Selected articles from January 2008 issue published on TheFabricator.com:
Lasers are capable of cutting thin-gauge metal and plate at incredible speeds and with outstanding results. But a laser also is capable of great damage to operators if the proper safety steps are not followed. To keep everyone safe and the laser cutting machine operating, a fabricating operation should have a safety program in place.
Like every manufacturer these days, truck and trailer manufacturer Tico Manufacturing Inc. can't afford to waste any time on non-value-added activities. It recently switched its welders to Centerfire™ nonthreaded contact tips manufactured by Bernard®. These tips require replacement about once every two weeks; the previous tips were replaced three times a day. And because they are unthreaded, the tips take much less time to replace.
Stick welding on vertical surfaces is an important and in-demand skill. Luckily, a few tips can help make a welder a much more valuable resource in the fabricating shop.
Fabricators typically encounter bottlenecks during setup and production in their press brake bending operations—obstacles that lead to downtime and fewer operators actually processing material. Representatives from Amada, LVD Strippit, Bystronic Inc. addressed these issues in a recent presentation. The two largest problems? Performing non-value-added steps and having to compensate for material variations. Fortunately, some new technologies and two key strategies can help fabricators optimize their press brake operations in these areas.
Lighting is typically the last line item on the budget operators worry about or assess. Many companies feel as though they have no control over their energy costs, so they never take a critical look at the expenditure. It's just an item on the budget that has to be paid no matter what the cost. However, such costs can result in millions of dollars of lost revenue each year, not to mention tons of wasted energy and a negative impact on the environment.
Before a company purchases a CAD software package, the management team should start with a list of priorities that it expects the software to address. Of course, these priorities should be tailored to the company's mission. It's also important to keep in mind some of the basics of the virtual design world before the actual purchase takes place.
Metal fabricators and formers are expected to spend more than $2.2 billion on capital equipment in 2008. The 2008 FMAC Capital Spending Survey provides more details.
Flexibility sums up where the servo-driven mechanical press stands in its evolution. Early adopters are seeing that flexibility and asking, "What if?" What if I could control ram motion throughout the stroke and dwell for a certain period at bottom dead center (BDC)? According to sources, those "what ifs" have led to new ways of thinking about forming metal.
When bending material thicker than 10-gauge, at least two operators are needed to handle the plate, and manipulating it for various bends can be a strenuous work, not to mention a serious safety hazard for the operators. That's heavy stuff, and for these large-workpiece applications, a folding machine can step up to the plate.
A company specializing in perforated sheet overcomes deburring issues with an automated system using nonwoven fiber brushes.
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