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Canada gets first OEM of oxy, plasma cutting systems

by Mary Scianna

Paul Bhogal thinks we’re selling ourselves short in the manufacturing realm in Canada and that we can compete with the best of the global players.

“We should be up against Japan, Germany and the US for manufactured goods. We have among the best universities in the world and we’re rich in resources; we shouldn’t be shocked at seeing OEMs in Canada; we need more of them. We’re able to build a good product at a competitive cost with leading-edge technology.”

That’s why he formed Rhino Cutting Systems, Stoney Creek, ON, in January of this year, Canada’s first OEM machine tool builder of oxy and plasma cutting machines offering leading-edge weld preparation beveling technology for 3D plasma shape cutting.

“Our leverage is our strategic partnerships [with CNC control supplier Linatrol and fabrication profile cutting software vendor FastCAM Pty Ltd.], and the individuals who work for Rhino, who bring more than 30 years of experience in cutting controls, and table design and manufacturing,” says Bhogal.

Those individuals include former Westinghouse manufacturing veterans Dave Mayo, Rhino’s senior manufacturing engineer, and Jeremy Roberts, the company’s senior design engineer.

“Because of our relationship with Linatrol, we have good access to CNCs; most companies who make plasma machines buy the components and integrate them into their machines. In addition to this, we manufacture all the components—e.g. frames—of our plasma machines in-house, so we’re able to offer cost-competitive prices for high quality built machines,” says Bhogal.

To be competitive in Canada, Rhino is targeting the high end fabrication market, “for companies that want to add more value to the cutting process, improve capabilities and become more competitive,” adds Bhogal.

The company’s facility in Stoney Creek, ON, is capable of producing four to five machines a month.

Bhogal says Rhino has already sold some of its machines and is in the process of setting up Canadian distributors in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. The company will sell its machines directly in Ontario, which is the biggest target market.

The Value-Add Factor

Canadian manufacturers understand that to compete effectively in Canada, they must add value to their products. In Rhino’s case, that value is in the design, engineering and functionality of its cutting machines.

“How do you add more value to the cutting process for the end user? You give them more capability at a competitive price. For Rhino, it means building machines in a modular approach and providing the cutting software for weld prep and beveling,” says Jeremy Roberts, a senior design engineer with more than 25 years of experience in machine design and CNC controls.

Cutting and beveling on one machine

At the heart of Rhino’s plasma cutting system is its 3D weld preparation capability, which combines a FastCAM digital bevel head designed for 3D plasma shape cutting with Linatrol’s Infinity 3D NC control.

The FastCAM 3D digital bevel head can tilt 58° from a vertical position for true corners without creating loops on the part. It has three axes of motion in A, C and Z, for simultaneous five axis cutting. It is also equipped with a laser height control, three digital motors and absolute encoders for power off recovery.

“The kinematics of the bevel head allows us to do things other bevel heads can’t do because the machine operator has to offset the table and the head to make the corners. We’re able to move the head quick enough—because of the software, the mechanics of the machine to move 58° right and left —that we don’t need to move the entire machine to achieve the motion for beveling inside corners with a high degree of accuracy,” explains Roberts.

The machines are designed with a modular concept—2D cutting machines that can be quickly and easily equipped with the weld preparation technology for 3D plasma shape cutting.

“At any given time we can sell the machine without the bevel system for the entry level market, but we can retrofit a 2D machine and within a day, a fabricator can be doing full 3D weld prep and have an advanced, higher end machine,” explains Roberts.

The machines are built to last, adds Dave Mayo, Rhino’s senior manufacturing engineer. It means building a robust machine with frames that typically last longer than electrical components and controls. “These are not assembly line machines, but essentially customized solutions to meet customer specifications.”

An important feature of the machines is the vibration-dampening design for improved cutting quality.

“We designed the machine with a bridge to help prevent vibrations when the machine is running. We’ve used heavy materials for roller bearings and forged wheels, for example, to help minimize the vibration,” explains Roberts.

Rhino Cutting Systems 

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