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Perth-based plasma cutter stops outsourcing to meet delivery deadlines

Perth-based Ox Engineering provides products, parts, repairs and service for the drilling and exploration sector. By nature a mobile activity, drill rigs require specialised products and transport equipment.

The company supplies custom-designed products to suit the different types of drill rigs used in exploration – some examples are: dual rotary water well rigs, large oil and gas rigs, diamond drill rigs and reverse circulation.

All of these drill rigs require different products for sampling, maintenance and safety; handrails, platforms for personnel and auto mobilising specialised equipment to take manual handling down to a minimum.

With demand for exploration high to find the next mineral source, drill rigs are put through their paces, requiring many spare parts, rebuilds or retrofits to keep them commissioned.

In order to manufacture those parts, designs are generated using 3D CAD software and then outsourced to specialist companies for cutting.

Demand in the industry is such that lead times were rapidly blowing out to three – four weeks, making business untenable for the Ox Engineering team.

Given that the outlook for mining is relatively robust, Heath Oxley, manager of Ox Engineering, felt it was prudent to investigate the options to purchase a CNC plasma cutting machine to bring the plate cutting in-house.

With the engineering and design mind set, Oxley had a fairly good idea of what he was looking for.

“I wanted a machine that could use our drawings with minimal fuss; it had to provide tight tolerances and accuracy, the cutting edge needed to be precise and the build quality of the machine needed to be high. And of course, meet our budget,” reflects Oxley.

“I narrowed my search down to three possibilities, one built in Australia with many imported, cheaper components; one that was completely Australian owned and made, and the HACO model.

All three had the high-definition (Hypertherm’s patented HyDefinition technology) plasma cutter we wanted, the same power source and comparable software capabilities.”

In the end, the final decision was confirmed with the reputation and knowledge of the HACO Group. With other products such as pressbrakes, turret punchers and rollers, Oxley felt that the company was experienced in the type of machinery he was after and would also offer excellent support.

As a result, Oxley chose a KOMPAKT 4020 CNC plasma cutting machine from HACO Australia.

The KOMPAKT 4020 boasts a cutting table of 4000mm x 2000mm and a positioning accuracy of ± 0.1mm and Hypertherm’s patented HyDefinition plasma cutting system.

Bringing plasma cutting in-house by investing in a KOMPAKT 4020 plasma cutting machine from HACO Australia has solved the lead time problem for Ox Engineering.

Bringing plasma cutting in-house by investing in a KOMPAKT 4020 plasma cutting machine has solved the lead time problem for Ox Engineering.

The machine is capable of cutting materials of up to 32mm of mild steel and happily copes with stainless and tempered high-tensile steel.

To ensure optimum cutting accuracy and speed, the gantry of the KOMPAKT rests on over-sized linear guides and is driven on both sides by brushless AC Servo motors and rack-and-pinion systems.

Two over-sized linear guides are mounted on the gantry itself for accurate Y-movement of the cutting head rest. The X-axis is also controlled by a brushless AC Servo motor with rack-and-pinion system.

The touch screen control panel is intuitive and allowed the team at Ox Engineering straightforward control of the cutter with minimal training. It also provides the user with information on consumable lifecycles to minimise wastage and downtime.

“Previously, our lead times were too long; by the time the drawing was finalised and then outsourced for cutting we could potentially have lost 3 to 4 weeks. Now, with our own plasma cutter, once the drawing is complete, it can be cut in an hour. It has cut our turnaround time to a tenth of what it was,” says Oxley.

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