Selected articles from November 2004 issue published on TheFabricator.com:
Folding machines aren't the fastest machines for bending sheet metal, but for low- to medium-volume production, they can provide an efficient bending process. Because the equipment operator does not support the weight of the material during the bending cycle, folding machines are well suited to large, bulky parts. Also, part quality is not dependent on an operator's skill.
Tube fabricators use a variety of methods—sawing, lathe cutting, rotary cutting, supported shear cutting, dual-blade shear cutting, and laser cutting—to cut tubing from mill lengths into shorter pieces for use in final fabrication. No single method is optimal for cutting the broad range of tubular materials and tubular shapes produced by this industry.
Contract manufacturer Morton Metalcraft talks about how it faces challenges in fabricating weldments and assemblies for heavy-duty equipment, including ramping up after a slowdown—with machines, manpower, and material, and revising material flow.
New ways to increase production, reduce labor costs, and maximize floor space may be found by revisiting a 50-year old technology—rotary punching. Many part features and patterns can be punched and formed using pull-through rotary units at up to 300 feet per minute(FPM) in materials as thick as 1/16 inch. In addition, cam technology allows rotary punching and forming of material thicknesses up to 0.105 in. (12 gauge). Servo drives empower line speeds as fast as 650 (FPM).
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