Day 3 of FABTECH® 2013, and my mind is filled with all things fabricating. At a booth visit earlier today, an exhibitor asked what my colleagues and I are seeing that’s new and unique. Where to begin.
Although fiber lasers have been out for a while, the race has been on to produce a model that makes high-quality cuts in thick as well as thin material. I attended a couple of press conferences that focused on developments toward these improvements in fiber laser technology. While all developments have been impressive, special kudos go to TRUMPF for its TruLaser 5030, which the company says is the first and only laser cutting machine that can process all material types and thicknesses with “the ultimate speed and cut quality.”
Using single-head technology, the TruLaser 5030 cuts mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum up to 1-in. thick; it also cuts nonferrous metals, such as copper and brass, up to 0.4 in. thick. Introduced at EuroBlech, the company had sold 21 of the machines as of its FABTECH press conference on Tuesday, Nov. 19.
Another impressive laser-related innovation is Bystronic’s PartID, a new feature of the Bystronic BySoft 7 CAD/CAM software. An identification code is generated with BySoft 7and then laser-engraved onto the part utilizing a Bystronic laser cutting system. At the press brake, the PartID subsequently is registered by a scanner unit and the desired bending program is loaded automatically. Parts marked with PartID also facilitate part traceability.
Worker safety and comfort are behind many product innovations, such as Hobart’s Element™ low manganese wires that the company says reduce fumes by 40 to 80 percent. Abicor Binzel’s RAB GRIP line of fume extraction torches that recently won a Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Leadership also falls into this category.
A "fun" award goes to the blackjack dealing robot featured in the Yaskaswa exhibit, which also is showing some STEM-inspired teaching aids. You can expect to read much more about the latter in coming months on thefabricator.com.
This is just a small, small sampling of the extensive innovation to be found on the show floor. And there are some surprises, such as the wooden 1893 cornice brake front and center in the North Hall. While photographing this piece of equipment, I met a man from Kentucky who said he has one in his shop and still uses it on occasion. I’ll be following up with Ricky to learn more about his business and the machine.
And then there’s Jennifer Costa’s exhibit (N1402). Jennifer, a welding instructor and artist, is exhibiting beautiful furniture and lamps she has created by combining metal and wood with processes such as welding. I’m telling you, if I had a place to put that round table, I’d buy it. Something I definitely can’t buy and wish I had is her talent!
As I was walking back to the media room to write this post, I witnessed seven young men watching one of McCormick Place‘s many water fountains. This group captured my attention by the ooohhhs and aaahhhs they expressed with each rise of a water spout. I wanted to call down, "Head to the waterjet cutting area!"
There is no shortage of innovation and technology at FABTECH. What is short is time. There’s only one more day and much left to see.
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