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ESAB Suprarex precision plasma cutting machine investment transforms Afon Engineering

ESAB Group : 29 June, 2007  (Company News)
Afon Engineering of Swansea is a fabricator that specialises in cutting, profiling, rolling, bending and forming plates from materials up to 50mm thick. Typical contracts include pressure vessels, bridgework, offshore skidwork and pipework.
Whereas parts were previously guillotined and manually cut with gas cutting equipment, the company has now purchased an ESAB Suprarex precision plasma cutting machine, which has transformed the business, such is the improved productivity and accuracy.

The Suprarex machine is unusual in that it has an ESAB 200A precision plasma cutting torch mounted on a bevel head that enables profiling and edge preparation to be carried out simultaneously. Not surprisingly, this makes a substantial difference to how quickly plates can be prepared. The exceptional accuracy also helps to streamline the production of fabrications as well as being beneficial to Afon Engineering's customers.

Furthermore, the same plasma head can be used to mark the plates so that other components can be positioned ready for welding. Again, this saves a considerable amount of time. Yet another time saving is achieved by using the machine to stitch-cut apertures prior to the plates being rolled, which reduces the amount of manual gas cutting that is required later.

Because of the varied nature of the work undertaken by Afon Engineering, the Suprarex machine is called upon to cut a wide range of materials in thicknesses from 1mm to 30mm on plasma (a maximum plate thickness of 50mm can be plasma cut if required). It also features gas cutting with the option of straight line bevelling heads for thicker materials upto 150mm. Materials processed include mild steel, boiler plate, stainless steels, Hastelloy, chrome moly, inconel and titanium, in plate sizes up to 12 x 3.5m. In addition to the cutting machine and control system, Afon Engineering also bought ESAB's Columbus nesting software that has enabled savings to be made through increased material utilisation. In conjunction with the materials database held on the machine's controller, this software makes it quick and simple to set up each job on the machine, with very little risk of operators making any errors.

Andrew Beaujean, the Sales Engineer at Afon Engineering, is extremely pleased with the machine, saying: 'It really is phenomenally quick. Compared with the way we worked before, the machine prepares plates five or six times faster, and with better accuracy. Taken as a whole, the faster cutting, edge preparation, stitch-cutting, marking, nesting software, materials database and high accuracy has transformed our business.'

In addition, he is also complimentary about the level of service from ESAB: 'When we were talking to various suppliers prior to making a final decision, ESAB was more helpful than the others. We also liked the way ESAB stocked spare parts in the UK or could get them delivered quickly from Germany.'

Andrew Beaujean concludes: 'The machine was a good price and has proved to be reliable, too. Overall, we are therefore very glad we made the investment.'
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