"We are ready for the future with this machine"

The Dutch metal service center Sideron specializes in complex job cutting services and has an extensive expertise in the field of steel processing. The company designs and manufactures subassemblies as well as ballast blocks and counterweights, used in elevators, bridge construction and shipping. In 2019 they invested in a combined waterjet cutting system combined with plasma technology for more capacity and flexibility.
In the 85 years of company´s history, Sideron BV has transformed from an iron trader into a steel processing center. The company, based in Dordrecht in the Netherlands, has gradually expanded its business activities by merging with other companies, and continues to modernize, step by an increasing step.

Angelo Clarijs has been working as a business manager for Sideron since April 1, 2019. His first task was to analyze the company and discover potential for optimization. “It has always been a top company, but it is very valuable to examine the processes from time to time and to look at alternatives.” He initiated the process of automation and modernization, not only in production but also the warehouse, administrative, design and construction departments.

"We have two production technologies in one system and corresponding advantages in manufacturing.”

Advantages of two different cutting technologies

Mr. Clarijs also took a close look at the existing machinery. In 2016, the company bought a waterjet cutting system to expand the range of processed materials beyond steel. The machine has quickly become indispensable and has been working 24 hours a day ever since. Every downtime presented a big challenge. Therefore a decision was made to procure another, to expand production capacity and serve as a backup. Sideron started an intense and market research.

The original thought was of a twin of the first waterjet system, but when a combined solution with plasma was discovered, the path was clear. Such a solution seemed perfect to Mr. Clarijs. "This means that we have two production technologies in one system and corresponding advantages in manufacturing.” Take, for example, a flange with a hole. “You cut the exact inner contours with a water jet and the outer contour, which requires less precision, with plasma. That speeds up the process."

"With this machine we are ready for the future and are able to serve our customers as flexibly as possible," says Mr. Clarjis, left. On the right is Maarten Peelaers from Wouters Cutting & Welding.

Sensors for consistent quality and downtime reduction

Sideron contacted Wouters Cutting & Welding, MicroStep’s partner in Benelux. The decision was made quickly in favor of the AquaCut series: a 2D water jet cutting system with an additional plasma torch and a working area of 6 000 x 2 000 mm went into operation in October 2019. Mr. Clarijs was particularly impressed by the sensors implemented in the machine. Not only do they enable consistent cutting quality but external error diagnostics as well, with the possibility to send relevant error messages to a mobile device. With the option of a remote access, many issues can be solved without the need of an in-person intervention. This minimizes downtimes in case of emergency and increases machine utilization. “I recommend AquaCut. It can run all night and, if necessary, the whole weekend."

When checking in after more than half a year of operation, the customer’s experience has been positive. Sideron estimate that 75 percent of the system uses pure waterjet technology or a combination of waterjet with plasma. The rest are pure plasma applications. "With this machine we are ready for the future and are able to serve our customers as flexibly as possible," concludes Angelo Clarjis.

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