Opportunities abound for Eezi Laser

“When there is an opportunity, take it,” said Lappies Labuschagne, one of three active partners in a recently established metal forming business located in Koedoespoort, north of Pretoria.

“Being the owner of a business or in a partnership situation it is likely that many have thought about the idea before, but lacked the business knowledge or funds required to launch the venture successfully. So when the opportunity arose for me and partners Louis Bernhardi and Ernst Putter, we did not hesitate.”

Eezi Laser was just recently established in March 2017 and only took delivery of its own sheet metal processing machines in June 2017. During this ‘downtime’ the partners had plenty of organisational and administrative tasks to complete but they were also not idle in the area of securing business for their fledgling sheet metal processing company, and this has enabled them to keep their new machines busy since they were installed.

The new Prima Power Platino Fiber 2D laser cutting machine that Eezi Laser have purchased and had installed by Talmac Machine Tools

“Myself and Louis are in our late fifties so it was not a decision we took lightly. However we saw the opportunities and with the engineering experience that we have gained over the years we were confident that we could make it work. Ernst is much younger at the age of 31 but he has a number of years experience in laser cutting and press brake bending. Each of us has our own attributes and fortunately we are able to dovetail in our skills.”

“Louis and I met at Transnet when we were doing our tool and die apprenticeships and have remained friends ever since. Our relationship goes even deeper than that. We worked together at Transnet for a number of years before going our separate ways. We then teamed up again at a metal processing company in the Pretoria area where we spent 28 years as colleagues. By coincidence our respective sons are following the same path as us. They both work at a design and drafting company involved in hydro mechanical design, manufacturing and consulting services.”

“The company that they work for is experiencing strong growth and the demand for sheet metal processed components and products is also growing. They were experiencing frustrations with their suppliers and needed to seek a solution without taking on the responsibility of starting and running a new business or division and this is how we came into the discussions. Although Louis and I did not have any direct involvement in operating sheet metal processing machines these kind of machines were very much part of the mix where we spent the majority of our working lives. Our experience involved toolmaking, estimating and sales and manufacturing backup throughout the company so we gained enough know-how and experience to be confident that we could run with it if an opportunity was presented to us.”

The new Prima Power Platino Fiber 2D laser cutting machine processes sheets up to 1 500 x 3 000mm, has a 3kW IPG power source and off-line programming is done with the Prima Power Maestro-Libellula® system

The new Prima Power Platino Fiber 2D laser cutting machine cuts mild steel up to 20mm, stainless steel up to 12mm, aluminium up to 10mm and non ferrous metal up to 6mm

“To complete the team we approached Ernst and he jumped at the opportunity. At the time he was a colleague of ours working in the laser and press brake department and needed a new challenge in his life.”

“We might not be the biggest in the industry but we will grow as we add more equipment and staff. At the moment there are only eight staff and only one is on the administrative side. The rest of us are out there on the floor operating the machines, driving the forklift and doing whatever it takes to keep production going.”

Old school principles
“We operate under old school principles here with one of the key elements being that of focusing on quick-response manufacturing. We did not want to start off by acquiring a bad name associated with late deliveries. Besides we want those orders to go out the door as quickly as possible as this is an important aspect of a startup like ours. No order is too small for us.”

“We think we are making an impression because since the machines have been installed we have quoted on 460 requests and converted 307 of those into orders. Not a bad conversion rate we think.”

“The type of components manufactured varies from general engineering to those that are used in the agriculture, shopfitting, water, medical and enclosure industries. Where clients request welding we also have those capabilities, but if they need powder coating or machining operations done we outsource.”

New Prima Power Platino Fiber 2D laser cutting machine
“The laser that we have purchased is a new Prima Power Platino Fiber 2D laser cutting machine that was installed by Talmac Machine Tools.”

Eezi Laser partners Louis Bernhardi, Ernst Putter and Lappies Labuschagne

For bending operations Eezi Laser have purchased a new Yawei Synchro press brake, also supplied by Talmac Machine Tools

“The Platino Fiber is highly flexible and it is suitable for cutting a wide range of materials, including highly-reflective metals, and with the zero setup time the machine can change from cutting flat sheet metal to processing square and rectangular tubes. Currently we cut mild steel up to 20mm, stainless steel up to 12mm, aluminium up to 10mm and non ferrous metal up to 6mm.”

“Our Platino Fiber is processing sheets up to 1 500 x 3 000mm and has a 3kW IPG power source. The combined speed of the linear axes is 140m/min and the acceleration is 1.2 g for each axis.”

“For off-line programming we are using the Prima Power Maestro-Libellula® system. The main features of the Maestro-Libellula® are a nesting module, tables-on-board (TOB), integrated virtual machine for accurate production cost and time calculation and FBS (fast beam switching) for grid cutting to boost speed in the case of parallel profiles.”

“Additionally we have installed SolidWorks in our design department and this allows us to design from concept. We can take an idea that has been drawn on a piece of paper or from a component someone brings in and we will take it from there. Louis has done many of these types of developments in his life, both for the metalworking and plastics industries. Preferably we like to deal with clients who are looking at production runs.”

Yawei press brake
“For our bending operations we have purchased a new Yawei Synchro press brake, also from Talmac Machine Tools. The PBH series from Yawei was only launched in 2016 and they include premium features such as automatic crowning and reflex, Lazersafe guarding, Rolleri tooling and Delem DA CNC controllers.”

“The model PBH 160-3100 that we have purchased features a 160 ton bending force, a
3 100mm bending length with 2 600mm between the frames, a 410mm throat depth, a 215mm ram stroke and a 520mm open height.”

The type of components manufactured by Eezi Laser varies from general engineering to those that are used in the agriculture, shopfitting, water, medical and enclosure industries

Eezi Laser also offers TIG and MIG welding and powder coating services

“In the true sense we are not yet a service centre sheet metal company although we do TIG and MIG welding on the premises and also have two milling machines and a 2 000mm between centres lathe for smaller machined components.”

“If we look at the processed components that we have completed we find that they are ending up on a diverse range of products in an equally diverse range of market sectors. We really look at ourselves as being subcontractors to our clients. We provide them with precision cut material in a number of hours as opposed to days when it comes to relying on other subcontractors.”

“As we grow we will add more equipment and offer other metal cutting processes and services. We only occupy 580m² of space at the moment and would like to increase that substantially.”

For further details contact Lappies Labuschagne of Eezi Laser on 082 874 1784 or visit www.eezi-laser.co.za