“We are one of Australia’s leading specialists in machinery attachments for the earthmoving and agricultural industries,” explains Himac Operations Manager Dale Cullen. “We currently employ 80 staff and manufacture 85% of all our attachments in Albany, Western Australia. Export sales are on the near horizon for us and we’d like to see our skid steer slashers sold right across the world.”
Of course huge growth requires substantial investment. In 2017 Himac reached the point where their expenditure for outsourcing plasma cut parts topped $1.5 million a year. “Outsourcing to our supplier in Perth was too expensive so we needed to buy our own machine to reduce costs.”
Dale and Himac’s General Manager flew to New Zealand to meet with Plazmax face-to-face to look at their high production, high speed plasma cutting systems.
“They were a very professional and knowledgeable company about anything plasma-related,” Dale recalls. “They had a few solutions that would solve our problems and cut what we needed, so we got them to do some test samples for us. The quality was substantially better than what we were getting outsourced from Perth, so that definitely made it an easy decision to go with them.”
Himac’s wide range of attachments feature numerous holes and slots allowing parts to interlock together. “We need those parts to be very, very accurate,” Dale explains. “Plazmax has invested in Hypertherm technology so they’re able to get a nicer cut with the accuracy that we need.”
Dale was particularly impressed that Hypertherm – a world-renowned company – had asked Plazmax to build them a machine to showcase their latest technology at a trade show in Singapore. “That’s a huge vote of confidence right there.”
In 2019 Himac purchased a CutAce LT and MaxPro200 power source from Plazmax to strengthen their manufacturing capabilities. “Our laser cutters are focused on thinner gauge material ranging from 3mm to 12mm while our plasma cutter can handle thicker 32mm plate. And because our bed on the CutAce is a lot bigger, we can cut longer and wider parts if we need to as well.”
Not only is Himac saving money by plasma-cutting parts in-house, the benefits are flowing onto the wider community as well.
“We were able to hire more employees to staff that area so it was good to be able to expand our team. And we now buy more plate from a local steel supplier so we are supporting local businesses with more orders.”
Himac has improved its productivity rate and can operate more efficiently now thanks to the faster turnaround time. “If someone needed an urgent order, we have the ability to cut something almost the same day. We did have a good relationship with our previous supplier in Perth but they’re 450km away. From ordering a part to receiving a part, we would be lucky to get something back in a week. So if we ran out of parts or something happened, we were quite limited and stuck. Now we can provide a better customer service because we have reduced our lead times.
“The finished quality is much better as well. We’ve had a lot of good staff feedback about our machine because the quality is a lot better than anything that we ever used to get outsourced.”
Dale has been impressed with Plazmax’s after sales service, describing the company as a pleasure to deal with.
“Any questions or teething problems that we’ve had, they’ve always had an answer and been able to help us. Geographically, being in New Zealand, you would think it’d be a bit of a problem. But Plazmax have always been able to log-in remotely to our machine and resolve anything from there if there’s been problems. So, the after sales has been absolutely great.
“They’ve also helped us use one of their software products, ProNest, to do accurate reporting from our laser machine. They’ve helped us set that up too which has been very useful.”
In hindsight, Dale says Himac can definitely pat themselves on the back for making the right decision to partner with Plazmax. “I did look at a few other companies out there that do plasmas as well…. but for the specs we needed in the machine, Plazmax were a lot more price competitive.
“They’re more expensive than some of the cheaper machines, but after talking with Plazmax and seeing what features they had, our productivity and efficiency would be nowhere near as high if we had bought a cheaper, inferior machine.
“Anyone in Australia who’s searching for a quality plasma cutter with great service and a knowledgeable team, doesn’t have to go any further than Plazmax. And you know, it’s just across the ocean – it’s not too far away and the service is obviously there too.”
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