Too many bought-in expensive laser parts, a plasma cutting system that does not sufficiently cover the tasks at hand: the versatile Metallbau Pfister AG was looking for a compact laser cutting system that requires little space and promises high precision and speed.
The Swiss Engadine: Metallbau Pfister AG is located just a few minutes’ drive from the luxurious resort of St. Moritz. A wide variety of customers from different industries trust in the expertise and quality of the company. “We are very flexible and broadly positioned. With us, customers often come to the office with just an idea. We try to fulfil the customers’ wishes with our expertise,” says Managing Director Curdin Pfister.
The range of services is extensive – the projects, buildings and products in the areas of metal construction and locksmith work are correspondingly varied. The AG, which has more than 30 employees, also offers engineering services and wrought-iron work.
The current showcase project is the production of the façade of the new Porta Samedan shopping centre, just a few minutes’ walk from the company headquarters. The outer skin is formed by a 3 mm thin aluminium sheet, each individual sheet is precisely cut to size with a fibre laser cutting machine of the latest generation. In the overall view, the pattern of holes produces a wave pattern that refers to the watery region and changes its appearance depending on the effect of the light.
Powerful fiber laser currently in use ten hours a day
In use for this purpose: the MSF Compact from MicroStep. The compact 2D system with a working area of 3000 x 1500 mm has been in operation since the end of 2019 and is in use for ten hours a day. “The laser system runs like clockwork, which is very, very pleasing. It’s the perfect machine for our space conditions,” says Curdin Pfister.
The fiber laser cutting system is currently running 80 percent of the time for the facade project. 3 mm anodized aluminum is processed for this purpose, otherwise connecting plates for beams are mainly cut from sheet steel in thicknesses of 8, 10 and 12 mm. Thanks to the powerful 6 kW fiber laser source, sheets up to 20 mm can be cut.
No more expensive bought-in laser parts
The decision to purchase a new laser cutting system was made after taking a closer look at the costs of the laser floor cutter. These increased steadily. The previously used plasma cutting system – also from MicroStep – could no longer meet the changing and growing requirements.
“We were satisfied, she ran well. But it was no longer suitable for our requirements. We wanted a new machine that would cover our current requirements in terms of precision and speed.”
After Pfister had made good experiences with MicroStep, Curdin and his father Urs took a closer look at fiber lasers. For reasons of space, the plasma cutting system had to be sold, a larger CNC cutting system with laser technology and shuttle table was also not available.
A visit to the MicroStep CompetenceCenter South and a live demonstration on the MSF Compact tipped the scales. “It was very nice for us to go to Bad Wörishofen and look at the plant. We were able to cut our samples live, which increased our confidence in the plant once again.” There is now hardly any need to buy in parts.
Problem-free changeover from plasma to laser technology from MicroStep
The changeover from MicroStep’s plasma to the new fiber laser cutting system also went smoothly: “We were able to take a lot of knowledge with us, but also learn a lot from the technicians during installation and ask a lot of questions. This has helped us to be flexible now.”
For Curdin and his father Urs Pfister, the purchase paid off immediately. “This is exactly the system we need here in the plant for our work. It is small and compact and fits exactly for our limited space. The precision is very impressive,” says Urs Pfister, also Managing Director.
“Partner for Cutting & Automation”
MicroStep is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of CNC cutting systems. The company develops and produces plasma, oxyfuel, laser and waterjet cutting systems – from small CNC machines for schools and workshops to customised production lines for shipyards, steel centres or the automotive and aerospace industries. In addition, MicroStep offers tried and tested automation solutions: From material handling around the cutting system to picking and sorting of cut parts.
The internationally active MicroStep Group was founded in the early 1990s in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava. It includes MicroStep Europa GmbH, which offers consulting, planning, financing, training and support for all MicroStep products, especially for customers from German-speaking countries.
MicroStep Europa operates the CompetenceCenter South at the company headquarters in Bad Wörishofen, Bavaria, and the CompetenceCenter North at the branch office in Dorsten (NRW). State-of-the-art cutting solutions are always available in the two training and demonstration centres.
In addition, MicroStep is still represented in Germany with two bases in Kiel (Schleswig-Holstein) and Berlin. For Austria, MicroStep maintains a base not far from Vienna (in Bratislava, Slovakia) and in Switzerland near Bern (at MicroStep partner LWB WeldTech AG in Wünnewil).