty manufacturing environments as frequently found in the agricultural industry where power, precision, speed, quality, low cost, productivity and durability are demanded by business owners, ART has developed a high-definition CNC plasma cutter series.
The HDP plasma cutter offers precise heavy-duty cutting of steel, stainless steel and aluminium and comes with a process area from 3700mm x 1900mm up to 15000mm x 3200mm. The machine delivers economic processing of high-standard cut components with an edge quality that is comparable with laser cutting. Moreover, an efficient fume extraction system ensures the air is kept clean at all times.
Power is supplied by HyPerformance Plasma HPR130XD and HPR 260XD from Hypertherm, combining ultra fast cutting speeds, rapid process cycling and consistent superior quality.
Coupled to the HDP series of high performance cutting tables is Hypertherm’s “True Hole” cutting technology. This advanced technology for mild steel produces significantly better hole quality than what could previously be achieved using plasma. As an optional extra, the ART HDP series can be fitted with a drilling & tapping combination head, which significantly reduces production times as multiple processes can be carried out on one machine.
Mr Law is extremely happy with the service and support provided by ART. “The nice part is that they are close to us, that’s something we normally don’t have, as we are usually dealing with someone overseas.”
“The plasma cutter is definitely worth the investment, while it was not a major technology jump for us,” he adds. “We were more concerned about selecting the brand we were comfortable with.”
Like other local manufacturers, Simplicity competes against imports from overseas, mainly Canada, as well as against local competitors, but being located in one of Australia’s agricultural and manufacturing areas with a good skill base has helped the company to prosper over the years.
However, no matter what region and how sophisticated the manufacturing and farming methods and equipment – at the end of the day the agricultural industry is depending on two factors, Mr Law emphasises: Commodity prices and rain. “In the farming sector, commodity prices and water are the two major items. If we have really good grain prices and not a lot of water, you can go ok. If we have a lot of water and the commodities are down, then you can go ok too. But once about every ten years, the two things go together – commodities are strong and we have a good rain season, that’s when most of our customers move forward. It is a continuous cycle in Australia.”