Lantek Helps Deliver Substantial Productivity Improvements for Australian Sheet Metal Manufacturer with Technology Available in North America


U.S. manufacturers can achieve the same high levels of productivity as Australian laser subcontractor Online Laser Pty, a cutting specialist that can now manufacture twice as much as before with the help of Lantek’s sheet metal CAD/CAM and ERP software. 

Online Laser Pty has doubled its output by using Lantek Expert CAD/CAM, MES, Integra and WOS software (in the U.S., Lantek Systems, Mason, Ohio) to power its two Bystronic Bystar fiber laser cutters. Based in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, the company has also added the Lantek Opentalk connection directly to its laser machines to automatically validate machine status and parts manufactured. According to Ben Harris, Programming & Production Manager, CAD drawings arrive in several different formats all of which can be downloaded into Expert where they are analyzed to determine cutting times. That data can be found in the Integra software which combines the times with subcontract costs. Integra combines them with subcontract costs such as folding, powder coating or machining to produce an accurate price for the whole job. What previously had taken several days, now takes 1-2 hours or even, at times, minutes.

Where the material type and thickness are the same, the company nests parts from different customers in the same sheet. “The inventory system is worth the investment on its own. We can manage remnants of material to use them up and keep track of stocks so that we don’t suddenly run out of material. Now, we only need to do a physical stock check every few months.” Once the job is complete, the Lantek software creates the invoice, delivery note and pallet label. It also knows when a customer has an account so that parts can be shipped immediately or, if it is a new customer, what the payment terms are before shipping. The interface to Online Laser’s Xero accounting software automatically keeps this up to date with shipped and invoiced goods. “The MES system and the real-time reporting from the machines gives us an accurate picture of delivery times,” said Harris. “Everyone has visibility of the information, so we always give the customer consistent and accurate information on the status of their job. We can quote at 8:30 am and have the parts cut by 11:00 am in urgent situations. We are definitely more competitive on price, and we can see the profit margin. We just installed V42 of the software and we can now do layouts at the quote stage, so prices are now even more accurate.”

With the old system, Online Laser had difficulty managing 100 live orders. Now, with over 200, it can operate quite easily. “During the Covid crisis, we continued to work, providing an essential service and had around 450 hours of cutting hours ahead of us, a substantial increase from before the pandemic. We could not have managed without the Lantek software, said Harris. “The software has definitely made the workplace a lot more efficient. We are a lot more transparent on cost and we can see where the profit is, which was almost impossible before. It is a vital part of our operation making us much more competitive, faster and efficient.”