Page 30 - MetalForming December 2019
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One-Stop Shop Adds
Automated Panel Bender
Equipment enables Milwaukee-based contract manufacturer to slash lead time while increasing on-time delivery rates and sales.
Since starting as a small job shop in 2002 with four employees and a 10,000-sq.-ft. facility, Milwau- kee, WI-based Argon Industries has become a one-stop contract manufac- turer. Now with 135 employees in a 128,000-sq.-ft. facility, it provides a diverse range of products for high-end appliances, infrastructure repair and maintenance, defense contractors, point-of-purchase displays, HVAC products, water technologies, and OEM equipment.
Such a range of offerings and indus- tries requires an arsenal of equipment. For Argon, this includes three fiber laser cutting machines; a waterjet cut- ting system; two servo electric turret punch presses, one with automated load and unload; a high-speed press; robotic welders; a large conveyorized powder coating line; and its most recent addition—a Salvagnini P2 lean automated panel bender.
“We’re manufacturing light to medi- um—24 gauge to 3/8-in. thick—sheet metal components and assemblies using the latest technologies,” explains
Greg Clement, president and founder, who says that his company, over the last five years, has grown its sales by 35 percent. “Our customers are launch- ing new products and product lines, and that’s good for us as a Tier One supplier.”
With increased business comes challenges. “It is difficult finding skilled workers, especially skilled brake oper- ators,” Clement says. “We recognized that in order to increase capacity with- out having the ability to find skilled workers, we needed an automated panel bender.”
Clement says that he chose the P2lean panel bender from Salvagnini America, Hamilton, OH, for its advanced technology and speed. Its universal bending tools automatically adapt in-cycle to the panel geometry without machine down time or manual re-tooling, and allow for batch-one or kit productions, as well as high-volume production.
“Depending on part size and bends, we’re forming parts three to 10 times faster than with our manual press
brakes,” says Clement. “What took min- utes, now takes seconds. Before adding the machine, we had an eight-week lead time and were turning business away because we lacked the ability take on more. Now we are down to a four-week lead time and an on-time delivery rate to 90 percent, up from 75 percent before.”
Another plus: MAC 2.0 (Material Attitude Correction) sensing technolo- gies enable the system to adapt auto- matically to changes in material hard- ness and thickness, extending the range of possible products. These added capabilities have allowed Argon to take on another $5 million in sales, which Clement says will boost company sales by 25 percent.
Clement provides these examples of sheet metal parts formed on the new bender:
• Roof for a generator housing: took two people and 6 minutes using a man- ual bender, now takes 1 minute and a single operator.
• Enclosure door for electrical hous- ing: took 1.5 minutes to form manually, now takes 35 seconds.
28 MetalForming/December 2019

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