3D laser cutting lowers costs

July 21, 2010
Woodinville, Wash. –  Sportworks, a contract manufacturing and value engineering company, announced it will make its Mazak SpaceGear U44 3D laser cutter available to U.S. Pacific Northwest businesses.

Woodinville, Wash. – Sportworks, a contract manufacturing and value engineering company, announced it will make its Mazak SpaceGear U44 3D laser cutter available to U.S. Pacific Northwest businesses. Sportworks is one of a few companies in the region that has 3D laser cutting equipment available for non-proprietary use.

3D or five-axis laser cutters are a preferred cutting method for many different types of manufactured products including commercial furniture, marine hardware, site furnishings, and sporting equipment. While the technology is ideal for cutting round objects made from aluminum, steel and acrylic, the Mazak system can perform cuts on round, square. and rectangular tubing from 0.5 to 6-inch diameter, and custom tubing up to 12-inch diameter. This system is also well suited for trimming, drilling, and cutting formed sheet metal parts.

"We invested in 3D laser technology to shorten lead times and reduce costs on several products," says founder and president Michael Reeves. "In two years, we've exceeded our goals, and continue to find new cost-saving benefits related to this technology."

The benefits are significant. Laser cutting pipe and tube consolidates up to six conventional fabrication steps into one automated and continuous process. The technology eliminates the need for sawing, punching, drilling, coping, machining, and deburring, and all the non-value added material handling that occurs in between these conventional steps. Additionally, laser cutting has shown the ability to reduce direct and indirect labor by as much as 75% - particularly when parts require three or more conventional fabrication steps. As the number of required steps increases, the greater the productivity advantage offered by a laser cutting process.

"We now look at design in a whole new way," says Reeves. "With eyes wide open to how it can benefit our current and future manufacturing partners."

An investment in 3D laser cutting equipment typically begins to break even when production volumes reach 200,000 parts per year or when multi-shift operations are required. Below these thresholds, companies should consider sub-contracting the work to a manufacturing partner in their area that offers the technology.

"We are pleased to make 3D laser cutting available to businesses in the region," says VP Derek Sanden. "This technology expands our manufacturing capabilities , and enhances the overall value we bring to customers and partners."

For more information contact: [email protected].

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