Pro Arc Inc. is a premier metal fabricating company that provides production and short run quantities to many of America’s leading companies. Based in the heart of the Midwest near Rockford, Illinois, Pro Arc fabricates steel, aluminum and stainless. The team has a passion for custom and prototype work and lives for the challenges that come through the door.
Prior to 2000, the company was shearing, punching and sawing material, or outsourcing laser cut parts to competitors. As their fabrication business grew, it made sense to purchase a laser cutter and do everything in-house. Naturally, CINCINNATI was on their short list, along with some Japanese and European-made lasers.
CI Breaks Away from the Pack
In 2001, Pro Arc purchased a CL-6 5’ x 10’ laser cutting machine. The deciding factor was the magnetic breakaway head. “We saw the perfect demonstration of its value when we visited a CI client in the area,” said Joel Clossey, Pro Arc’s Vice President. “A collision happened as we watched. They just picked up the head, reattached it with the magnets and continued as if nothing had happened. We realized this was a great way to save high repair or replacement costs.” As it turned out, Joel was right. The CL-6 used the original head for over 19 years. “We crashed it several times,” said Joel. “We just dusted it off, reattached it and away we went.”
Another feature that sold them was the use of scraper blades instead of a conveyor. While doing their research, they had seen the conveyors used by other manufacturers get clogged up from laser dust and stop working. And naturally, the overall quality of the machine and the cuts it made were determining factors as well.
Moving On Up
Even with heavy use, the CL-6 has lasted much longer than Pro Arc imagined it would. As the business grew and the company was positioned to bid on more sophisticated projects, it was time to upgrade. Their first call was to CINCINNATI and, as a result, the shop recently welcomed a brand new CL-965 fiber laser.
Even with 19 years of experience with lasers under the belts, the performance of the CL-965 fiber laser was an eye-opener for the team at Pro Arc. “This thing is fast,” Joel said. “It has features that are really going to pay dividends for us.” Pro Arc elected to go for the Automatic Nozzle Changer option, which is programed to automatically select the best nozzle for a job and recalibrate standoff. The CL-965 also has autofocus and a camera for checking lens settings.
To come up to speed, Joel attended the CL-900 Series operators’ class at the CI facility. The rest of the team will be headed there soon. “The training is invaluable,” Joel said. “I went to the class for the CL-6 5x10 19 years ago, and the CL-965 course is much more sophisticated.”
In addition to speed and performance features, the CL-965 allowed Pro Arc to cut thicker plates. Previously they were held to ½” for steel, ¼” for stainless and 90 thousandths of an inch for aluminum. This has jumped to 1” for steel and ¾” for stainless and aluminum.
An Eye on Tomorrow
About 50% of the shop’s work was previously started on the CL-6 laser. With the new machine, they estimate this will go up to 70 – 80%. “In addition to improving lead times by bringing this work in-house, the CL-965 opens us up to be much more competitive on higher-end bids,” Joel said.
He figures that the new CL-965 will give them years of service. “CI machines are workhorses that are made to last,” he said. “The CL-6 was still cutting parts on the day we shut it off. I see no reason that the CL-965 won’t perform just as long.”
If you’re thinking of moving up to first-class fabrication equipment that will help you grow your business for the future, contact us and see how we can help.