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Meyda Tiffany Co.: Fiber Laser Speeds Operations for Custom Lighting Manufacturer

By Prima Power North America
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(Right to left) Bob Cohen, president, Meyda Tiffany family of companies with his two sons, Max Cohen, director of hospitality marketing, and Chester Cohen, production manager, with their fiber-laser-cut fine metalwork. (All images provided by Prima Power)

When Meyer and Ida Cohen founded Meyda Tiffany Co. in the early 1970s based on a family hobby of making stained glass windows, it’s doubtful that they ever thought it would evolve into the leading U.S. manufacturer of custom and decorative lighting.

Today, Meyda Tiffany continues to operate as a family-run business, with the Cohens’ son, Robert, at the helm, and their grandsons Max, Chester and Ben by his side. The firm engages leading architects, designers, lighting showrooms, electrical distributors and homeowners around the globe while participating in major industry events throughout the nation.

The Meyda family of companies has evolved and today includes Meyda Tiffany Lighting, Meyda Custom Lighting, and 2nd Ave Lighting. All are based in an 180,000 ft2 (16,722 m2) corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility in Yorkville, N.Y. With many years of designing, engineering, and manufacturing expertise, the company develops innovations, technologies, and value that include architectural lighting for any budget. Meyda Tiffany offers American-made capabilities to create distinctive architectural lighting, from an entire series of luxurious luminaries to one-of-a-kind masterpieces for residential, hospitality and commercial environments.

“We go in any direction that calls,” said Bob Cohen, president. “We service the hospitality and entertainment industry—hotels and motels, restaurants, casinos, and theaters—as well as private residential homes and senior living facilities, among others. There is no order that we won’t entertain. We quote every job that comes our way.”

Meyda Tiffany’s business involves 70 percent custom steel work and 30 percent Tiffany stained glass products. For many years, the company fabricated the steelwork through the use of a plasma cutter as well as a great deal of hand work.

“We process a great deal of copper and brass,” said Chester Cohen, production manager. “We purchased our second plasma cutter in 2004 because fiber laser technology was not quite available. By 2017, we realized that we needed to upgrade our plasma cutting machine. After considering replacing it with another plasma machine or a waterjet, we decided to purchase a fiber laser.”

The company contacted 13 different fiber laser manufacturers of all sizes. After visiting many different laser manufacturer showrooms and comparing technical data, Cohen chose the Platino Fiber Laser from Prima Power North America, Arlington Heights, Illinois.

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The Platino Fiber Laser cuts various thicknesses of mild steel up to 20 mm with increasing productivity when cutting thin and medium gauge sheet metal.

“We chose the Platino Fiber Laser because we needed a production machine,” said Chester Cohen. “We didn’t want to have an entry-level machine. We wanted to avoid the larger laser companies for fear of becoming part of a large conglomerate of customers waiting for a service tech to show up. And the smaller companies didn’t have the resources to provide proper service. We were happy with Prima Power because we felt they had the business strength to support us, but didn’t have the overwhelming volume to forget about us when we needed them.”

The Platino cutting machine combines efficiency and ecological fiber laser technology with the reliability and flexibility of the Platino platform, according to Prima Power. Platino Fiber is available with high-brilliance, energy-efficient fiber lasers from 2-10 kW power.

The cutting head, designed and manufactured by Prima Power, is equipped with a single focus lens and is suitable for all production needs.

The Platino Fiber Laser can be used to cut a wide range of materials. Fiber lasers are more effective than other laser sources for cutting highly reflective materials (e.g., aluminum alloys, copper, and brass). The Platino cuts various thicknesses, up to 20 mm of mild steel. Cutting productivity increases particularly with thin and medium-gauge sheet metal, according to Prima Power.

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The Platino Fiber Laser cutting machine combines a CNC, operator interface and programming software with user-friendly and smart tools.

“The Platino has performed as it was sold. It wasn’t oversold. It’s a fast machine that performs incredibly well,” said Cohen. “The performance and the quality of the parts have saved us so much time in downstream operations, such as bending, post-cutting and clean up because there is virtually no slag to worry about. It consistently performs well and the service is spot on. If there is a service problem, they find us a service tech within an hour. We get a call back and they work through a number of options quickly to diagnose the problem. In one instance, we weren’t even down and a Prima Power service tech showed up to make sure our problem was solved.”

The fiber laser allowed Meyda Tiffany to enter new markets. “We can now manufacture more contemporary products that entail clean, straight, thin lines in architectural fixtures,” said Chester Cohen. “We could not have produced these parts in-house prior to purchasing the Platino Fiber Laser. In addition, 2018 was a banner year for the manufacturing side of our business. We would not have survived without the Platino, which exponentially reduced cutting time.”

Other features of the Platino Fiber Laser that Cohen likes include the efficiency of the shuttle table, the user-friendly controller and the accuracy of the parts.

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Platino Fiber Laser allowed Meyda enter new markets and manufacture more contemporary products that entail clean, straight thin lines in architectural-looking light fixtures.

“The Platino Fiber Laser has taken our company to the next level,” he stated. “It helps us meet tight lead times because we aren’t fighting with parts once they have been cut or having to clean and rework them. Secondary operations time savings was the biggest benefit that we saw after switching from the plasma cutter. Having parts come off the table and bringing them to a fabricator so they could go straight to their operation was really an important step for us. Another thing that we started doing was incorporating indication timing tabs so that we could line up components that have to mate together for spacing issues. Part fit up was made much easier between the Platino and the engineers understanding what the capabilities were and learning how to use them.”

Max Cohen, director of hospitality marketing, added that the Platino enhanced Meyda Tiffany’s image in the market. “From a sales standpoint, if you tell a customer that you are using a laser to manufacture product, it sends a message that we have credibility as a go-to source of quality and reliability,” he said. “It speaks to our capabilities as a company. I like the laser because it makes our products easier to sell. Going from plasma to laser was a big step. Customers love the fact that lead times are now more manageable and we are able to meet deadlines easier.”

For more information from Prima Power North America, go to www.primapower.com, or phone 847-952-6500.

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