Also Nice for Kitting
Another terrific opportunity fabricators can cash in on, by combining sheet-and-tube cutting capabilities with their laser, is kitting. With the ability to cut every part needed for complete assemblies ordered by a customer, a fabricator need not turn away a job or be forced to outsource part of a job—presumably the tube-cutting portion. That’s an advantage already realized more than once by Magnum Steel. Says field-service representative Shane Sawyers:
Following a trip to FABTECH 2013 in Chicago, Magnum Steel placed a purchase order for an armada of Amada fabricating equipment, including three new press brakes (one shown here). The Model HG 2204 brake is equipped with a 19-in. multi-touch LCD control panel and user-friendly screen designed, say Amada officials, for intuitive operation regardless of operator experience.
Included in the kit is a section of 13⁄8-in.-dia. round tube, 0.083-in. wall thickness, that Magnum Steel’s laser cuts to length and then slices at a 45-deg. angle on one side. After cutting, the pipe is bent to a 90-deg. angle and placed in a jig for welding.
“The ability to cut the pipe to allow the welding operation is a big time-saver for us,” says Johnny Czerwinski. “Otherwise, we’d have to weld two pipe sections together.
“On another tube job,” Czerwinski continues, “we’re cutting notches in 2- by 4-in. rectangular tube sections to enable the insertion of mating tube sections. We then weld the two pieces together. Laser-cutting the notches, compared to machining, proves to be considerably faster, more accurate and more repeatable in terms of weld fitup.”
Among the unique features of the laser-cutting machine noted by Johnny Czerwinski is oil-mist piercing—a technique Amada refers to as spatter-free pierce (SFP). This technique finds use, say Amada representatives, when piercing and cutting small features within a part. The oil mist helps to prevent the molten metal from the pierce from sticking to the work surface around the pierced hole. This proves useful because the machine’s height sensor may detect the mound of spatter should it grow too large and cause an unexpected—and unneeded—increase in nozzle standoff. This, in some cases, can lead to poor cut quality.
“We’ve pierced holes as small as 1/8 in. in 3⁄16-in. sheet,” Czerwinski says. “The SFP feature works perfectly.”
For cutting thicker plate, the FOM2 machine offers water-assisted cutting. Here, a water mist cools the workpiece surface enough to allow Magnum Steel and other users to nest parts more closely together. And, since heat buildup is minimized, there’s less need to program the cutting head to jump around the nest to help balance heat input to the sheet.
A Healthy Arsenal
“In the end, with our laser-cutting machine, as well as the new turret press and press brakes, we’re a much more versatile shop than we have been,” concludes Sawyers. “Now when I go out to talk to customers and prospects, I know I have more in my arsenal than the next guy.”
“I see us continuing to grow the sheetmetal side of the business,” adds Jim Czerwinski. “This likely means purchasing additional equipment within the next year. We never dreamed that the laser would fill up with work so quickly. Next time we’ll probably go with a fiber.” MF
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms
See also: Amada North America, Inc