- By nature, manual processes can be far more costly than those that are automated with the right tools. However, for certain types of operations, the motivation to automate goes beyond potential cost and time savings. Cutting a batt or sheet of fiberglass insulation can be messy and frustrating. The fiberglass is fuzzy and difficult to cut straight.
At NT-based Veetemp, a manufacturer of heating and airconditioning systems, company director Stephen Howe realised the potential of an automated duct board and fibreglass cutting process and went on a journey to find the best solution for the established business, specialising in commercial installations, and decided to invest in an ART XR4800d SMART router.
Until recently, no one had developed an automated system dedicated to manufacturing duct board, fibreglass and other insulation material used in the HVAC&R industry. In 2010, Australia’s premier manufacturer of CNC routers and plasma cutters, Advanced Robotic Technology (ART), launched its SMART Router series XR4800d with additional features designed to suit all applications within the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) industry – and there is no other machine currently on the market offering the same advanced features and tools.
“The HVAC industry is a very competitive industry,” says Mr Howe. “That’s why we decided to automate our duct board and fibreglass insulation cutting process in order to be more competitive and increase productivity.”
Mr Howe looked at different machines from various manufacturers but says that there’s no alternative to the ART SMART router, which simply ticks all the boxes.
“The tooling on it is amazing,” he comments. “There is nothing like it that I saw on the market. The toolchanger with the ten tools is superb, the software is brilliant, and having all the tools including a pizza cutter to cut fibreglass insulation available is ideal for our production needs. We can cut circular holes into duct board for our spigots, all done in one piece.”
The gantry-mounted covered automated toolchanger turns creasing, variable-angle cutting, V-grooving and routing of insulated duct board into one efficient fully automated process. Other benefits include the elimination of mistakes and second cuts, no more marking out by hand, simplified complicated-angle cutting, complete dust removal for V-grooving and complete panels ready for joining done in one process.
By adding the fourth axis, ART has created an all-rounder for more cost-effective applications in the air conditioning, heating, sign writing, ventilation and ducting industries, as well as many other manufacturing fields. With the capabilities of cutting most materials such as insulated duct board, plastic, wood, aluminium and foam to name a few, the ART SMART Router is a complete solution for financially sensitive applications.
For Veetemp’s Stephen Howe there is no doubt his investment will pay off. “We expect the return on investment in under two years; and that's maintaining our normal profit level on our ductwork,” he comments. “The monthly costs for the machine are less than the costs for a worker, in fact, the machine gives us the equivalent of three workers. I’m very happy with it!”

SMART XR4800d
By adding a fourth axis to its SMART Router series, ART transforms a once very messy job into a clean, automated process, offering the following and many more special tools designed for duct board cutting:
• Variable angled knives,
• steered reciprocating knives for duct board & fibreglass insulation etc.,
• steered pizza cutter wheels for creasing and cutting a variety of insulation materials.
The machine comes with a process area of 4000mm x 1600mm, perfectly sized for insulated duct board supplied in 4000mm x 1200mm as a standard.
Suitable for the following materials:
• Insulated duct board
• Fibreglass and polyester insulation
• Fabric & textiles
• Plastic & rubber
• Timber products
• Aluminium sheet