Sheet Metal & Metal Ducting Manufacturer
Progress Air (Hoxton Park, NSW) makes sheetmetal parts for air-conditioning systems, servicing the local HVAC & R industry for more than 16 years. Several years ago, Progress Air began preparations for the future of sheetmetal processing, as the industry became more competitive and customers demanded quick turnaround.
After careful investigations and evaluating various CNC plasma cutting systems, the company decided to install an ART CNC XRP4800 plasma cutter. The plasma cutting process is best-known for its simplicity and its ability to cut virtually any metal. These qualities plus the productivity it yields had convinced company Director Rod Peters that it would be the right choice, and he was not disappointed.
“Our production levels have gone through the roof now, it’s incredible,” he says. Moreover, the company managed to cut the monthly material expenses by more than half, mainly due to the nesting function, which leverages the mathematical processing power of the PC to optimise material usage and reduce cost. The company processes mild steel, galvanised steel, aluminium and stainless steel and is wrapped with the thickness the machine manages to cut (up to 20mm in mild steel).
While Mr Peters is very happy with the CamDuct software he is using, he is also considering investing in higher-level nesting software, such as ART’s in-house developed ToolShop software, because, although optimising material use still is a critical task, nesting software can play additional roles in three other areas: integration, automation, and part quality. For example, nesting software can work easily with all standard 2D and 3D CAD formats, link to a central material inventory and work order database, create highly optimised nests of all materials and thicknesses within a single job and cut better parts, because quality is of utmost importance for the sheetmetal shop.
That’s one reason they decided to go with an ART machine, manufactured, sold and serviced in Australia by local people. “We looked at (cheap) Chinese and American-made machines… but if something goes wrong, they are 10,000 miles away in a different time zone,” Mr Peters explains. “ART’s machines are serviced from Brisbane and are Australian-made. Moreover, everyone we spoke to said their machines were great, so the decision was easy!”
According to Mr Peters, it took as little as six months for the machine to pay for itself, which is definitely worth the investment for the small workshop. “The only thing I regret is my decision for a small 3-m table,” Mr Peters adds. “Once we move to bigger premises, I will look into a bigger table to process two sheets at once and improve our productivity levels even more.”
Today, the machine runs basically non-stop and Progress Air subcontracts jobs for other sheetmetal companies, whose Chinese machines broke down, wasting valuable time for those shops.
Mr Peters is very pleased with ART’s service and training and says that it only took about two hours to run the first job on the machine after installation – because he ordered the software beforehand and was ready to go once the machine was delivered and installed. “It was my idea to get familiar with the software while the machine was being built,” he concludes. “I recommend that to everyone. This way, we had virtually no downtime and only had to familiarise ourselves with the machine functions.”