Selected articles from July 2006 issue published on TheFabricator.com:
Changes are necessary to make sure your welding operation is compliant with OSHA's new permissible exposure limit for hexavalent chromium.
When Generac Power Systems, a generator manufacturer, went looking for ways to increase the useful life of its punching tooling, it tried several strategies before it settled on the Optima® coating provided by Wilson Tool International® Inc. When Wilson later introduced UltimaT, a tool steel, Generac tried it also. Generac eventually converted all of its punch tooling to the new tool steel and coating.
Maching tool builder Haas Automation Inc. needed a new approach to minimize labor costs in its internal packaging and shipping operation. The company found its answer with the Yellow Jacket orbital stretch wrap technology.
Alpine Engineered Products had more business than it could handle: It was straining its resources and personnel in a way that made the company have to look outside its semiautomatic welding practices. Eventually robotic welding helped the company meet its production, lead-time, and turnover challenges—and keep the company growing.
Interviews with several tube-bending equipment-makers reveal that tube bending is becoming more complex every day, for a number of reasons. Manufacturers try to decrease material usage and go to stronger, difficult-to-bend materials with thinner walls; many manufactured items are smaller than ever before; and bends have to be smoother, especially in exhaust systems. Meanwhile, fabricators are split into two camps: High-volume OEM that are increasingly dependent on advanced controls and flexible workcells, and job shops that still get by on less sophisticated, manually operated equipment.
Bending and folding of sheet metal components can be approached manually or with automation. The volume—high, medium, or low&—determines the approach.
Stampers, precariously squeezed by tight margins, high material costs, and increasing pressure to be leaner, have issued a request: we want our scrap handling operations to be faster, trouble-free, and more productive. Fortunately, the latest generation of scrap handling equipment makes that mission possible. New machinery, trending toward a greater use of invisible forces and high-tech gadgetry befitting a spy thriller, is equipped with sensors, edge-guide systems, automation, and magnetic forces, equipment manufacturers say. In addition, significant improvements have been made to the scrap handling equipment itself to save space, minimize jams, and to keep it moving.
European metal fabricators, among them a stainless steel cabinet-maker, an electronics contract manufacturer, and a commercial refrigerator appliance manufacturer, are staying competitive in the global marketplace with automated material handling systems that feed modern punching, laser cutting, shearing, and bending devices.
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