OPTIPLEX NEXUS CO2 was the perfect fit for Yellow Goat Design
Yellow Goat Design of Cambridge, Ontario manufactures and collaborates with architects and designers to create specialty lighting fixtures, decorative room dividers for malls, casinos and commercial buildings.
But these are not standard lighting designs, each one is a unique piece of art. Yellow Goat Design has been creating award-winning designs for the hospitality, corporate, retail, healthcare, aviation, multi-residential, and education markets for over 20 years.
Yellow Goat Design, that is a different name. Of course, there is a story behind it. Nick Lesko, president, who runs the business with his brother-in-law Mike Collins, says his father Jerzy was the inspiration for the company name.
"My father gave my mother Sandra paints for crafts and when she didn't do anything with them, he used them and discovered he could paint. The yellow goat was in one of his paintings. When he took his paintings to be framed, back home in Australia, they offered him an exhibition on the spot and from there he went around the world exhibiting his paintings."
The business started when Jerzy needed a light for his house. With a creative mind and entrepreneurial spirit, he created one and eventually turned it into a business.
Initially, Yellow Goat started selling table lights, floor lamps and other light fixtures through Australian retailers but the market changed due to cheap Chinese imports. That is when the company switched directions to custom light fixtures.
From Australia, shipping products to North America became a challenge. This was when Lesko decided to open Canadian operations, to serve and support customers in the region more effectively. In 2012, Mike Collins joined the company and was tasked with setting up the fabrication shop in Canada.
"Our launching point was to simply replicate what we had in Australia, so we started with a router and some welding equipment and as we got busier, we increased out arsenal of equipment and purchased two more routers and a small 400W laser cutting machine," explained Collins.
Working primarily with acrylic and some aluminum, that soon changed, as the company was working with more metal and designs that entailed more laser cutting.
Initially, Yellow Goat was outsourcing laser-cutting but with delayed lead times and poor quality of cut parts, Lesko and Collins knew something needed to change. The duo decided that a CO2 laser was truly what Yellow Goat's operations needed.
"Sometimes we'd have to wait two weeks just to get a metal prototype for a customer and when the prototype arrived it would in poor condition so we decided to purchase a higher powered laser-cutting machine, so we could do the work in-house and control the quality," explained Collins.
After considering a waterjet and plasma, both were quickly ruled out and a laser was decided on.
Lesko said, "Initially, we looked at laser because of the polished edge we needed to achieve with our acrylic. If you cut acrylic on a router, you need to sand it and flame polish it. The laser cuts acrylic looks like it's already flame polished."
Lesko explained, "We know there are about three top laser cutting machine manufacturers, but when we looked at the market we saw that Mazak Optonics was doing well here. The company has a good product, the price is competitive, and they provide good service."
Lesko and Collins visited the Elgin Technology Center where they brought pieces they had already cut, a 1/2 mm mirror polished aluminum, to put the OPTIPLEX NEXUS to the test.
"It's a difficult material to cut because it has a reflective mirror finish on one side, but the Mazak machine did it with ease," stated Collins.
Yellow Goat Design decided on the OPTIPLEX NEXUS 2.5kW CO2 laser-cutting machine. By bringing laser cutting in-house, it has allowed the fabricator to have control over quality. This also allows for increase in production speed, instead of waiting on the outsourced parts.
Today, 90 percent of Yellow Goat Design's customers are based in the US.
"We do everything," explains Lesko. "We prefer to do our own design. We use our catalog of designs as a conversation point with customer to create the kind of products they think will fit their needs."
Article published in the September issue of SHOP Metal Technology.