Brad Kuvin Brad Kuvin
Editorial Director

Fabtech/Welding Show/METALFORM

January 1, 2010

Now sporting three shows in one venue, the 2009 Fabtech International and AWS Welding Show including METALFORM that convened last November at Chicago’s McCormick Place felt like a huge mega-mall targeted toward shoppers of all sorts of forming and fabricating products. To see it all, visitors needed roller skates—perhaps powered skates at that. If you attended, along with the 25,000 others that did so, you undoubtedly came home with a long list of “toys” that you would have liked Santa to deliver. Or, for those that don’t believe—products that you’d like your company to invest in now or in the near future to allow your forming and fabricating company to keep pace with the rest of the industry in terms of productivity and quality.

Filling nearly 400,000 sq. ft. of booth space that displayed the wares of more than 1000 exhibitors, the giant trade-show displayed more than 500 new products. What follows represents a small sampling of the new products introduced in Chicago last November; we’ll present more product introductions from the show in future issues of MetalForming.

Award Winners

As part of the show’s activities, the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Next Generation Leaders Division awarded three exhibiting companies with Innovation Awards. Next-generation leaders in attendance at the tradeshow visited the booths of companies displaying new materials, equipment/services, and software/machine controls, and then evaluated those companies to determine the winners of the third-annual Next Generation Innovation Awards. Winners were presented with a certificate from Division Chair Jeff Aznavorian of Clips and Clamps Industries, and Vice Chair Rick Bachman of Feintool North America.

The Best New Equipment/Service Innovation Award went to Magnetic Products, Highland, MI, which displayed the Micromag high-intensity magnetic filter manufactured by Eclipse Magnetics, based in Sheffield, UK. Micromag filtration technology uses high-power neodymium rare-earth magnets to remove ferrous and paramagnetic contamination from fluids and proves particularly effective with machine-tool oils, coolants and hydraulic-fluid machinery systems. Removed contamination can be recycled, eliminating disposal costs, and high filtration efficiency means lubricants and coolants last longer;,

The Best New Software/Machine Controls Innovation Award went to Wintriss Controls, Acton, MA, for a new version of its LETS Line Efficiency Tracking Software

LETS Line Efficiency Tracking software
that offers state-of-the-art pressroom data collection. The new release provides customers with more accurate calculations of overall equipment effectiveness in applications where the speed of the job is limited by machine configuration. LETS Version 3.4 calculates OEE by applying an ideal rate for each part/machine combination.

Wintriss also introduced its SmartPac2 Servo, (above) a control package developed specifically for servo-mechanical presses. The control uses a inear position sensor to monitor slide position and then save unique bottom and top return positions for each die. It can monitor as many as 10 stages of slide motion, and features three selectable, built-in motion curves for programming limit switch and sensor timing—sinusoidal (similar to a mechanical press), proportional (similar to a hydraulic press) and asymmetrical (three variable-resolution curves are built in, proportional through the top of the stroke with high-resolution areas at the bottom);

The Best New Materials Innovation Award went to Tower Oil & Technology Co., Chicago, IL, for developing Saf-T-Vanish, a synthetic, VOC-free stamping lubricant to replace typical vanishing oils. Saf-T-Vanish contains no hazardous ingredients, uses renewable resources and is totally biodegradable. Drying time is typically half that of solvent-based fluids, and the lubricant does not contain the typical extreme pressure additives, has a high lubricity factor and offers excellent corrosion protection;

Link Electric & Safety Control Co.

Metalformers looking to upgrade the controls on manually fed or moderately automated presses with an affordable resolver/encoder-based press controller need look no further than the new OmniLink System 5100-MPC package from Link Electric & Safety Control Co., Nashville, TN. As described by company officials, the control is ideal for use on smaller presses that don’t need more expensive and feature-laden controls. It features the OmniLink 805 operator terminal, System 5100 card rack and other System 5100 components that provide motor and clutch-brake control, auxiliary press-system control, automation sequencing and interface and production-process monitoring.

Pax Products

A completely new type of shaker conveyor was introduced by Pax Products, Celina, OH, called the EGD (ellipelliptical gear driven) conveyor. The elliptical gear drive produces a reciprocating, varying acceleration motion that conveys parts and scrap exiting a stamping die out of the press area. Compared to a standard linkage design, the use of elliptical gears in a sealed gear box, company officials say, provides four times the acceleration rate and a significantly higher conveying speed at a lower RPM.

At the show was the Model EGD-75, with a maximum total tray weight of 75 lb., maximum part/scrap weight of 250 lb., maximum crossbar length of 72 in. and a fixed conveying speed to 25 ft./min. The company expects to release two additional models in 2010.

Accurate Die Design

Logopress Corp., Besancon, France, along with its North American distributor and U.S. technical center Accurate Die Design Inc., New Berlin, WI, unveiled the 2010 version of its Logopress3 tool-design software. The new version includes Logopress3 Blank for FEA

Logopress3 tool-design software
finite-element analysis) and flat-blank prediction, including animation of the forming process.

The multi-user environment in Logopress3 2010 has been enhanced to better facilitate multiple die designers working concurrently on the same tool design. Also, an often-requested enhancement from users now has been implemented so that when using the Round Draw module, the user can enterndividual reduction percentages in each stage of the draw;

Moeller Manufacturing Co.

Moeller Manufacturing Co., Plymouth, MI, introduced to the North American metalforming market the LifePlus lineup of nitrogen die springs

LifePlus lineup of nitrogen die springs
developed by Italian manufacturer Special Springs. LifePlus springs boast a built-in over-pressure safety feature so that pressure is completely discharged should it exceed the maximum allowable value, avoiding any impact to the body. There are no welded or threaded parts—Special Springs guarantees unlimited fatigue durability. And, some models include the patent-pending feature called Skudo, a cap over the top of the spring that protects the cylinder seal and guides from contaminants.


Lempco, Farmington Hills, MI, showcased its redesigned ball cages with several improvements and enhancements. Newly improved orbital staking enhances ball-bearing retention and prevents the loss of ball bearings during use. And the ball cages are now black anodized to provide a protective hard coating. Stampers that use the ball cages will enjoy high-speed press production with less-frequent replacement, said company officials, avoiding costly downtime.

Lincoln Electric

Amongst the crowded and equipment-laden booth of Lincoln Electric we spied a cool new feature added to the firm’s Power Wave welding power supplies called WeldScore. WeldScore is quality-monitoring software that scores each weld based on a trained sample of an acceptable weld, so that managers can easily monitor weld conditions and variability—on the plant floor or in a training environment. Metalforming companies can use WeldScore to evaluate the consistency of repeat production welds, monitor actual conditions at the welding arc, and train welders when taking on new jobs.


Because metalforming shops

TruBend Series 7000 press brake
continue to get leaner and more responsibilities and work load are falling on the shoulders of those highly skilled operators that remain, I’m constantly on the lookout for suppliers focused on improving the ergonomics of their machines. Not because OSHA says to do so, but because refined ergonomics in the manufacturing environment contributes mightily to productivity and profitability. One supplier that gets it is Trumpf, Farmington, CT, which debuted the Fabtech crowd its new ergonomically optimized TruBend Series 7000 press brake.

Nestled a in a corner of the huge Trumpf booth, which featured six new products in all, the new TruBend machine showcases Trumpf’s innovative spirit with several design features developed to enhance operator comfort and working conditions. Among them: bright LED lighting in front of an behind the ram for optimum lighting conditions without creating heat, and a tilting control panel and height-adjustable worktable to allow the operator to run the machine sitting or standing. Trumpf even includes gas-spring-supported adjustable foot pedals with the machine.

T. J Snow Co.

While state-of-the-art control technology has brought outstanding reliability and repeatability to the resistance-welding process in terms of precise weld timing and current, not until the addition of servo-actuated welding machines has the variable of welding pressure also enjoyed such precision. And T. J Snow Co., Chattanooga, TN, has accomplished just that with its new servo-actuated press welders that offer a slow approach of the upper welding electrode to minimize electrode wear and optimize weld appearance; improved weld-force repeatability; and instant generation of weld force—no need to wait until air pressure builds as with a pneumatic system.

While servo-actuated robotic resistance-welding guns have been used for years in automotive plants, T. J. Snow now makes the technology available for standard pedestal-type machines for spot and projection

Ross Controls

To optimize the performance of press clutch and brake systems on small gap-frame presses, cylinder presses and even small shears, Ross Controls, Troy, MI, introduced to show attendees its DM2 Series D double valve, a Category 4 Size 2 unit with dynamic monitoring and memory functions, optional status indicator for valve feedback and several fault-reset options. Port sizes—1⁄4 and 3⁄8 in. Valves will lock out due to asynchronous movement of elements during actuation or deactuation, resulting in a residual outlet pressure of less than 1 percent of supply; overt action is required to reset the

Wilson Tool

Wilson Tool, White Bear Lake, MN, explained to MetalForming that the 2009 edition

HP line of punch-press tooling
of the exhibition welcomed the most number of new products it has ever introduced at one show. Among the tooling the firm unveiled in Chicago was an upgraded edition of its HP (High Performance) line of punch-press tooling. HP2 spring packs now feature quicker and simpler adjustment, with punch-length adjustment in 0.005-in. increments without the use of tools or buttons. And, the company has modified the punches to ensure maximum grind life.


Industry-Related Terms: Blank, Center, Corner, Die, Draw, Ferrous, Forming, Model, Ram, Run, Scrap, Staking, Stroke
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms


See also: Wintriss Controls Group LLC, Link Systems, Tower Metalworking Fluids, T. J. Snow Company, Moeller Precision Tool

Technologies: Bending, CNC Punching, Lubrication


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