Brad Kuvin Brad Kuvin
Editorial Director
Lou Kren Lou Kren
Senior Editor

Tons of New Tech at FABTECH 2022

January 20, 2023

Nearly 30,000 metal forming and fabricating professionals—from 70 countries and all 50 states—descended upon the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta this past November, taking in groundbreaking innovations, inspiring keynote presentations and solution-based education sessions. Attendee numbers represent an increase of 22.6 percent over the 2021 event, spreading out through 610,000-plus sq. ft. of exhibit space that featured nearly 1200 exhibitors. In fact, the show floor measured 19.5-percent larger than in 2021 and welcomed 30-percent more exhibitors. Eight technology pavilions covered four halls: METALFORM, 3D/Additive Manufacturing, Forming & Fabricating, Finishing, Tube/Pipe, Robotics and Industrial Automation, Welding and Welding Automation. 

Read on for some of the technology spied by the editors of MetalForming, an official publication of FABTECH and official publication of event partner Precision Metalforming Association. And, see our roundup of laser cutting technology presented at FABTECH.

Be sure to save September 11-14 on your calendar for FABTECH 2023 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. Registration is expected to open in the spring of 2023. Visit for updates.

Electric Drive and Tool Changer Highlight New Amada EGB 6020 ATCe Press Brake

Amada-EGB6020ATCe-press brake-fabtechAmada America used its prominent FABTECH stage to introduce, among other equipment, the EGB 6020 ATCe electric press brake (66.9 in. between frames, bend force to 60 tons, and with a 10-in. stroke), promising to reduce power consumption while providing automated tool setup and highly repeatable bend-angle accuracy. As noted during a press conference on the show floor, the high-speed machine best-suits processing of high-mix, low-volume parts, and even boasts features to make it simple to set up and run by inexperienced operators—notably, an HMI tablet PC installed on the press-brake ram and a backgauge camera connected to the tablet to provide convenient process monitoring for the operator. 

Also new and on display along with the press brake: the Amada AMNC 4i control, which provides operator face recognition, as well as voice-command functionality.

ABB, Lincoln Electric Team for Cobot GMAW Cell

ABB-Lincoln-FABTECH-2022-Cobot-Welding-CellABB and Lincoln Electric offered live demos of a new collaborative-robot (cobot) gas-metal-arc-welding cell, featuring an ABB GoFa CRB 15000 cobot and the Lincoln Electric Power Wave R450 welding package. The package includes proprietary programming software that greatly eases cell programming and the setting of welding parameters, according to ABB officials. 

The cell includes a user-friendly interface for simplified programming, with built-in welding libraries where users only need to enter the material type and material thickness, and move the robot to the beginning and end of the weld. All welding parameters and cobot travel speed then are set, and with the push of a button, the cobot is ready to weld. Learning to operate this welding package typically takes less than 1 hr., according to company officials, which enables a user to weld on the same day that the equipment arrives.

Cell components include the ABB six-axis GoFa CRB 15000 cobot, with 950-mm reach and 5-kg payload; the Lincoln Power Wave R450; a Lincoln Magnum Pro air-cooled welding torch; Cooper cobot interface; mobile cart; and torch-dress package.

The cell, designed for small- to medium-sized manufacturing operations and first-time users of robotic welding equipment, reportedly offers simple job changeover and is well-suited for both low-volume, high-mix and high-volume, low-mix operations.

New Single-Reel Uncoiler Design

Coe-FABTECH-2022-single-reel-coil-handlingCoe Press Equipment debuted a redesign of its single-reel uncoilers. Featuring a new modular design, the reels allow users to add optional features at later dates more easily, helping them to adapt to changing shop-floor needs. Additionally, whereas the previous model featured weldments, the new design employs bolted components, resulting in more robust and reliable reels, according to company officials. 

The redesigned reels can handle coil weight to 60,000 lb., and process material with yield strength to 300 ksi. Use the reels for coil widths to 78 in., OD to 72 in. and ID to 24.75 in. The reels can be configured to work in pulloff applications with power straighteners and roll forming equipment, or can be provided as payoff reels with drive mechanisms to unwind the coil built into the machines, and with AC variable-speed drives in sizes to 20 hp.

ERP and Other Business-Management Software for Manufacturers

ECI-FABTECH-2022-Deacom-ERP-Paperless-PartsECI displayed its business-management software, including the  Deacom enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for process manufacturers and distributors. ECI announced that Deacom recently had successfully completed the Technology Evaluation Centers certification program for the fourth time. An analysis conducted by TEC found that Deacom ERP is best-suited for process manufacturing and distribution companies with revenues ranging from $50 million to $1 billion and can scale to accommodate the needs of larger enterprises, ECI reports. The TEC Certification Report also found that Deacom ERP is dominant in five of the seven most common ERP modules for process-manufacturing solutions, including Process Manufacturing Management, Product Technology and Quality Management.

ECI also detailed visitors on the extension of its strategic partnership with Paperless Parts, a provider of estimating and quoting software for job shops and contract manufacturers, and on a new integration between ECI’s JobBoss2 manufacturing-specific ERP platform and the Paperless Parts quoting platform.

Single-Piece Consumables Cartridge for Plasma Cutting Units

Hypertherm-FABTECH-2022-HPR-Consumable-Cartridge-plasma-cuttingHypertherm Associates featured its HPR cartridge consumable platform for HPRXD plasma cutting units. The HPR cartridge provides a simple, single-piece alternative to traditional plasma consumables that reportedly enables enhanced cut quality while reducing operating costs. One cartridge replaces five standard consumables, and the toolless consumable change allows the cartridge to be replaced without removing the torch. The clearly marked single-piece consumable cartridge eliminates stack-up errors that can occur when replacing multiple consumable components, with the added benefit of contributing to simplified operator training.

For mild steel cutting at 80, 130 and 260 A with HPRXD units, users will experience longer life, fewer consumable errors and improved cut quality, according to company officials.

Updated Software for Fabricating Operations and Management

Lantek-FABTECH-2022-Global-ReleaseLantek showcased Lantek Global Release 2022, which boasts more than 80 improvements and advances, designed to optimize fabricators’ flexibility, usability and automation. For example, Lantek Expert CAD/CAM nesting software includes a redesigned module that enables application of automatic tagging technology, providing improved configuration options to adapt to any part geometry or level of cut quality. The new version also eases interpretation of bending-line technology from the import stage, as well as the automatic import of nests created by external systems including the automatic detection of repeated parts. Additionally, new options have been added for the semiautomatic generation and modification of scrap.

Quoting, via improved integration of Lantek Flex3D with Lantek MES and Lantek Integra, now allows new options for importing, nesting, and time and cost calculation in the tube/profile parts quoting module. Support for assembly quoting also has been improved, thanks to a new, intuitive ability to browse the entire assembly structure of components and the operations involved in the calculation of costs and prices for quotes.

And, Lantek MES and Lantek Integra, which oversee workshop management and help track resource loading, orders, delivery dates, etc., have been upgraded to improve traceability, the ability to record information on downtime and reasons for parts scrapped during production.

Long-Lasting Nonwoven Flap Discs Deliver Quick Cutting, Fine Finishes

Norton-FABTECH-2022-Vortex-Rapid-Prep-Flap-Discs-finishingNorton | Saint-Gobain Abrasives introduced Norton Vortex Rapid Prep nonwoven flap discs that last longer and produce significantly increased cutting rates and smear-free finishes, according to company officials. Vortex agglomerated aluminum-oxide-grain technology reportedly enables the cutting power of a coarser grit while producing a finer finish in one abrasives-disc product. The company reports that based on tests performed, the nonwoven discs can increase material removal rates by more than 50 percent as compared to nonwoven medium-grit flap discs. 

Ideal for light blending, stripping, edge breaking and surface-prep applications in metal fabrication and welding, the flap discs feature special 3D nonwoven abrasive layers. This design ensures uniform finishing with a consistently low surface-finish value. In addition, multiple layers of surface-conditioning material provide added life, fewer disc changes for better efficiency and reduced vibration. The discs also feature Norton’s Clean Bond resin technology for smear-free finishes, even on high-nickel-content alloys, and reduced loading when cutting aluminum and other softer metals. They also provide forgiveness and reduced vibration on uneven surfaces. The discs are offered in fine, very fine, medium and coarse grits.

Extended Range for Cobot Welding and Other Tasks

Universal-Robots-Vectis-Automation-FABTECH-2022-ParkNArc-cobot-welding-baseWelding and cobot-base extenders took center stage at the Universal Robots (UR) booth, as company officials note that welding has become the fastest-growing application segment for UR, growing more than 80 percent the first nine months of 2022 as compared to 2021. With this backdrop, Vectis Automation debuted at the UR booth the Park’N’Arc (pictured), a rotational range extender that allows for the base of cobot to be manually moved to various locations in welding and other applications. 

“Compared to a short linear track, the Park’N’Arc is an improved design for increasing range as the cobot base can be translated nearly 8 ft. in a linear direction while maintaining simplicity, robust cable management and portability,” says Josh Pawley, cofounder of Vectis Automation. 

With another new take on welding larger parts, typically out of the cobot’s reach, again at the UR booth, Hirebotics and partner Kinetic Technologies LLC launched the RT1, a new cobot-controlled rotary table designed to maximize welding capacity. 

“The need for this system is twofold,” says Rob Goldiez, cofounder of Hirebotics. “It gives users the ability to rotate the part to the front and back for welding. And, it gives users with high-volume production the ability to have separate load and weld stations; loading a part on one side while the cobot is welding on the other, increasing arc-on time and throughput.”

New Press Control Highlights Amada Press Presence

Amada Press System America Inc. displayed two direct-drive servo presses, models SDE8018i3 and SDE1522i3, as well as a crank-motion press, the TP-60FX, its Orii LCC06HR3 automated feed system, and an MEC spring machine, model SH-8A. But highlighting the booth was the North American debut of the new i3 control system, enabling high accuracy forming with improved productivity, explained company officials, and allowing direct connection to an automatic feed system for control of both the press and the feeder with one operator interface. In particular, the SDE8018i3 demonstration showcased the ability to reduce noise on the production floor via special slide-motion programming. And, a Yaskawa cobot demonstrated how robotics can be partnered with the presses for loading and unloading of parts.

Beckwood Ushers in a “New Era” in Press Technology

Beckwood LSPBeckwood leveraged the FABTECH technology stage to unveil its new product line, Beckwood LSP (linear servo press)—what the company refers to as a “new era of press technology offering a high degree of forming flexibility at production-level speeds without the use of hydraulic or mechanical flywheel systems.” By reducing the number of moving components required to generate force, company officials explained, metal formers will experience a simplified design that allows for easy setup and troubleshooting, and zero maintenance for millions of cycles.

New to the press industry, the firm says, the patent-pending LSP line runs entirely on electricity and combines the flexibility of hydraulic presses with the performance of servomechanical presses. Because linear servo presses achieve full tonnage throughout the stroke, bottom-dead center (BDC) is eliminated. This means there is no tonnage loss above BDC, and press tonnage can be appropriately sized, resulting in upfront cost savings.

On display at FABTECH: the model LSP-250-3660, which features 250 tons of force rated anywhere in the stroke via an all-electric actuation system with two linear servo actuators; and a 36 by 60-in. forming area. The press requires no crankshaft, counterbalance, flywheel, centralized lubrication or hydraulic power unit.

Bosch Rexroth Highlights Advanced Resistance Welding Control and Analytics Portfolio

Bosch Rexroth presented its PRC7000 family of adaptive resistance welding controls, along with updates on the company’s ctrlX Automation platform and information on its Weld Spot Analytics solution.

The PRC7000 system features a dual-processor architecture for process control and communications, enabling high data-transfer rates, MetalForming learned during a booth tour, without affecting the welding process control. This enables automotive manufacturers and others using high-throughput automated welding systems to benefit from the highest-quality weld control and faster, more user-friendly commissioning. 

We also took a look at the firm’s Weld Spot Analytics cloud-based Artificial Intelligence of Things solution for the automotive welding industry. It helps welding and quality engineers make faster, more accurate decisions about their process quality while avoiding inefficiencies. Weld Spot Analytics features:

  • Machine learning-based analytics (nugget-size prediction, for example)
  • Centralized data collection and dashboarding of all welding data
  • Faster reaction time, thanks to its Smart Notification Engine
  • A modern user interface with a role-based authorization mechanism.

Cincinnati Inc. Joins the Cobot Party

Cincinnati Cobotic photo FabtechCobots were everywhere throughout FABTECH, including the booth of Cincinnati Inc., which debuted its Cobotic 100T arc-welding cell, referred to as the first of its kind for gas-tungsten-arc welding. Among key features identified during a booth tour: automatic safety doors, a robust and compact structure, an E-stop on both sides of the cell along with other integrated safety features including continuous robot-elbow monitoring and forklift or crane pickup points. 

With a working range of 4 by 8 ft., the workcell suits large and small production batches. Explains Ryan Lemmel, business unit leader, aftersales, describing the system’s advanced automation features:

“With a touchscreen control interface and intuitive programming buttons, processes are quick and simple. We’ve eliminated complicated offline programming, allowing the robot to be programmed using a tablet and buttons on the torch. The 100T autonomously detects sheet metal deformation without operator intervention. Automating the welding process maximizes limited resources and advances productivity by allowing shop floor personnel to be allocated away from welding operations.”

Yaskawa’s ArcWorld HC—A Flexible Human-Collaborative Workcell for Robotic Welding

Yaskawa-ArcWorld HC-FabtechDesigned for human-collaborative (HC) interaction, the flexible ArcWorld HC system from Yaskawa Motoman proves ideal for the fabrication of small- to medium-size parts. Use the newly debuted cell—a pre-engineered mobile cart system well-suited for high-mix, low-volume production—to replace or supplement manual welding processes, such as pre-assembly before welding in larger robotic workcells.

The ArcWorld HC Joins Yaskawa’s proven line of ArcWorld welding workcells as a portable job shop with three-sided access. It comes complete with a 1200 by 2400-mm perforated fixture table; a single human-collaborative HC10DTP robot; retractable arc curtain; built-in exhaust hood; a compatible Miller, Lincoln Electric, SKS, OTC or Fronius power supply; and more. Among its features: Power and Force Limiting (PFL) technology for safe operation, and hand-guided teaching for easy programming without a pendant. Max working range: 1379 mm; payload capacity, 10 kg.

OTC Daihen Hits a Home Run with its New Compact Robotic-Welding Cell

OTC-Daihen-Eco-Arc-MiniOTC Daihen packed several pre-engineered, production robotic arc-welding systems into its booth, all featuring robotic arms matched with welding power supplies and part-positioning equipment, and promising to deliver low-spatter welding on a variety of materials. Center stage at the booth: the firm’s new Eco-Arc-Mini cell, combining an FD-V8 welding robot (8-kg payload, 1.4-m reach) with a Welbee II WB-P402 welding power source (400-A, pulsed GMAW) demonstrating mild-steel welding in a compact, portable, fully production-capable cell.  

The system features a common base design; stationary weld tables with two work zones, and a guarded enclosure with manual swing doors. During our demonstration, we also spied several features designed to protect the cell operator, including a built-in fume hood, arc-flash protection and pinch-point protection.  

Wintriss Showcases New, Powerful Features in its SmartPac Pro Press Automation Controller

WIN FABTECH 2022 NR 1Wintriss Controls Group demonstrated new, advanced features in its SmartPac Pro press automation controller, as well as its ProCamPac Pro programmable limit switch (PLS), specifically developed for the SmartPac Pro. The new PLS includes counter-driven outputs that operate only on specified press strokes, to precisely control gagging operations; new asymmetrical toggle outputs for controlling complex configurable tooling; and additional timed outputs for optimum versatility. Operating similarly, a new pulsed counter cam output is programmed with an “on angle” and a dwell time, instead of an on-off output. Useful when running configurable tooling, a new channel-always-on cam output will simply turn on and stay on until a new tool is loaded. 

The ProCamPac Pro PLS also features a unique triggered-cam output that actuates a precision one-time cam-timing signal based on a preset trigger such as an external input from ancillary equipment, an extended period of machine idle time, or a job change. This output type proves ideal for diverting parts during a warm-up period, QC checks or when bad parts are determined by an outside measuring system. 

Lastly, Wintriss has developed a new customizable green sensor type called Green Flex, touted as a versatile cyclic sensor that can monitor intermittent events such as gagging operations, and also has a function that allows for the precise monitoring of events that must occur multiple times per press cycle. MF

Industry-Related Terms: Abrasive, Alloys, Cam, Center, Checks, Edge, Fixture, Forming, Grit, LASER, Model, Nesting, Ram, Roll Forming, Run, Scale, Stripping, Stroke, Thickness
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms


See also: Wintriss Controls Group LLC, Coe Press Equipment Corporation, Hypertherm, Inc., OTC-Daihen, Inc., Yaskawa America, Inc.

Technologies: Management


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