Dutch Sailmaker, De Vries Maritiem, has had installed a new Blackman & White automated Orion flatbed cutter into their sail loft located in Lemmer.

De Vries Maritiem is one of the oldest but also one of the most modern sail makers in Europe. Employing 16 skilled staff, the company makes a range of sailing products including sails for boats ranging from small dingies to large yachts, spray hoods, Biminis and cushions.

Managing director Ruben Hoekstra said, “We manufacture products using a wide range of materials from canvas and woven polymers to modern composite materials like Dyneema.  We purchased a Blackman & White cutter about 16 years ago, which has been in operation for up to 8 hours every day. While it did an excellent job, the cutting bed was only 5 metres long. As modern sails can be much larger, we needed to update to a more modern machine with a much larger cutting bed and it allowed us to update the pattern cutting software to improve our efficiency.”

De Vries Maritiem upgraded to the latest Orion high speed automated CNC cutting machine with a 1.6 metre by 10.0 metre cut area.  The new machine in comparison to their previous system is more accurate, faster and was designed for ease of use.  The machine was supplied with a complete vacuum system for holding the sail cloth and materials in place during the cutting process. The vacuum system consists of premium grade tables with internal aluminium honeycomb support, vacuum pipework and a powerful vacuum pump.

Hoekstra added, “The old machine had 2 separate control boxes with many cables which were prone to damage and it also required a separate computer to calculate nesting patterns. The new machine is more robust, totally self-contained with just a single Internet cable and mains supply, so is a more compact and solid machine. The new software has additional functionalities. For example, when the cutter is running, we can then use the nesting software to calculate the best layout for other products and save the files for future use which saves a lot of production time. As the software is automatic, it’s very easy to use, which means other staff can use it so we can do more jobs, increase productivity with the same number of staff.”

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