Business as usual at PLT …

8th of June, 2023 Maybe it's a sign that the economy is improving - but we have 4 install teams that went out today to all corners of Southern Africa. But we do have four active install teams, so our National Support Centre in Randburg is still doing just fine. Handsome in Bloemfontein - laser install Larry in Durban - UV colour install Juju in Mozambique - laser install Johannes & Terrence in Giyani - CNC install All on the same day. Now that's "capacity".

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A Handsome Delivery

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a secret drone? No. It's a Super 2m X 3m CO2 Laser being delivered by Perfect Laser today. Our superstar Senior Technician - Handsome - is on hand to check, train and install. The laser was hoisted and lowered through the roof ...

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Locally assembled lasers

Another milestone reached at Perfect Laser. It's no secret that shipping fully built-up laser machines is very expensive (a 40' container now costs about R200 000 to Johannesburg). The solution - send them in SKD (Semi-Knock Down) state, allowing us to stack them much more effectively, saving space in the container.  All of our large  CO2 lasers (1.3m x 2.5m, 1.8m x 2.5m, 2m x 3m, now arrive in a bare-bones state and are built up in our warehouse. It's quite a feat, actually. Our technicians just love a challenge. This local assembly allows us to perform our own quality control, and of course, keep prices as low as possible for our customers.

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This is how we roll …

Fiber Laser Cutter Installation. Monday 20-06-2022 – It’s 17:30 and we arrive in Robertson. It’s cold and cloudy. We book into the guest house and prepare for our week’s stay. We visit a local pub for a pizza and a drink. Tuesday 21-06-2022 – 7:55 and we arrive at the client’s premises. The machine has already been rigged into position inside the client’s workshop and the feet have been installed. We get to work with assembly immediately. Lots of panels, wires, and pipes to get installed today. We push hard and get the machine completely assembled and turned on before we leave at 17:00. Tomorrow morning is calibration day. Wednesday 22-06-2022 – 08:00 and we start the calibration of all the metals which are processable on the machine. The client luckily had samples of each and every thickness of steel so we had lots of work ahead of us. We started with the calibration of Stainless Steel. We were working from 1.2mm all the way to 8mm. Once we had completed all the Stainless Steel calibrations, we started on the Mild Steel. Again calibrating all thicknesses from 1mm to 16mm mild steel. Aluminium followed, and lastly brass. 17:55 and we successfully complete the calibration of 80% of the metals and thicknesses. We call it a day and head back to the guest house where we retire for the night. Thursday 23-06-2022 – 08:00 we start with the last bit of calibration. We manage to finish the outstanding calibrations by 12:00 and we head out for lunch. On our return, we start testing the machine and putting it through its paces. All seems well but some of the calibrations are not effective on longer cuts. We spend the rest of the day fine-tuning. 17:00 and we are done. Friday 24-06-2022 – 08:00 we are back at the client for training. 3 trainees attend including Willie who purchased the machine. Training goes smoothly. Lots of questions are asked and loads of information is shared. We perform tests on each trainee to make sure they can operate the machine effectively and safely. 15:45 we finish off the installation, sign off the documents, and make our way back to Cape Town. We spent the weekend in Cape Town and returned on Sunday evening at 00:00, Job well done.

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Sending BIG stuff to CPT

Wednesday afternoon 15th June 2022 at 16:45 - Our latest shipment to Cape Town is loaded by the rigging company. One PLT-1325 Laser Cutter, and one PLT-FABRIC 1814 CCD. The fabric cutter is the one in the crate - with a high-end camera to allow scanning and cutting of pre-printed fabric.

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Multiple machines to one client – again!

We have many multiple machine clients - but most are bought at different times, so when we have a single client purchasing well over a million Rand in one order, we think it is something everyone should know! The installation (and training) of these machines was a five-day exercise involving two of our technicians - Larry and Reece, This was completed yesterday (9th June 2022). The machines involved were : 2 x PL-ES-3.2M Eco Solvent Printer 3 x PL-ES-1.8 SH Eco-solvent Printer 2 x PL-Vinyl Cutter 1400 3 x PL-Heat Press- 5 in 1 Set 1 x PLT-1390 CO2 Laser (130w) 1 x PLF-30 Fiber Laser 1 x PL-DTF-Mini Fiber Laser 1 x Epson L3110 printer 1 x PL-Heat Press Machine (38x38) And all the associated bits and bobs that go with these machines. Most of the pics are here, including the truck leaving our CDC and arriving at the client.

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From Taxi Driver to Senior Technician …

JuJu started with Perfect Laser Technologies in 2018. Previously known as "the fastest taxi driver in Diepsloot", Juju started off as a casual. Working first under Handsome's guidance, JuJu moved to our BIG Machine Shop and started learning about CNC machines. His progress has been nothing short of amazing. Not only has JuJu mastered CO2 lasers, he is now our Senior CNC technician. He has taken responsibility for his own development and taught himself RDWorks, Fusion 360, Vectric Aspire and G Code. He has also completed a course on robotics. Perfect Laser regularly relies on JuJu to fly to all corners of Africa and South Africa to install and train new CNC owners. At 26 years old JUJU is an inspiration to all youths in RSA.

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Fiber Cutters flying out the door!

We used to bring in one or maybe two 3000 x 1500 fiber cutters at a time, but they have become so popular that we are now dedicating entire 40' HQ containers to bringing in three at a time. This is our second shipment of three massive fiber cutters leaving the factory today (23 May 2022). There will be at least one more of these shipments leaving soon, so book yours NOW!

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Our Tube Testing Centre

This is our CO2 laser tube power verification test centre. At Perfect Laser Technologies, every CO2 laser tube is tested and has its power output performance logged into our support systems. We also produce a verification certificate that gets attached to each and every tube. Our facility is the only one of its type in Africa. The days of just believing Chinese suppliers - that what we order is what we get is over. And we can prove that the tube power that clients expect is what they do in actual fact get!

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Automation and Perfect Laser

We are (and have been for some time) involved in various automation projects that mostly involve fiber engraver lasers and moving parts. Our conveyor systems are gaining popularity in the production market, and the price is very reasonable. Our Fiber Product Manager, Warren Schoeman, recently installed one of our fiber lasers on an existing system to replace an old fiber that was not economical to repair. This is his story : I would like to tell you the story of how we managed to successfully supply and install an automated engraving process for our client, Charles Rust Associates CC. Charles Rust is in the business of producing and marking tags that go onto containers and trucks to avoid tampering. While Charles has done this for many years now, the industry is changing. Charles soon found himself dealing with increased costs of outsourcing work, long turnaround times and inconsistencies in the products he sells. Frustrated, he took his interests to in-house solutions. Charles started off importing his own fiber lasers a few years back. When the machine arrived he soon learnt that in order to improve he would need to somehow automate the process for the best possible results. Having the equipment at hand, he designed and produced a custom feeding system for his tags and seals. This system makes use of a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) which controls an electronic lifter to move the tags along the table, stop where the laser would mark the tags, move the tags along and repeat the process. The process worked well and Charles soon found the need for more fiber lasers. He purchased a total of 4 fiber laser engravers before contacting Perfect Laser Technologies for assistance. I took the call and explained to Charles exactly what we do. We discussed specs of the machines and costing. Charles also explained to me that he had a few machines and he had built custom automated feeders which we would need to configure our lasers to talk to. Challenge accepted. Charles purchased one unit from us as a trial. Upon delivery of the laser, all went well. The laser was successfully installed and tested on Charles’ premises but the real job was yet to come. We now faced the task of getting our laser to talk to his automated feeding system. What a challenge it was. We spent the entire day looking at diagrams, checking the wiring and cross-referencing our laser's internals to one which he already had working before. Eventually, after gathering enough information we started the process, it was not easy. By the end of day one, we had the laser talking to the feeder but not completely. We managed to get the feeder to feed material, stop, engrave. And that’s where the process ended. We knew that we were very close but could not figure out the problem. We then turned back to the existing laser for reference. Turns out there was a special device installed in the existing laser which was sending a finish signal back to the PLC. This device is a solid-state relay. Our laser did not have this. It was late already, around 7 pm when we called it a day. I went back to the office the next day and with assistance from Dion (our CTO), we managed to find and purchase a few of these solid-state relays. We then scheduled a return to Charles to finish the setup, armed with our new device! We returned a few days later with the new knowledge and equipment. Many wires and much soldering later we were nearly there but we ran into a problem. Because Perfect Laser did not build and program the PLC, we were not sure of where the signals were going and how to configure them in our laser software. Again after a long day of trying we had to call it off and returned to the office. Determined to complete the setup we contacted the man who had built and programmed the PLCs (Wesley). He kindly agreed to meet with us at Charles’ premises to work together. Wesley explained how he had set up the PLC, and which signals it was sending and receiving. With this new knowledge, it all became clear how to get the final signals wired correctly. A bit of wiring and soldering once again, and we finally had the signals and wires in the correct locations. We tested the system and again, we only managed to achieve the same results. The machine would again stop right after it had finished the engraving. Knowing that we had all the signals and wiring correct on both the laser and PLC it was evident that the laser software had to be tweaked to allow the correct signals to be sent. Inside EZCad’s ports settings, we were able to quickly determine which ports to use for the start, stop and finish signals. We set them up and ran the process once more. Bam! Success! The PLC was now able to receive the signals from the laser. It would; feed the material, stop on location, the laser would mark, send the finish signal back to the PLC and repeat the process. This meant that as long as there was material in the feeder, the feeder would continue to mark a name, barcode and sequential number on every seal/tag along the way without stopping. Having this system in place has saved Charles thousands upon thousands of rands in production costs, labour and material. Not to mention time. Charles had a huge backlog of orders which he now could complete within a few days. Charles is also in the process of purchasing another 5-8 units from us which will be installed exactly like this. Oh, I should also mention that we have assisted him in getting his other lasers to work on the feeder now too. Each laser will have its own feeder in the coming weeks which we will install.

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Not really thinking things through in the bad old days of 2019

In early 2019, we offloaded a three and a half ton 1530 fiber cutter from a container using two pallet lifters at Vale street.  Reckless? maybe. Successful? yes. Many grey hairs and heart palpitations later ... These days, we have forklifts and a proper container loading dock that is level with the CDC - where all large items now get offloaded from containers. But as the saying goes, " 'n boer maak 'n plan " way back then ... 

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Leo on Guard …

These pics were taken on Saturday - Our latest design to come out of our magnificent Design Centre - now proudly on guard at our CDC (Central Distribution Centre). Well done Kyle, Johnathan and Michiel - yes the spellings are correct.

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New Nelspruit Branch (Mbombela )

With many clients in the Mpumalanga area, we felt it was time to expand our presence in Nelspruit. Our new Nespruit branch is now fully stocked and ready for your visit. Contact us on 013 880 0608 or pop in at 43 Waterwall Avenue, Lowveld Lifestyle Centre, Riverside Industrial Park, Riverside, Nelspruit. We officially open on 1 December 2022.

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New Distribution Centre

For the last two years, our distribution centre we called the BMS (Big Machine Shop) has been shrinking. Or at least that's how it felt to us. With every new container arrival, there was less and less space to pack the goodies. 400 square metres of warehouse just was not cutting it any more. For this reason we have spent the past few days moving into our brand new warehouse premises in Strijdom Park. Behold the new CDC (Central Distribution Centre) located at 12 Remblok Street, Strijdom Park, Randburg. Pop in for a look if you would like to see what all we have in stock!

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