Laser Cutting Technology

By 1978, the competition had grown quite strong. In addition to the growing number of direct domestic competitors, foreign firms were mounting a devastating attack on the more common saw blade models, offering equivalent quality off the shelf for lower prices. Furthermore, many users were now tipping their own blades, or even cutting them themselves, further reducing the salable market. Sales were down while costs continued to increase and the remaining equipment continued to age and fail. Ted and Con looked into new technologies for saw blade cutting. They felt that Computer Numerical-'Control (CNC) machining couldn't be adapted to their needs, and laser cutting had high setup times, was underpowered, and exhibited a poor cut texture. (Ted remarked that "It looked as though an alligator had chewed on it.")

By early 1981, advances in laser cutting technology had received a considerable amount of publicity so Ted and Con signed up to attend a seminar on the subject sponsored by Coherent, one of the leaders in industrial laser technology. Unfortunately, at the last minute they were unable to attend the seminar and had to cancel their reservations.

Ted was under pressure from all sides to replace their worn out punch presses. No longer able to delay, he had contracts made up to purchase three state-of-the-art, quick-change, Minster punch presses. As he sat at his desk on the second floor of the Groveport building, scanning the Minster, Inc. contracts one last time before signing. Con came in with a small piece of sheet steel that had thin, smooth cuts through it.

It seems that a salesperson had been given Ted and Con's names from the seminar registration list and decided to pay them a call. He brought a small piece of metal with him that had been cut with a laser and showed it to Con. This was what Con brought into Ted's office. Impressed with the sample, Ted put the contracts aside and talked to the salesperson. Following their talk, Ted made arrangements to fly out to Coherent's headquarters in Palo Alto, California for a demonstration.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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