There will soon be an 8,000-watt GX-F advanced fiber cutter and Element R compact warehouse automation system sitting alongside Mill Finish’s existing Mitsubishi laser. Mill FinishClick image to enlargeby Staff Writer

Brampton sheet metal fabricator prepares for lights-out manufacturing 

The challenge: Gaining a competitive edge on laser cutting
The solution: Invest in an automation-ready fiber laser

In 2017, the Sehmbi family decided to expand their decades-old fabricating business by opening another shop. J.R. Sehmbi would assume management of the newly formed Mill Finish Industries of Brampton, ON, while brother Mani and their father would continue to oversee nearby Millomat Stampings, founded by the elder Sehmbi in 1985. None of them anticipated where it would lead. 

The BB4013 electric press brake from Mitsubishi boasts a 1260 mm (50 in.) bend length and  36 metric tons of force. Mill FinishClick image to enlargeWhat’s in a name?
When asked about the name, J.R. Sehmbi explained that Mill Finish Industries’ original mandate was to focus on Millomat Stampings’ finishing and polishing work. Now chief executive officer, he would also take over the production and expansion of a product line the family established in 2012—fixturing tables, jig tables, and accessories—as well as some of the company’s lower volume contract work. 

Somewhere along the way, however, Mill Finish evolved into a full-blown job shop. That became abundantly clear earlier this year when Sehmbi invested in the company’s first fiber laser, a 3000-watt Mitsubishi SR-F from MC Machinery Systems Canada Inc. Doing so was an easy decision, he explains, noting that fiber offers twice the speed of CO2 at half the operating cost.

He should know. Millomat Stampings bought its first laser cutter from Mitsubishi—a 3500-watt CO2—eight years ago, followed by a 6000-watt laser almost two years later. Sehmbi spent many hours in front of both machines, becoming a diehard Mitsubishi fan in the process. So when he opened Mill Finish, the decision over which laser to invest in was an easy one.

With remote machine monitoring, AI-based sensing, and augmented reality (AR) display capabilities, there’s no guesswork with an advanced machine controller. MC MachineryClick image to enlarge“We have looked into other brands of lasers over the years,” he says. “They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but when it came to Mitsubishi, the quality was unbeatable. We never had any problems. As for the decision to move away from CO2, fiber’s benefits more than compensate for the higher price tag. The operating costs are far lower. There’s absolutely no maintenance or associated downtime. And like I said, the speed and edge quality are phenomenal. It’s a win-win situation all around.”

The timing could have been much better. Within weeks of bringing the machine online, the pandemic was in full swing. “It was probably the worst possible time to spend three-quarters of a million dollars,” Sehmbi says. “I have to say, though, that here again, MC Machinery Systems hit a home run for us. Without any prompting, they approached me and said, ‘Hey, times are tough. We understand what’s going on. Take whatever time you need to get your feet on the ground before starting payments.’ To me, that really shows how personal a company can get, especially when working with a small shop like mine.”

Fortunately for Sehmbi, the pandemic itself prompted some job opportunities. Mill Finish was soon using the new fiber laser to process social distancing signs, parts for sneeze guards, and medical-grade stainless-steel tanks for area businesses and pharmaceutical firms. Since then, the company’s regular aerospace, aviation, and military work has picked up, as have orders from a longstanding customer in the digital media display industry. 

J.R. Sehmbi says that fiber lasers offer “twice the speed of CO2 at half the operating cost.” Mill FinishClick image to enlargeThe road ahead
Despite the rocky start, Sehmbi’s continued success has quite literally opened a new door for his small company. Beginning in November, Mill Finish will relocate to a 929 sq m (10,000 sq. ft.) facility in nearby Orangeville, ON. Sehmbi will then eliminate his night shift and bring those employees onto days in preparation for lights-out manufacturing. That’s because he recently made another big equipment investment—an 8,000-watt GX-F advanced fiber cutter with an Element R compact warehouse automation system from Mitsubishi.

“At the end of the day, the biggest bottleneck is always your sheet metal processing, especially for us,” Sehmbi says. “That’s why beam on-time is critical. However, we noticed some time ago that we would never eclipse the 50 per cent mark, not with ongoing worker shortages, delays in material handling, and so on. The only way to get around this and increase laser utilization is through automation.”

An AC servo motor drive and ball screw mechanism assures repeatability to +/- 0.001 mm (0.00003 in.) along with clean, quiet bending. Mill FinishClick image to enlargeSehmbi expects the new system will bring his beam on-time figure to 80 per cent. And predicting that his next bottleneck would be the bending station, he also invested in a Diamond BH Series press brake with 4.1 metre (161 in.) bend length, together with an offline programming and simulation system, also from MC Machinery. Lastly, as if all that wasn’t enough excitement, Mill Finish will upgrade its ERP software to JobBOSS from E2, then integrate it with his new programming system. 

Says Sehmbi, “We’re growing exponentially day by day, and want to be the best we can in order to accommodate everybody possible. The first fiber machine had already made us much more competitive than we once were; automation will only take us to the next level. So yeah, we have our work cut out for us over the next few months, but I’m confident we’re making the right move and have the right equipment to do it with.” SMT

The "ultimate fiber challenge"

Bystronic is throwing out a challenge to fabricators who process parts in the 8 mm (0.19 in.) range: use fiber laser cutting technology to prove out the advantages the technology can offer in this sheet metal thickness range.

Fabricating case study: Investing for Growth

by Nestor Gula

Ontario shop grows with timely, wise capital investments

Aerospace Manufacturing: Rising Star

The aerospace industry faces unprecedented growth–and the challenges that come with it

KUKA's school of robotics

KUKA Canada is once again offering its KUKA Canada College in 2017. Courses will be offered in January, February and March.


by Noelle Stapinsky

The right fiber laser technology will boost productivity and lower operating costs

Advancing Canadian manufacturing

New show, conference focused on technologies, strategies to maintain manufacturing competitiveness

Cut wood, metal, plastics!

The L.S. Starrett Co.’s 3X Power Bi-Metal reciprocating saw blades have teeth that cut more efficiently, able to cut up to three times more cuts than conventional blades. They are engineered for use on corded and cordless saws.

LVD opens new "Experience Centre"


LVD Group wants to connect its customers to leading edge, advanced fabricating technologies and it plans to do that via its new "Experience Centre (XP)" that recently opened in Belgium, global corporate headquarters for the company.

New Western Canada rep for Bystronic

Akhurst Machinery Ltd., Delta, BC, is the new Bystronic distributor in Western Canada.

Back in the driver's seat

by Tim Wilson

Shops working at full capacity face a new set of challenges

Canada's die and mould sector was hit hard in the 2008-2009 downturn, with many shops put out of business and others streamlined to make it through choppy waters.

Energizing a business

by Tim Wilson

The Problem: Build long term capabilities to serve Alberta's energy sector

The Solution: Cross-train a skilled workforce on advanced machinery

Alberta manufacturer looks to position itself for the future

Panasonic commercializes PBT for laser welding

Panasonic Corp. based in Osaka, Japan, plans to start mass producing polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) moulding compounds for laser welding.

Canadian investment intentions up in 2013

Manufacturers report an intended increase of 2.4%, $20.9 B

Building big

by Mary Scianna

The Problem: Lagging plate processing operations
The Solution: Nesting software to optimize plate fabrication

BC structural steel fabricator improves productivity with nesting software

New contest promotes manufacturing productivity

Shop Metalworking Technology Magazine teams up with industry partners for The Innovation Challenge contest

Stay In Touch

twitter facebook linkedIn