Behlen Industries boosts profits and builds for the future with plasma technology
The company and products
Behlen Industries is Canada’s largest producer of steel building systems. With headquarters in Brandon, Manitoba and a growing international market, Behlen systems are sold and installed throughout North America and parts of Europe by a network of authorized builder-distributors.
Behlen’s 10 year old plasma cutting machine had reached the end of its service life, and the production team expected no less than 24/7 service from its replacement. Production Manager, Doug Riddoch, explains, “The plasma system is considered a vital component of the work flow at the company. If it is not working then it really affects the operation of the shop. It conducts the work flow, with 40 welders waiting for cut parts.”
The company replaced the old plasma system with a new Koike® Versagraph unit equipped with SureCut™ technology from Hypertherm – a HyPerformance® HPR260XD plasma cutting system with Autogas, an EDGE® Pro CNC, Sensor™ THC, and ProNest® nesting software.
The new cutting machine has already delivered impressive results and changed the way Behlen operates. Riddoch commented, “Since the plasma was installed three months ago, we’ve seen some major improvements in the way we process jobs and the results we achieve.”
For starters, the new machine has given Behlen the flexibility to alleviate production bottlenecks. They were able to transfer work from another plate machine, bring work back in-house from outsource vendors, and consolidate some projects from other company locations.
Programming at Behlen includes the use of ProNest’s Automatic Nesting to achieve high levels of material utilization without programmer intervention. Collision Avoidance is applied automatically to each nest, yielding optimized tool paths, lead styles and positioning. The resulting tool path translates into productivity improvements in cut-to-cut cycle time.
Summarizing results from the machine investment, Riddoch says “From the time we receive the paperwork on a job, we can now be ready to ship it in just two days. Just by bringing some of the hopper-bin work in-house, we’ve seen a 40 percent cost savings on that product alone, as well as a significant savings in production lead time. All of these changes to the way we process jobs using the new machine have helped us improve our profitability.”