Steve Lintott can point to the purchase of an XR5000 router from Advanced Robotic Technology (ART) as the beginning of a period of growth that saw him expand from fibreglass into metal products. Today his company’s S&S Fibreglass and ProCut keep the machine fully employed manufacturing and prototyping for clients across Australia.

The three-axis, 4m x 2m machine features an additional C-axis to enable the use of steered tooling such as variable angled knives, steered reciprocating knives for duct board and fibreglass insulation, or steered pizza cutter wheels. Powered by an AC servo-motor, it is capable of rotating up to 500rpm.To decrease production time, ART has equipped its XR Router series with a gantry-mounted covered automated ten-position tool changer, which turns variable-angle cutting, V-grooving and routing into one efficient fully automated process.

Soon after purchasing his XR5000 router two-and-a-half years ago, Lintott saw the potential for expanding its use from his existing fibreglass business, based in Woodford, Queensland, to supplying CNC routed products to existing and new clients.

“The machine suddenly expanded the scope of the work we could do,” he says. “Along with the potential for involving ourselves in areas we hadn’t previously been able to consider.”

The machine’s versatility has enabled him to fast-track the development of his 41 Willys Hotrod project, which has plenty of parts machined from 6061 aluminium plate. Patterns and moulds have also been routed.

“You are limited only by your imagination as to what you can create on this machine,” says Lintott.

Lintott had little knowledge and no experience of computer controlled machinery prior to buying the router. However, through ART’s in-depth software and operator training system he was soon able to learn what was needed to operate the router. Just as importantly, the machine opened a world of new manufacturing possibilities to him.

The purchase of the machine has brought with it substantial gains in productivity for him and his five employees. However, any machine is only as good as the support behind it and Steve has been impressed with the back-up that ART provides.

“When you’re a manufacturer and a machine breaks down you need that fixed ASAP,” he says. “And that’s what ART does for me.”