Company reaches new heights with one-of-a-kind laser system

Company reaches new heights with one-of-a-kind laser system

December 11, 2013 11:41:59 AM

An overwhelming decline in the U.S. automotive industry has forced manufacturers and suppliers to make drastic decisions. While many businesses are closing their doors for good, some more progressive companies are discovering how to stay ahead of the curve and remain successful, despite the recent market downturn.


Matrix Metalcraft, Inc., of Clinton Twp, MI, is combining flexibility and foresight to position itself for growth, even in today’s shrinking marketplace. The 17,000 ft2 sheet metal fabrication company opened for business in 2000, primarily supplying the automotive industry.


But how can an automotive supplier like Matrix Metalcraft keep growing successfully despite the downturn in domestic automotive manufacturing? Outlining a plan for growth and making strategic decisions to support that plan seems simple, but it’s the key. It is all about effectively managing the company’s business growth with opportunities and customers that fit these parameters. 


Having a Plan


“We focus on keeping our overhead at a manageable level and not overburdening ourselves with added costs,” explains Director of Sales, Ryan Willette. “We try to focus on keeping our top 10 customers satisfied. We utilize the newest equipment to deliver quick turnaround and cost-effective pricing.”


Matrix is continually upgrading and adding new equipment and services to best support its customers. Services they provide include three- and five-axis laser cutting such as prototype and short-run production, sheet metal forming and stamping, complete welded assemblies, and cncmachining. 


Eighty percent of matrix’s business is still in the automotive industry, but they’ve also expanded into other markets, such as military. Some automotive parts matrix supplies include safety brackets, anchors, airbags components and assemblies, military sheet metal assemblies for the M1A1 Abrams Tank, steering wheel armature assemblies, prototype seat frames, and metal knee bolster assemblies.

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Investing in the Future

 


The company’s most recent Mitsubishi Laser cutting system is proof of its commitment to its customers. In February 2008, matrix took installation of a five-axis VZ1 machine with two pallet changers – the only system of its kind in North America. The high-performance system brings new capabilities relating to speed, accuracy and flexibility.


The company started with a three-axis Mitsubishi Laser LZP machine in 2000. Three years later, five-axis laser capabilities were added with the purchase of a VZ1. The company was near capacity on its three- and five axis machines, so the decision was made to increase capacity. Satisfied with his existing Mitsubishi Lasers and his relationship with Mitsubishi distributor RosCommon Machinery, Matrix Metalcraft President Paul Kwaitowski decided to incorporate the new VZ1 with pallet changers. 


Reaching New Markets


The system helps speed changeover times and decrease set up times. Pallet changes only take 60 seconds, and allow upcoming jobs to be set up while a current job is running. The additional capacity will allow matrix to branch into additional markets.

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The system’s cutting parameters measure 122-inches in the X-axis, 87-inches in the Y-axis, and 33-inches in the Z-axis. “The machine’s increased cutting dimensions should broaden our new business potential, particularly in the aerospace and aircraft markets,” Willette comments. “We are expecting to use the new machine to trim large aircraft structural components after they’ve been formed.” 

 


Matrix is already using the new system to cut long class 5 truck bumpers at lengths up to 105 inches. it has helped eliminate the need for expensive, final trim die tooling on parts they’re currently producing. other areas of potential for the new system is in trimming large automotive body side panels, hood inners and outers, roof panels, large truck fenders, quarter panels, inner and outer door structures, and composite body panels.

 

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