Wodonga-based Bertazzo Engineered has acquired a strong reputation for quality component fabrication and installation services. Owner and Managing Director Raymond Bertazzo discusses how his company has evolved over the years, and its recent decision to upgrade its workshop with a range of equipment from Prima Power – supplied, installed and serviced by IMTS Machinery.

Since starting the business 23 years ago, in a home workshop with a Brobo saw, an MIG welder and a variety of hand tools, Bertazzo Engineered has continued to move with the latest trends and technologies as our industry has evolved over that time. I remember buying a copy of AutoCAD Release 9 on floppy discs, and a 186 computer with 4MB of RAM to run it!

Back then plasma cutting machines were the norm – they followed an outline profile, and it had to be the right black ink as well. Laser cutting machines were still around 2kW and could only cut thin material, at a cost of over $1,000 per hour. Press brakes were high-tech if they had one axis back-stop. But regardless of that, I could always see that the future of metal fabrication was to run with this new technology.

Our first couple of jobs were architectural projects, with lots of small simple parts that were perfectly suited to laser cutting. They were all the same, with a nice finish and accurate to the original drawings. The cut parts’ cost was much cheaper than doing them by hand, and there was no need for extra processes.

This pretty much set the path that Bertazzo Engineered would follow from then on. Industrial projects were all now being drawn in smarter versions of CAD, 3D models of the equipment that we were making were also being developed, DXF files were available on request. Fabrication was getting easier and smarter. I loved the fact that corners had radiuses and not just 45-degree cuts.

We needed to change what we are doing and the direction we were going in. I was fortunate enough to attend EuroBlech in Hannover, Germany, where I saw so much more new machinery and ideas. We bought our first CNC press brake, which after a few challenges proved to be awesome. We soon learnt that customers who wanted repeatable parts folded also needed them to be laser cut as well. So then we bought a very tired 3kW laser cutting machine, which got us in the game.

Not long after that we upgraded to a new 4kW laser cutter, always using the propriety programming software to suit the machine. We also bought another larger press brake, which came with more challenges, but we got the desired results in the end.

Over the years we continued to attend EuroBlech regularly to keep an eye on the changing trends within manufacturing. We lost a large contract for panel work to a company that had newer more task-specific equipment – in particular a panel bender. We needed to invest in better equipment, so we went to the market, did our research and ended up purchasing a Prima Power FBe6 servo-electric panel bender through IMTS Machinery. Simon Stain and the team at IMTS, along with everyone from Prima Power in Italy, were fantastic, the project went ahead without any problems, and we ended up regaining the lost work.

Based on this experience with IMTS, we quickly replaced our aging press brake with a Prima Power eP1030 servo-electric press brake.

By then fibre laser technology was really starting to flex its muscles; it was no longer just for cutting thin material. Fibre laser was the future we needed to pursue, and there were only a few true fibre laser machines that we were interested in.

Following on from our experience with IMTS Machinery and Prima Power with the panel bender, we decided to shift the whole workshop to Prima Power machinery and programming systems. After a lot of consultation work with Simon from IMTS, we went ahead and purchased two Prima Power Platino 4kW fibre lasers, including different levels of automation, along with a 200T eP2040 servo electric press brake.

Simon and the Prima Power project team visited us and we laid out the machines to the correct standards, along with our own tweaks. We were able to fit two laser machines where we previously only had one. The lasers and chillers were installed in the roof space with the dust extraction outside. Through all the sleepless nights during the installation, Simon, Peter Tucker and the IMTS Machinery team continued to work through any issues with us and Prima. Not all stories of buying and installing machinery are roses, but after some teething problems, this one ended up with fantastic results for Bertazzo Engineered.

The lasers were named after two iconic Italian prima donnas – Sofia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida – rather than boring old Laser 1 and Laser 2. One of the amazing benefits of the Prima fibre laser machines is that combined they use 60% less power than our old 4kW CO2 machine on its own, and they have a fraction of the maintenance costs. All the press brakes and the panel bender are servo electric so there’s no more humming of hydraulic motors or using up hundreds of litres of oil.

All the equipment has been running relatively free of problems ever since they were installed. The feel of the area fits in with our company’s persona. We have always tried to show that modern engineering and fabrication here in Australia can be as good as anywhere else in the world. We have the newest and the best technologies here in this country, and it helps us compete.

Our passion is to share the knowledge and learnt skills with our customers; we love nothing more than inspiring them, and then to see an idea grow to a refined finished product. Simple changes result in not only a better finish, but in most cases reductions in production costs.