Lincoln Electric, through Cosmo Automation Solutions, has officially launched its light duty Torchmate CNC air plasma cutting system into South Africa – with immediate success. African Fusion talks to Pierre Theunissen, from newly launched Cosmo Automation Solutions, and Benoit Lamotte, MD of Lincoln Electric Southern Africa.
The release of the Lincoln Torchmate 4400 and 4800 CNC-driven air plasma cutting systems mark entry into a new era of fabrication in South Africa not yet developed,” Theunissen believes. “The quality of these air plasma units is very close to the high definition (HD) quality associated with the much more expensive multi-gas plasma HD units, but the capital and running costs are up to three times less,” he says.
“For light to medium fabrication in the small and medium manufacturing enterprise (SMME) sector, these units offer an excellent opportunity,” he adds. Traditionally in South Africa (SMMEs) would outsource the cutting of their parts to bigger fabricators and specialist cutting shops with expensive machines. Now, depending on the application of the cut parts and the quality required, we find that the Lincoln 4400 and 4800 are more than sufficient in most cases. Instead of outsourcing, its affordable for these fabricators to buy their own machine with various financing and rental options – ranging from less than R 20 000 per month.”
Theunissen argues that light industrial manufacturers that invest in Torchmate systems can also offer low-cost cutting services to other local industries. “This addition to a company’s offering not only makes the Torchmate investment easier to justify, but it also leads to the lowering of costs for smaller outsourcing companies, stimulating the whole local fabrication industry,” he says.
“The Lincoln Electric Torchmate 4400 and 4800 offers plate cutting sizes of 1.25×1.25 m and 1.25×2.5 m, respectively and are entry-level systems that are ideal for light industrial applications that do not need the ultra high cut quality and accuracy associated with lasers or that of a high definition (HD) plasma cutting system,” Lamotte notes. Lincoln also offers its best-in-class two-year complete warranty on all components. This shows the level of confidence Lincoln has in the 4400 and 4800 system.
Lamotte continues: “For significantly less money, fabricators can often do all of their less-critical cutting, which is typically 80% of the workload, using the Lincoln 4400 and 4800 plasma systems. Then they need only outsource the remaining 20% that requires HD or laser cut quality. This is a very effective way to quickly reduce operating costs.”
Cosmo Automation Solutions has entered the market in South Africa by selling its first Torchmate system to a fabricator in Pretoria, PQJ Projects, and the owner is “over the moon”. The company manufactures custom-designed canopies for small commercial machines along with metal products such as cattle grids, steel plate storage racks and various other products.
In addition, Theunissen and Lamotte see Torchmate as an excellent start-up opportunity for SMMEs across Africa, which can begin by offering cutting services for those wishing to continue to outsource. “We see people setting up small businesses starting with an entry level Torchmate system to offer low-cost cutting services. Following growth, these businesses can then expand, by becoming fabricators in their own right, or by investing in HD plasma or laser cutting systems to enable them to offer a higher cut quality when required,” Lamotte says.
The Torchmate 4400 and the Torchmate 4800 include all the necessary components to operate the system, including: an integrated touchscreen HMI, industrial grade user console with adjustable mounting arm, and a proprietary motion control system. “Our standard 125 amp power supply delivers 65% faster cut speeds and savings of up to 45% in consumable costs, while the Torchmate 4400 and 4800 produce cycle times that are 2.5 times faster than our previous system,” says Lamotte.
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