Mitchell Mill gets lean with ProNest LT
The company and products
Mitchell Mill Systems is a manufacturer in agribusiness making equipment to produce feed, grain, pet food, fertilizer, and more. Their team also fabricates a variety of specialty equipment to meet customer needs.
Project manager Jeff Johnson, who works out of the Missouri, USA location, oversees the company’s cutting operation which includes a mechanized plasma cutting table.
Last year, Mitchell Mill was working on a company-wide lean project. Management tasked Johnson with cutting time, material, and labor from the operation, so he and his team decided on a trial of Hypertherm’s ProNest® LT nesting software, which had recently been released as a professional grade, yet lower-cost product aimed at light industrial cutting operations.
After starting their free trial of ProNest LT, Johnson and his team decided to do a time study comparing it to their old software. “We did a complete job from scratch in each software program, going from drawing all the way to a finished program that was ready to cut, and we found out that it took 12½ minutes in our old software vs. only 3 minutes in ProNest LT,” explained Johnson. “It was nuts that we were able to do it that quickly!”
With a calculated time savings of 9.25 minutes per nest, and 550 nests per year, the total labor savings were calculated to be about 85 hours per year, which at $75/hr. equates to $6,375 per year.
“When I first started using ProNest LT, I said to my boss, “There’s something wrong here – this software is way too easy!” Johnson explained. “You go from creating your drawings, to nesting, to reporting very quickly.”
But perhaps the bigger advantage of using a high-quality cutting software is in the way it’s able to optimize the cut quality of the job and ensure that users are getting the most out of their cutting machine.
Mitchell Mill found this out in dramatic fashion when cutting a custom part for one of their customers that required 7,000 holes in half-inch mild steel (picture above). With their old software running on their plasma machine, they were forced to ream every hole as a secondary process, due to the amount of taper on the cuts. But with ProNest LT’s more advanced cutting techniques, including variable feed rate and ability to lock down torch height control, holes are now coming out virtually taper free and they have been able to eliminate secondary operations on almost all of their parts.
“The quality with ProNest LT is incredible compared to what we were getting before on the same cutting equipment,” said Johnson.
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