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December 17, 2014
Chromalox, a manufacturer of industrial heating systems, relied on skilled workers do quite a few manual processes, especially cutting and beveling. As the supply of people with this skill slowly dried up, the company realized that it would need to invest in an automated system. It chose an Ultra-Cut 400 XT plasma power supply from Thermal Dynamics (Victor) and coupled it to a 6-axis CNC pipe-handling system from Watts Specialties Inc.
December 16, 2014
Tube and pipe production is a capital-intensive process, but paying close attention to the efficiency of some of the lowest-cost items, specifically the consumables, can yield big benefits in productivity. At the cutoff, proper blade choice and optimizing the cutting depth are important first steps, but it’s also necessary to diagnose saw problems and—most important of all—develop a blade replacement strategy that minimizes mill downtime.
December 11, 2014
Burger Boat Co. has weathered many a storm in its 150-year history, often changing direction to incorporate new technologies and adapt to changing market conditions. When the pleasure craft industry sank in 2009, it went after commercial work, and in the process had to develop a program for working in steel, which it hadn’t done in five decades or so. With the new process came new consumables from ESAB.
November 5, 2014
Frustrated by an OEM that always makes easy products complicated, uses unrealistic tolerances, or leaves out critical information? You’re in good company—every manufacturer experiences this type of thing once in a while. Superior Tube Products Inc., Davenport, Iowa, deals with this by providing classes that teach the finer points of bending tube and pipe.
November 3, 2014
Successful hydroforming isn’t just about the technology; often it’s about the strategy. A forward-thinking die development plan, global die standardization, and knowledge about forming materials other than mild steel are three components that can go a long way in making hydroforming a viable option.
October 16, 2014
R & B Wagner, Milwaukee, has had a primary role in the construction industry for more than 100 years. From its early days as a blacksmith shop, the company has grown to become a designer and manufacturer of handrail components and systems; a contract manufacturer for OEMs; and a first-rate finishing company, providing top-notch polishing services for other fabricators and manufacturers. Manufacturing Operations Manager Kane Behling and President Rick Kettler shared the company’s story with Editor Eric Lundin.
September 30, 2014
Using 2-D software in a world that has transitioned to 3-D software can be a difficult task. When Cougar Fuel Systems looked for new software, it looked for a system that also would shorten its product design time and manage the many design and production tasks. It found a suitable system when it purchased Smap3D P&ID and Smap Piping from CAD Partner Products Inc.
September 8, 2014
Bending tubular parts for the aerospace industry isn’t easy. OEMs continue to push the envelope, designing increasingly complex parts made from pricey materials. Fabricators are under continuous pressure to improve their capabilities, turn orders around faster, and minimize scrap. To that end, SL Engineering recently invested in a second all-electric bender from Unison.
September 4, 2014
Firefly Bicycles, a 2011 start-up in the custom bicycle business, is thriving despite the sluggish economy and a competitive marketplace. The company’s three founders are using their previous work experience in bicycle fabrication and their enthusiasm for cycling to stay ahead of the competition.
August 28, 2014
For tube and pipe applications, laser vision systems are commonly used for seam tracking on the mill, but they are useful for many more applications—such as edge bevel measurement; strip width measurement and centering verification; mill process control; and coating control. For pipeline construction, they can verify the integrity of end face bevels and weld bead profile measurements.
July 31, 2014
When Bob Burns, owner of Aero Bending Co., Palmdale, Calif., moved his company to a new and bigger location, he considered adding to the company’s fleet of benders. However, a number of bending machine operators often lined up to measure bent components, creating a bottleneck. Changing to an optical inspection system cleared this bottleneck.
July 21, 2014
When Dave Milo set out to build a portable hardbanding unit, the former trucking company owner knew little about welding and nothing about hardbanding. After updating the hardbanding unit design a few times with consulting help from Lincoln Electric, Milo thinks he’s ready to change direction. Rather than providing hardbanding services, his goal is to sell hardbanding machines.
July 10, 2014
BSS Industrial, a plumbing and heating products distributor, was accustomed to using slings affixed to its fork lifts to lift tube bundles from truck beds. The drawback was that on occasion the load would swing, creating a tipping risk for the lift truck. Lift truck manufacturer Combilift developed a truck with standard-length forks for placing and picking inventory, and a longer set of forks for lifting tube bundles from the delivery vehicle’s bed.
June 30, 2014
A niche tube producer that formerly used GTAW exclusively, Esta Rohr began changing over to laser welding in 2005. The change is now complete, with substantial changes. The company has reduced its number tube production lines from five to three, but its output has increased tremendously. Meanwhile, laser welding has allowed it to cut some costs, helping its products compete against others.