When describing stainless steel fabrication, one often uses words like “power”, “reliability”, and “resilience”. “Impressive” is frequently a good choice, too. All of these apply to CNC Clear Cut’s products, and yet, standing in their demo room, watching their machines in action, the first word that springs to mind is “cool”.
How else can you describe robots that slice through stainless steel using controlled jets of hot plasma?
CNC Clear Cut’s core business is the design and manufacture of plasma cutting tables. But their complete service offering is comprehensive, and includes consultation, training, technical support, and supply of consumables. They’ll even cut some stainless steel for you.
Back in 2007, Paul van Niekerk (now CEO of CNC Clear Cut) needed a plasma cutter, but couldn’t afford one. However, with two decades of experience in steel manufacturing, it occurred to him that he could probably design one himself.
After securing some investment, he set about building a prototype in his garage. It took a full year to complete, and cost twice as much to develop as it was ultimately sold for, but it was a phenomenal success.
In fact, van Niekerk’s first plasma cutting table is still in daily operation today. From that small beginning, CNC Clear Cut has grown into one of the leading plasma suppliers in Africa. Turnaround
time has stepped up, too – the company now builds between 10 and 15 machines a month.
All of the tables that CNC Clear Cut builds use plasma torches from Hypertherm. Anticipating the namechanging effect of Hypertherm’s new X-Definition technology, CNC Clear Cut invested more than a year into research and development ahead of the launch of the XPR300, to ensure they had the best strategies and products already in place by the time the new torch hit the market.
“We went with light and fast,” says van Niekerk. “The base of a table is obviously still steel, since you need the weight for stability. But you don’t have to use huge motors to move the plasma torch around, and since massive gantries aren’t required, we’re able to use aluminium, which is lighter, more rigid, and more resistant to deformation than steel is. Less weight means the torch is able to move with far more precision.”
CNC Clear Cut’s plasma cutting tables start with entry level models of around 1.3m x 1.3m in size, and scale up from there. In fact, they offer the largest range available in Africa.
The maximum width is fixed at 3m, but beyond that, the modular design of their products means that there is theoretically no maximum length. The company has often delivered cutting tables as long as 13m.
Unlike many competing companies, CNC Clear Cut actually holds stock of completed, ready-to-go machines. Clearly, the advantage for customers is vastly reduced turnaround time between the decision to purchase and readiness to fabricate.
They’re also quite happy to custom-build tables when required. “It depends what the customer wants to do,” says van Niekerk.
For example, we had a customer recently who wanted to cut beams for construction. We built him a modified waterbed table with an open cavity large enough to hold a beam on one side.”
To see the machine in action you can find it on YouTube under: Hypertherm XPR300 cutting IPE’s (or https://youtu.be/x2LqUABYG2U)
What makes a plasma cutting table great isn’t simply its ability to move a cutting torch with speed and accuracy. There are additional considerations, depending on what a client wants cut.
For example, plasma cutting generates conductive dust, which can play havoc with nearby electronics if uncontrolled. For cutting thin stainless steels, CNC Clear Cut offers tables equipped with HVAC systems that suck the dust away during the cut. If the intended material is long and thick, CNC Clear Cut might recommend a waterbed table instead. Water also traps dust and helps keep the steel cool during the cut, which in turn prevents heat deformation.
To help customers get up and running, and get the most out of their machines, CNC Clear Cut offers a full on-site training program. Once your plasma cutting table has been delivered, a qualified trainer
will be available to educate any factory staff on how to maintain and operate the equipment.
CNC Clear Cut can also train a customer’s in-house staff in the CAD skills necessary to design cuts for the tables to perform.
This is particularly useful since a table is often capable of more complex operations than a customer is necessarily aware of. For example, CNC Clear Cut’s high end tables can produce true 45o bevelled edges – the first in Africa to achieve this.
WORLD CLASS SUPPORT
The after-sales support that CNC Clear Cut offers is particularly thorough. If a customer runs into any problems, they can get help over the phone, or a technician can visit on site.
And since plasma tables are controlled by computers, it’s also possible (with a customer’s permission) for a member of CNC Clear Cut’s support team to log into the table remotely to solve a problem or diagnose an issue.
SEE FOR YOURSELF
CNC Clear Cut has an active demo room at their factory, where the full range of their plasma cutting tables is on display, operating at capacity, for 8 hours a day.
This is because, in addition to selling tools and consumables, the company also offers a cutting service. If you have a project that needs plasma cut parts, but your business case doesn’t yet support owning a plasma cutter, CNC Clear Cut can still help.
For potential customers, it’s the best way of getting a true understanding of the power, potential, and real-world application of plasma cutting tables, in a far more tangible sense than a website might provide. Clients come away with a more realistic impression of what their chosen machine is capable of, and what they can expect from it.