By Barbara Schulz
Working as one-man band in the specialised and demanding niche of industrial and security gate manufacturing, Simon Neil recognised the desirability of automating the cutting of the square tube and plate steel used in the process. Research into cutting machines led him to the team at Advanced Robotic Technology and the installation of an HD Plasma machine. The result has been greatly increased productivity with 50 percent reduced production times and much shortened lead times when it comes to prototyping and fabricating …
Secure Gates is a manufacturer of metal gates, working in the area of large and specialised industrial and high-security gates – including gates used in prisons.
It’s a niche business with a repeat client list and new clients attracted by word of mouth.
This Adelaide-based business is owned and operated by Simon Neil and he currently employs one staff member. Or two, if you count, as Simon does, the Advanced Robotic Technology plasma cutter he installed in 2013, and which he sees as absolutely pivotal to the success of his business.
“The business hasn’t looked back since I installed the machine – it’s absolutely pivotal to the business,” he says.
Simon had been looking for some time to install a cutting machine to help with the workload.
Advanced Robotic Technology, when he contacted them, were quick to analyse the needs of the business and suggest solutions that would work best for him. Simon says he was very impressed with the team at ART and consultation was soon followed by installation at Secure Gates of an ART HPR130XD plasma machine with a drill/tap head.
The machine was customised for Simon’s need for a large working area – in his case a working area of 14.5m x 2.5m – and the ability for cutting long length of square tube – up to 12.5m in length – as well as steel plate.
The result for Secure Gates has been an increase in speed and accuracy that has seen greatly lowered lead times and reduced production costs, Simon says.
“Lead time was a problem in the past, waiting on cut metal to be returned.”
Simon likes the fact that his machine is a high-quality Australian product and that support comes from people on the ground in Australia familiar with the Australian business environment. This has huge benefits, Simon says. “After-sales support has been very good. ART are able to deal with most problems by logging on remotely and getting me back on track quickly.”
The plasma cutter has made a considerable impact on output. In the past, having to have material cut offsite caused problems with lead times but now Simon is able to prototype quickly, and achieves faster fabrication of orders.
Productivity has increased by 50 percent, and the product is of higher quality. Moreover, the increased productivity has freed up time for Simon to plan for his company’s growth, which has already paid off.
The ability to tap into other markets combined with the machine’s efficiency and the one staff member – who only started to work for the business last year – saw Secure Gates to grow by 70 percent over the last three years.