The machine runs very well

The French company Mecasem relies on technology from MicroStep for sheet metal and pipe processing.
The Mecasem Group is primarily focused on precision in material testing and measuring equipment calibration. However, one branch of the company is also an engineering company supplying heating and air conditioning products. In order to increase speed and flexibility in its production, the company invested in a special plate and pipe cutting machine from MicroStep. The decisive factor that prompted Mecasem to approach the leader in automated plasma cutting was MicroStep's innovative technology.

On the German-French border, in the midst of romantic vineyard landscapes, lies the city of Ostwald. This is the place where Mecasem Group offers its services. Founded in 1980, the group is a leading industrial laboratory specializing in materials testing and gauge calibration. At its HQs, Mecasem also produces components for heating and air-conditioning technology. “For example, we manufacture pressure vessels and oil separators for customers in France,” explains the production manager Pierre Ruble. The company operates eight branches in France and one in Germany.

In June 2014, an extraordinary machine went into operation, MicroStep's CNC plasma cutter CombiCut 12001.15Prk + CH2000P. The system, designed for robust and multi-functional use as well as parallel cutting, has been tailored to the needs of the company while integrating also components from another MicroStep machine series – the pipe & beam cutting machine ProfileCut. Thanks to this crossover, the machine does not only process plates within the work area of cutting table 3,000 x 1,500 mm, but is also able to handle big pipes up to Ø 1,000 mm and 12 m long with automatic pipe clamping. MicroStep's plasma rotator ACTG® feature enables bevel cutting up to 50° on both plates and pipes. „We used to buy pipes from a supplier. The problem was that it was very inflexible – deliveries took too long,” says Pierre Ruble.

The new machine is in operation at least eight hours per day with two operators taking turns. Around 4,000 pipes were cut during the first year. „There’s probably going to be more. But we will still have some capacity left,” emphasizes the production manager. 90 to 95 percent of the pipes and sheet metal processed by the machine are from mild steel and a small percentage is stainless steel.

Before the new machine was put into operation and Mecasem was able to handle in-house orders in a flexible and fast fashion, Mr. Ruble and Mecasem's CEO Marc Meyer were intensely searching the market. “We have received four offers including a robotic system,” says Pierre Ruble, looking back. After weighing all parameters, the choice was made to go for the world market leader in automated plasma cutting. „We were convinced by the combined pipe and plate cutting machine. Others had that too but we liked MicroStep the most.“ Feelings after more than a year of operation are still very positive. „Support from MicroStep is good and fast. We are satisfied with the machine, it is running very well.”

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