Metal service centers must make sure their metal products are cut, sawed or otherwise processed to meet customers’ high demands with no margin for errors. These requirements underscore the need for modern service centers to have top-notch metalworking equipment on the floor to get metal pieces in and out of the door quickly while still meeting the standards needed by customers. Here is just a small sample of the cutting-edge equipment available that allows metal service centers and others to provide quality, affordable processing services.
Laser blanking system cuts costs
TRUMPF Inc. is launching a new laser blanking solution in North America. The TruLaser 8000 Coil Edition can process up to 25 metric tons of coiled sheet metal from start to finish without any human intervention. It is an attractive option for companies interested in flexible, high-volume solutions for sheet metal fabrication.
The production system is fully automated. An innovative system for transporting sheet metal during cutting keeps the material moving quickly through the whole process. The system incorporates a TruLaser 3040 with TruDisk 8001. It includes many features such as Smart Collision Prevention, which prevents cut parts from tilting and damaging the laser cutting head, EdgeLine Bevel to enable chamfering, and Smart Rerun to save uptime while cutting with re-entry techniques.
The entire line – from the coil stock to pallets of finished parts – can be conveniently monitored and controlled from a single operator module. For example, the points at which parts are removed and stored are automatically programmed and displayed on the screen, and the portable operator module can be used at any point for setup and servicing tasks. TRUMPF collaborated with Siemens on the control unit for the unloading system, which consists of a support conveyor and a robot. The loading module was developed by Arku and can accommodate coils up to 2,150 mm wide and accepts a variety of materials.
Laser cutting for large-format processing
LVD’s Taurus XXL fiber laser cutting machine features a modular design for large-format processing. The machine size begins at a 10-m bed length and can be expanded in increments of 4 m to a maximum bed length of 42 m. It accommodates workpieces up to 3,200 mm wide and up to 30 mm thick and is available with an 8-kW, 10-kW or 12-kW laser source. Parts can be cut on one section of the table while offloaded on another, minimizing downtime.
Dynamics and process reliability are unusually high for a machine of this size. It is easy to access cut parts and load raw material because only the cutting gantry is covered. The 4-m-wide gantry provides protection around the cutting head and nozzle changer. Other features include a second 19-in. controller on the gantry and a handheld control for jog actions. Three safety scanners ensure secure movement of the gantry; 2-D scanners provide collision prevention.
Specially designed laser safety curtains prevent laser light from escaping the cutting zone. The high-efficiency unit uses new filtration technology to increase airflow through the collector while prolonging filter life. A full suite of software modules creates a fully integrated process flow. An automatic 30-position nozzle changer helps ensure process reliability by checking and adjusting the nozzle diameter, alignment and condition.
Laser cutting with unlimited plate length
Tecoi North America recently introduced the LS Mega Laser, which a laser cutting machine with virtually unlimited working length cutting capabilities. The machine has a fully automated mobile system design, which is coordinated with the movement of the machine along its entire length. It also features an automatic production control system that enables operators to program tasks along the entire cutting area, while providing maximum flexibility in all cutting dimensions with continuous non-stop production in different independent cutting areas.
The machine is designed for mobility so that its safety enclosure can move along the entire X-axis, provide plate recognition in any of the indicated areas, position itself in one of those pre-set working areas and then close the gate for cutting. Open areas can be easily used for loading and unloading processed or unprocessed plate. Other features include an automatic fiber change system offering flexibility and speed for both sheet metal and heavy plate while reducing on-the-fly piercing time with the fiber switch in milliseconds. This dual-fiber process allows the laser machine to cover a range of thicknesses with better configurations for thick plate and sheet metal. Other features include twin disk (double-head) cutting technology, automatic beveling and a multi-tool drilling head.
Laser tube cutting configured to user needs
BLM Group’s LT8.20 laser tube cutting system allows users to choose their preferred laser source, loader/unloader style and peripheral equipment positioning to maximize floor space. The cutting system can handle cutting diameters of up to 9.5 in. and bar weight up to 27 lb./ft.
Featuring a 3-D tilt cutting head, it performs high-precision angular cuts in round, square, triangular, I-beam and other special shapes. With a tilting axis of 45 degrees, it can handle complex cutting patterns, can reach hard-toaccess locations and is well-suited for weld prep cuts in thick-walled tubes. The system is available with a 3.5-kW CO2 laser source for cutting mild steel, stainless and some aluminum alloys, or with a 3-kW or 4-kW fiber laser that can additionally cut highly reflective materials such as copper, brass and galvanized steels.
Offering flexibility in loading and unloading systems, the machine accommodates step-by-step loaders for when the bar shape is constantly changing, single bar loaders for prototypes and small lots, and bundle loaders for maximum unmanned productivity. The loaders can be positioned in front of the machine or behind it, enabling users to adapt the machine to available space. For unloading, users can choose from standard, short part and scrap unloaders. The LT8.20 features patented Active technologies., which dynamically adjust to deliver optimal productivity and quality. The BLMelements integrated software suite unites design, programming, simulation and multimachine production management in a single source.
Cutting machine featuring drilling/milling
Manufacturers and steel service centers have been demanding a faster, more accurate way of producing parts, and the experts at Messer Cutting Systems were happy to accept the challenge. The MPC2000 MC plasma cutting machine features greatly enhanced drilling up to 4 in., tapping up to 1 1/2 in. in diameter and milling capability. It features a |robust design, higher acceleration drives and the new high-suction chip collection vacuum system allows for a cleaner table surface and work area. Also, there is a collection hopper for recycling chips.
The machine has multi-process capability including plasma and oxyfuel cutting, bevel cutting and marking, all coupled with OmniWin software. Materials processed include mild steel, structural steel, stainless steel and aluminum.
High-quality plasma cutting for thick materials
Hypertherm’s XPR300 plasma cutting system is an X-Definition-capable system. A combination of engineering advances and refined high-definition plasma processes help deliver unmatched plasma cut quality on thin to mid-range thickness metal. The cut quality advances are especially notable on non-ferrous metals like aluminum and stainless steel because of numerous patent-pending processes that create squarer cut edges, markedly less angularity and excellent surface finish.
Consumable life and cut quality over the life of the consumables get a boost thanks to patent-pending technology that protects consumables from the negative impact of ramp-down errors. Piercing capability is also improved thanks to increased power and an exclusive argon-assist process which enables 30 percent thicker piercing on mild steel and a 20 percent increase on stainless steel. The combination of faster cut speeds, unparalleled cut quality, intuitive features and automatic system monitoring really opens up a range of opportunities for companies by providing cut quality and consistency that may make it suitable for applications that have previously been associated with laser, but offer the much lower initial investment costs associated with plasma.
Bandsaw for high-production shops
Cosen Saws C-520NC is built with quality in mind and features a heavy-duty gantry-type dual-column design, which has made it one of the company’s most reliable saws. With a capacity of 20.5 in. by 22 in. and a powerful 10-hp blade motor, it can handle most any task. The dual columns keep the blade at a consistent angle to the material at all times. This creates equal force throughout the entire cutting cycle, thereby increasing the cutting efficiency.
The saw also comes equipped with V_Drive technology, which allows it to cut harder material faster, achieve tighter tolerances and maintain blade life while doing so. All of the features and technology of the saw create a very rigid and dynamically stable machine, making it great for high-volume production shops that want to increase their cutting capabilities.
Intelligent material distribution system
The Kastorail from Kasto is an intelligent material distribution system that provides picking of bundles efficiently and ergonomically for shipping. At the same time, individual materials, such as carriers, can be transported between different processing steps. The system works with a combination of manipulator and material holder chain conveyors. Material can be transported lengthwise or crosswise in a predefined process-safe manner. For the best space utilization possible, the Kastorail moves on elevated rails.
The system enables a fully automated connection of storage, production processes (such as blasting and preservation) and picking up for shipping. It serves as a hands-off system for transport as well as a shipping buffer. The major advantage is that the loading of trucks for an entire tour can be processed at one single location. This simplifies the shipping process and minimizes time-consuming trips and stops.