R & G Sheetmetal now also boasts its own range of CNC machines, which are housed in a separate facility up the road.
“We were always lacking on the machining side. Today a customer wants to deal with as few suppliers as possible. A simple example is side plates needed holes drilled into them, which then had to be welded onto a formed component. In the past the drilling operation had to be sent out,” explained Lass.
“We addressed this problem in 2010 when we installed our first CNC machine, a PolyGym with an automatic barfeeder supplied by PBS Machine Tools. Shortly thereafter we purchased a second hand Mazak Quickturn 15N and this was followed up with a Hurco VMX 42 CNC vertical machining centre.”
“Wherever possible we try and make our own spare parts for the equipment we use and this is one of the reasons we have a toolroom. The primary function of this department is to make our own tooling for the lasers, presses and punches but since the introduction of the CNC equipment they have become a much more valuable asset to the company. They added more value to the completed products and components we supply clients, as well as being able to take care of manufacturing spares for our own consumption that we would normally buy or send out for machining,” continued Lass.
“We were not looking to become a big machine shop. Rather, we wanted to offer the extra service of machining as well as being able to have the facility available for our own use. However this department has flourished and as a result we have added a further two machines to it, a Hurco VM 20 CNC vertical machining centre and a Hurco TM 10 CNC lathe.”
“Getting in the outside machining work has also benefitted the rest of the company because clients now see what else we offer.”
As technology has become increasingly more advanced over the past decade, machines have come to replace man in many instances, particularly industry. Machines work faster, they never tire and in many cases they never have to stop. However, Lass says that although the steel industry relies on machines to carry out most of the intricate jobs and heavy-duty work, they will never replace human hands. “We rely heavily on the use of machines, but machines that work faster mean that there is a lot more finishing and transportation involved, so we have actually employed more people since installing the new machines.”
“We have four robot welders, whereas three years ago we only had one. That means we need more grinders, assemblers and so on. So the technology has actually led to more job creation.”
For R & G Sheetmetal, keeping up-to-date with modern technology not only increases its productivity, but it ensures that the company retains its leadership position in the market and has enhanced its strategy of being a one-stop shop. It has also led to the enviable position of increased turnover and a burden on floor space available for the future growth that Lass envisages.
“Right now we are looking to address this problem.”
For further details contact R & G Sheetmetal on TEL: 011 452 8055 or visit www.rgsheetmetal.co.za