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Plasma Technology

Mover & shaker

By Lynn Stanley

Agricultural equipment manufacturer brings cutting and machining tasks in house, boosts throughput

November 2019 - Fruit trees are pruned to establish structure and provide avenues of light for a maturing harvest. Trimming also lays the groundwork for the tree’s future performance. J.J. Dagorret laid a foundation for growth in 1997 when he and his wife, Kelly, purchased a set of harvesters and hired a small team to reap crops from prune and pistachio groves across California.

In 2000, the pair purchased the business that manufactured the bin carrier used in their orchards. The Dagorrets expanded their business to include the raisin industry and designed the Dried On The Vine (DOV) raisin harvester, which removed 98 percent of the fruit from the vine. The entrepreneur developed a three-wheel tree shaker and receiver able to harvest eight trees a minute.

The family sold the business in 2005 before relocating to Florida in 2007, where they started Automated Ag Systems with another couple, Stephen and Wanda Mason. More than a decade later, Automated Ag Systems operates 53,000 sq. ft. in Moses Lake, Washington, where it manufacturers 11 different harvest and harvest assist equipment products for fruit and vegetable producers in the U.S. and a host of countries including China, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa.

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Owners Kelly and J.J. Dagorret and their son J.P. were able to bring cutting tasks in house with the Hornet HD plasma cutting machine.

Blue ribbon inventions

The Bandit XPress, a self-propelled harvest assist and platform machine, is Automated Ag Systems’ primary product.  With a four-bin capacity and a scissor-lift design, the Bandit Xpress can operate around the clock in all types of terrain. It eliminates the need for ladders, making harvest operations safer for workers.

Automated Ag’s newest machine, The Cyclone, won the 2019 World Ag Expo Top 10 New Products Competition in February. In August, Automated Ag field tested a hybrid system for automated apple picking.

Innovation continues to drive growth for the company. It does outsource some cutting and machining tasks, but the desire to reduce costs and boost throughput prompted Automated Ag to shop for a solution that would allow it to bring such work in house.

“We did our homework,” says J.J. Dagorret. He considered several equipment manufacturers but says that a 5-ft. by 12-ft. high-definition CNC plasma cutter from Hornet Cutting Systems contained several attractive features.

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“We liked what the machine had to offer and the way it is built,” he says. “We also liked the way Hornet Cutting Systems stands behind its products and the service it provides.”

Automated Ag installed the Hornet HD CNC plasma cutter in 2017. The machine’s heavy-wall steel tubing frame and gantry beam with precision ground linear rails on the X and Y axis provide optimal motion control and accuracy. Superior servo motors and motion control systems optimize the performance of Hypertherm’s patented True Hole cutting technology for mild steel.

“It produces significantly better hole quality than what has been previously possible using plasma and it accomplishes the task without operator intervention,” says Hornet Cutting Systems President Brice Turner.

A new leaf

“True Hole technology eliminates drilling and punching, which saves a lot of time,” says Dagorret. “We estimate that productivity has increased by 35 percent.”

The Hornet HD plasma cutter allows Automated Ag to conduct research and development programs faster and more efficiently. “It’s led to new ideas and products that wouldn’t have been possible before,” he says. “We can cut new parts on site when we need them and put them to the test immediately.”

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The plasma cutter is rated for 1½-in. production piercing on carbon steel and can accommodate sheet sizes up to 5 ft. by 12 ft. “We cut all our parts for our machines in house, including wheel centers, brackets, gussets, custom signs and logos,” Dagorret notes.

In addition to part quality, machine reliability and durability have given Automated Ag the greenlight on-time it needs to meet customer delivery requirements.

“We have about 5,000 hours of work on the plasma cutter, yet it still runs like new,” says Dagorret. “There’s no horsing around with this machine. It just runs.”

Ease of use, setup and aftermarket support have helped forge a partnership between Automated Ag and Hornet Cutting Systems. “I don’t usually talk things up,” says Dagorret, “but I talk this machine up all the time. I can’t say one bad thing about it.” FFJ

Sources

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Beckwood Press Co. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters Triform

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc.

LASER TECHNOLOGY

Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. Mazak Optonics Corp. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC MC Machinery Systems Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SigmaTEK Systems LLC

BEVELING

Murata Machinery, USA, Inc. Davi Inc. Striker Systems
Steelmax Tools LLC TRUMPF Inc.

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

COIL PROCESSING

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Bradbury Group MTS Sensors Rolleri USA

STEEL

Burghardt + Schmidt Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial Automec Inc. BLM Group
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies SafanDarley

WATERJET

Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

PUNCHING

Barton International

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc. Behringer Saws Inc.

WELDING

Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company

 

MetalForming Inc.

 

 

 

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

 

 

 

Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

 


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