Page 31 - MetalForming-January-2019-issue
P. 31

   The new laser-cutting machine primarily cuts mild and stainless steels as well as alu- minum (some of that material coated) in thicknesses from 0.024 to 0.125 in.
copper floats, then burners for the heat- ing units,” says Wortman. “The constant was dies and expertise in working metal in multiple directions without heating it. As tube heaters evolved, so did the need for more flat, metal pieces, so we had to transition from draw dies to shears to cutting dies.”
The 1990s brought another big development: staged firing modes for infrared heating. Where until then radi- ant heaters only could be switched on or off, now the heat could be modu- lated, and Detroit Radiant Products led the way in 1994 by patenting the technology.
“It was a game changer,” Wortman recalls. “Today, we think nothing of a modulated boiler or modulated tube heater, but in the infrared world, in the early 1990s, this didn’t exist. The tech- nology allowed our products to reach home garages and made us a big player in agricultural applications. Before, radiant heating could be too hot (on), then too cold (off). Staging enabled it to be just right.”
Laser Cutting Made Sense on Lower Volumes
Now with upward of 40 different heating products from six basic heat- ing-unit families, Detroit Radiant Prod- ucts requires all manner of flat parts, with more such parts expected from the company’s recently added lighting business (“Look up; we have all the solutions for the ceiling,” Wortman says).
“When we started needing more flat parts we bought our first turret punch press, 13 years ago, and six years ago added another,” says Wortman. “Then we started thinking about program- ming for laser cutting.”
Thinking gave way to doing, as in April 2018 the company installed a 2- kW fiber laser-cutting machine from CYLaser America LLC, Sterling Heights, MI. Ease of install and operation enabled it to contribute to production within a week. The CY2D L3015 2D laser, featuring a 5 by 10-ft. work area, resides in Detroit Radiant Products’ CNC room with the two turret presses
Detroit Float and Stamping.
Seeking out new products and mar-
kets to grow the business, they hit upon heating units, which required the group’s tooling and deep-drawing knowledge. Then located where the Greektown Casino now resides in downtown Detroit, the company began producing ceramic heaters after licens- ing technology from a Cleveland, OH- based infrared-heating pioneer—that’s how the Lake Erie region became the radiant-heating hotbed—and set out to supply local factories. The heaters, under the Re-Verber-Ray product name, laid the foundation for future success.
In the 1970s, a new generation took charge, including Wortman’s father, Joseph, and the company grew its heat- ing business in industry applications while branching out to agriculture and backyard-patio markets. Detroit Radi- ant Products settled into its current HQ location in the 1980s and over the years expanded the original 40,000- sq.-ft. footprint. Key during this period: the evolution of tubular heaters, which enabled lower-ceiling-height installa- tions and direct venting outside of buildings, thus greatly expanding infrared-heating applications. The company began selling worldwide, and to this day maintains a formidable and
expanding distribution network in Europe and Asia.
“Our roots are in our ability to draw steel, going back to production of artillery shells during World War II, then
The laser cutter helps the company save on material via optimized-nesting soft- ware (see the tight nesting pattern on the control screen), as well as the ability to cut closer to sheet edges and use remnant sheets to cut parts.
Fabrication: Laser Cutting
MetalForming/January 2019 29

   29   30   31   32   33