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Tapping into greater speed and efficiency


Absolute Welding Services




E-TAP Mechanised Tapping Arm


Being able to tap holes 10 to 15 times faster than ever before has given Australia’s Absolute Welding Services an unexpected competitive edge.

Director Sean Gardiner didn’t plan to invest in new technology but spotted Plazmax demonstrating their E-TAP mechanised tapping arm at a trade show in Melbourne in mid-2023.

“It was a spur of the moment thing,” Sean recalls. “Once I saw what the machine could do, I thought ‘that could benefit us hugely’. Within a few weeks we had one installed in our workshop and over the last two or three months we would have tapped well over 3000 holes.”

The efficiency gains will free up staff to take on extra work and provide greater flexibility in the workshop. “It also means we can price jobs a little bit more accordingly because we can do them quicker. Sometimes that’s the difference between winning the job or not.”

Absolute Welding Services is a family-owned company based 125km southwest of Sydney. They produce a large volume of small internal components for Komatsu Mining and a local power transformer manufacturer, among other clients. “Just little bits and pieces – 1000 of this, 1000 of that type of thing.”

The company’s new E-TAP mechanised tapping arm can handle M24 taps (24mm bolt) and is mounted to an industrial strength worktable with rubber casters for easy maneuvering around the workshop. You can automatically select the parameters you want, or manually enter your own torque, thread pitch, speed and depth.

“You just pop the tap in and it clicks into place and away you go,” Sean says. “You select the size on the touch-screen controller that you want – whether it’s a 10mm or a 12mm or 14mm – and basically line it up at the hole and push the button. It’s super simple. Everything’s quick release and we didn’t need to buy extra tooling specific for it, it just uses standard taps which is good.”

The tapping arm’s unique head can also swivel to a perfect 90 degrees, allowing you to tap horizontal holes when required.

“That’s very handy if you’ve got a big job and you’ve got holes in the top and side. So you can do the ones in the top and then swivel the head around 90 degrees and get in and do the ones on the side as well.”

Sean’s team includes several apprentices through to highly experienced boilermaker tradesman. Every single member of the team is now successfully using the Plazmax E-TAP mechanised tapping arm thanks to its intuitive, automatic operation.

“It only take a few minutes to get the hang of it. Whereas before, you needed a bit of experience in manual tapping to know how hard you can push something and when you need to back off a little bit. This machine is programmed to stop and reverse if it’s getting too tight or the hole’s too small so it doesn’t break anything.”

Sean says Plazmax’s customer service has been excellent so far, with only a few questions having arisen at the very beginning about the machine’s operation. “We sent them an email and they responded the same day and answered all the questions. So far, we haven’t really needed any after sales support because it’s just worked as it should.”

Absolute Welding Services has a loyal customer base and solid reputation, meaning they never have to go looking for work – it always comes to them. “I wouldn’t say we’ve taken on more work specifically because of this e-tapping machine but it’s definitely sped up the work we’ve got. That time saving will definitely add up over time; just being able to tap the hole so much quicker. It is a good investment.”

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