June 2, 2014 | By Tim Heston
With solid-state laser technology upping throughput in fabricating shops, managing flow from cutting to bending to downstream processes has never been more important. A panel discussion at The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit provides some insight into the right combination of modern machine tools and software that can help fabricators stay on top of this production challenge.
May 14, 2014 | By Tim Heston
Sonny Pierce, who founded PI-CO Fabrication in 1982, had experience in starkly different fields—like bowling and bathtubs—that lacked one luxury contract fabrication thrives on: customer diversification.
April 7, 2014 | By Dan Davis
Accrotool Inc., New Kensington, Pa., had a 1,500-W laser cutting machine from 2001 that needed to be replaced. A fiber laser was deemed the perfect choice for the shop’s cutting chores. However, to be successful, the company’s management discovered that a new mindset was needed to accompany the new technology.
April 3, 2014 | By Tim Heston
A laser cutting machine doesn’t care how hard or soft a metal is, but the material’s flatness matters immensely. That’s why so many service centers are investing in leveling processes that aim to equalize stresses, ensuring sheet metal stays flat after being cut.
January 17, 2014
The evolution of precision blanking began with the shear, moved to the press, and now to the laser. Each type of blanking technology, from cut-to-length lines or blanking on a traditional mechanical press to blanking with servo press technology and laser blanking, comes with its own best applications, advantages, and disadvantages.
September 5, 2013 | By Mike DelBusso
Because of inherent advantages, high-powered solid-state fiber and disk lasers now account for 20 to 25 percent of the industrial laser market. The laser’s exceptional beam quality, however, has presented some challenges in materials processing. Fortunately, proper head design can help deliver successful production results.
July 8, 2013 | By Dan Davis
Artisan Industries Inc. began life as a metal former in Streetsboro, Ohio, but like other stamping houses, it recognized the need for diversification. Since jumping into the fabricating business, the company has found itself constantly evolving to become a one-stop shop for its customers.
April 30, 2013 | By Marc Lobit
If a laser cutting machine is not cutting, it has no chance of making money for the shop. Downtime related to maintenance is understandable. Downtime related to the slow process of attending to laser optics is frustrating. Automation, however, can help keep that laser cutting machine running, even when it's cutting different material thicknesses.
April 8, 2013 | By Dan Davis
After selling his metal fabricating business in 2006, Jim Lee is back in the game with North Topeka Fabrication. But even in the short time that he was gone, metal fabricating technology has advanced and forced him to ask how the shop could apply new technology to grow the business. That led the company to invest in a fiber laser cutting machine, and the decision has thrown the shop into the thick of new business opportunities.
March 7, 2013 | By Frank Geyer
Hot forming entails heating and rapidly cooling the workpiece. However, the extraordinarily high-strength material emerging from the press makes cutting and trimming with hard dies impractical, even infeasible. This is where the multiaxis laser finds its niche.
March 1, 2013 | By Tim Heston
Elizabeth Kautzmann, chairman of FMA’s Industrial Laser Council, keeps one eye on laser technology and another eye on a part’s overall processing time.
February 15, 2013 | By David Marusa
The modern laser cutting machine operator must wear several hats: one for in-process quality assurance, another for recordkeeping, one for preventive maintenance, and one more for troubleshooting.
December 3, 2012 | By Frank J. Arteaga
To remain competitive, a shop must be willing to embrace both innovation and change together. To get the most out of that commitment, a shop needs to understand just how the introduction of any new technology will affect the entire process chain, not just one part.
October 8, 2012 | By Dan Cruz
How many fabricating shops run a less-than-optimized cutting head just to avoid the downtime of switching out the head? S&B Metal Products, Lakeland, Fla., used to do like that until it got a laser cutting machine that was a better fit for its low-volume, high-mix fabricating jobs.
July 16, 2012 | By Richard Green
Resonators producing a high beam quality and small spot size provide a machine tool with a broader depth of field that enables greater process tolerance to material deviation. This tolerance gives the operator a bigger sweet spot for machine parameters to produce consistent, high-quality parts.