The northeast of Johannesburg is home to the South African steel construction company Bono Steel. Founded in 2006, the company has established a broad base and relies on modern technologies to act flexibly and quickly as a contract service provider. In the cutting area, a versatile 3D cutting center represented a major leap forward in terms of efficiency, precision and speed. MicroStep’s CombiCut, installed in 2021, has different processing options and combines many advantages.
It was a few years before the World Cup in South Africa when a steel construction company in Johannesburg set the starting signal for sustainable success: Wayne Stanton opened Bono Steel CC in 2006 to meet the prevailing demand for rapidly produced and pretreated sections. What started with a profile saw is now a modern company with a versatile technology park that supplies the greater Gauteng area, one of the nine provinces in the northeast of the country, with variously processed steel products. “Place of Gold” is the name of the smallest and at the same time most dynamic province of South Africa, the economic and financial center of the country.
Bono Steel took advantage of this breeding ground to grow rapidly and steadily broaden its offering as a service provider. Regular investments have consistently reduced lead times, lowered costs and enabled stable prices. In order to be able to continue cutting efficiently and with high quality in 24-hour operation, the company saw the need to invest again in 2020 – also due to more difficult market conditions caused by the pandemic.
“We’ve been talking with our customers and identifying the need for even faster product turnaround time. We need to produce components that are cut, ground, beveled and ready for welding. By speeding up our services, we become more efficient and save ourselves and our customers time and money,” looks back at General Manager Wayne Stanton. It was clear: the new acquisition had to provide the necessary capacities for the different and partly complex machined components, but above all the desired flexibility. An intensive process was started at Bono Steel to shed light on the market of existing slitting line manufacturers and their different solutions.
“Combination of plasma and laser optimal solution”
The answer in the end was MicroStep’s CombiCut series, which combines the necessary process reliability with the desired variety of machining options. The 3D cutting center was equipped with two gantries: The first portal has a plasma rotator with integrated ABP scanner as well as two oxyfuel torches, the second portal carries an oxyfuel rotator with integrated ABP scanner as well as a total of four oxyfuel torches. Both 3D bevel cutting heads can also be used to subsequently apply weld seam preparations to parts that have already been cut, thanks to the integrated scanners. “For Bono Steel, this combination of plasma and oxyfuel is an excellent solution. It also gives the possibility to chamfer stainless steel as well as thicker structural steel, especially with the chosen Kjellberg plasma source,” explains Ludwig Oellermann, Managing Director of MicroStep South Africa. A Smart Focus 400 was chosen as the plasma source.
Eliminate manual weld preparation for faster production
Since the commissioning in 2021, Bono Steel has increased its possibilities in the area of cutting. Previously complex manual work such as the application of weld seam preparations can now be automated quickly and precisely. “We use our MicroStep system to cut a variety of materials. We have also started cutting all weld preparations and bevels with the 3D plasma head. It’s more than capable of handling our jobs with excellent repeatability and consistency, even on thicker stainless steels,” says Wayne Stanton, who is pleased, “The MicroStep machine has allowed us to achieve a level of high cut quality and efficiency far beyond our expectations.”