Page 32 - MetalForming-January-2019-issue
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                  Fabrication: Laser Cutting
 All products are fully tested before shipment. Shown here are radiant heaters.
and three of the plant’s four press brakes. The fiber laser cutter can process mild steel in thicknesses to 0.6255 in., and stainless steel and alu- minum to 0.25 in., with repeatability precision to 0.001 in.
Even with overall high volumes, given so many different specific prod- ucts the company finds plenty of lower- volume opportunities to bring its new
machine into the manufacturing equa- tion, complementing a robust stamp- ing-press lineup. In operation at Detroit Radiant Products, the laser machine primarily cuts mild and stainless steels as well as aluminum (some of that material coated) in thicknesses from 0.024 to 0.125 in.
“We typically use the laser machine on flat-part volumes to 5000/yr.” says
Wortman, who, along with Mark Sta- pleton, the company’s plant manager- maintenance, and Cody Stewart, sales coordinator, provided MetalForming with a plant-floor tour. “We have enough niche business to keep the CNC equipment, including the laser machine, busy. The laser only cuts flat, but the cut is so clean. For an internal part or a part requiring threading, we use the turret presses, but for a clean, fast cut on a visible part, that part is destined for the laser.”
The fiber laser-cutting addition also pays big dividends in prototype and new-product work.
“When we launch new products, laser cutting gets us through the first few thousand parts,” Wortman says. “Our strength still lies in dies, and once we determine an acceptable ROI, we will tool up for the stamping presses.”
As one example of the laser-cutting contribution, company officals describe work for some European customers.
“To better accept various fueling options on heaters, these customers may want resized air orifices (the size of which affect fuel-burning efficiency and characteristics) for testing,” Wort- man says. “That’s perfect for the laser- cutting machine. We also use the machine to brand customer logos into products. All of these capabilities help us get and keep contracts.”
Field issues also benefit from inhouse laser-cutting capability. Recent- ly, an issue with repeated corner dam- age to a particular product led a Detroit
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