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First Cut and Messer – a heavy-duty quality combination for state of the art steel fabrication
15 April 2019

For more than 60 years, First Cut has been South Africa's foremost distributor of capital equipment and related cutting consumables; and has an enviable portfolio of international principals which are world leaders in their particular fields.

However, there was one area which First Cut sought to augment, and that was the cutting of thicker steel plate. To provide this solution, First Cut recently concluded a mutually beneficial agreement with the company Messer Cutting Systems in Europe, to take over the latter's South African operation. Messer has had a presence in South Africa for the past 15 years, from a single office in Gauteng. In terms of the new agreement, Messer will be able to service the entire country more effectively – via First Cut's presence throughout South Africa. The agreement came into force in January this year, and the Messer agency is now part of First Cut's Machine Division managed by Anthony Lezar.

Messer Cutting Systems equipment comes into its own in industries such as motor vehicle and mining equipment manufacturing, construction, shipbuilding and railroad rolling stock manufacturing – to name a few.

In terms of the specific choice of Messer, First Cut’s business model is predicated on distributing premium quality products. Messer has 120 years of successful track record behind it, and the Messer name is one that is also synonymous with quality. In line with this, some of the Messer equipment currently in service in South Africa is renowned for its longevity, and ultimately, delivering the lowest total cost of ownership.

Two popular items available in South Africa, and with relevance and application in the laser and fabrication sectors, are Messer's LaserMat and PowerBlade units. The LaserMat's many advantages include large area processing with the CO2 Laser: on-board resonator. The machine has working widths up to 4,500mm and working lengths of over 50 metres. Beam path length compensation guarantees the highest cut quality over the entire working area. The LaserMat's on-board laser protection hood (laser protection class 1) permits direct crane loading, even with large special formats or parts. The infinitely rotating laser bevel head allows for continuous bevels from -45° to +45°.

The PowerBlade has a large area for processing with fibre laser, with working widths of up to 4,500 mm, and working lengths of up to 50 metres. This machine is highly dynamic and has simultaneous speeds of up to 140 m/min - with the highest acceleration of up to 1 g. Its track has been specifically designed for laser requirements; and has been grouted after levelling to deliver the highest positioning and repetitive accuracies.In addition to versatile products such as these, Messer places considerable emphasis on innovation, in order to promote productivity. At EuroBLECH 2018, Messer Cutting Systems launched the notable new MetalMaster Xcel cutting machine. With an emphasis on fast process cycles, high acceleration and even better cutting quality and accuracy through smooth guidance from the helical gearing and linear guides, the MetalMaster Xcel is ideal for the busy fabrication shop.

In terms of the range of Messer Cutting Systems equipment, First Cut will be distributing the complete portfolio, and will be able to provide everything on the Messer website. Furthermore, Messer welding electrodes will now be manufactured and sold by First Cut in South Africa. In addition, there are already some 100 items of Messer equipment in operation locally, which First Cut – with its excellent reputation for service and backup – will be continuing to support; and is looking forward to establishing, and then further developing, relationships with existing South African Messer customers.

In order to maintain the continuity of Messer's after-sales service, spares and backup in South Africa, First Cut will be absorbing the company’s current service technicians and most of its other local staff. Some members of First Cut's technical team have also been sent for training in Germany. The new Messer agency, with its excellent product range and existing local customer base, will synergistically and effectively complement First Cut's current capital equipment and consumables offering. Having the Messer agency in its new form in South Africa will develop the principal's sales and service footprint locally; and ultimately, will place Messer customers on a path to greatly improved levels of productivity and efficiency.