Metal Forming, Fabricating, Lasers, and Gear Generation
Flexibility and innovation drive these fields
Gleason Corp. (Rochester, NY) will be offering several new machines with the goal of more sales in the jobbers market.
Their Genesis vertical hobbing machine optimizes dry machining and reduces floor-space requirements. It's intended for spur and helical gear manufacture. Gleason will also be offering more equipment for gear metrology applications, through their M&M Precision Systems Corp., a manufacturer of gear inspection and process control systems. One of the newer units in their Sigma series is specifically for small-part measurement.
Lincoln Electric (Cleveland) will emphasize welding of aluminum because of its cosmetic appearance, and the fact that it can be welded quickly. "This is a growth area, and there is a lot of opportunity, particularly from the transplant companies," says Geoff Lipnezicius, application manager.
The company is focusing on custom systems and first-time users of automatic systems. Also, because of new OSHA pollution regulations, there is a growing interest in fume-recovery systems.
"We are offering a new process, a rapid-arc, single-wire application that can provide welding speeds of 90–100 ipm [2.3–2.5 m/min] in aluminum using the MIG process," says Lipnezicius.
Although vision systems for welding are still used, they have been replaced in many applications with smart sensors on robots that can guide the welding operation.
"Increasingly, people are asking for reach analysis. This allows you to just drop-in new systems.
"Another featured product is the E-cell. A compact robotic system that is plug and play, is suited for job shops, and takes up only 60 x 90" [1524 x 2286 mm] of floor space. It's a good design for the smaller shop or those just getting introduced to welding."
A broad range of equipment will be shown by ESAB (Florence, SC), with a focus on a new hybrid laser welding system that has been in the works for some time. It consists of a 10,000-W, fiber-laser system mounted on a gantry with a CNC control on a MIG welding system.
"This unit is 5–10 times faster than conventional welding," says Jeff Hoffart, general manager and senior vp. "It automatically compensates for difficult fit-up. A laser and MIG unit work together. The laser preheats the work area and the welder fills. It's going to change the way manufacturers view welding. It uses 10% of the welding material commonly used and heat input is much less, so the smaller HEZ allows you to do things that couldn't be done before. This includes use of conventional steel in a wider number of applications, and also easier welding of dissimilar materials."
The sensor system evaluates the joint and makes dynamic changes, including wire feed, arc voltage, wattage, and travel speed. Sensors look at both the front and back of the weld, and send corrective signal to the system control.
Jet Edge (Saint Michael, MN) will feature an abrasive waterjet cutting system with upgraded intensifier pumps and controller.
"We are finding new markets as the industry matures and the pool of customers grows," says Tom Macgibbon, VP. "This process can be applied to any industry, from food to hard metals.
"We will show a new cutting head with a nozzle designed for longer life and greater cut accuracy. In addition, programs and software are improving rapidly as we move toward a plug-and-play capability.
"As abrasive waterjet becomes a more widely accepted process, we have to put greater emphasis on service and maintenance."
A 200-hp (150-kW) hydraulic pump will be featured by KMT. It has more capacity than previous pumps and is capable of delivering water at 60,000 psi (42 MPa) to up to 32 cutting heads.
As to trends:
- More turnkey contracts as waterjet becomes better known for its versatility.
- More installations in which a number of cutting heads are run from one pump.
- Greater ease of use. Many of the calculations and setup requirements of earlier machines have been eliminated.
- Key industries are medical and stone work.
The company is working on a new head design that will minimize the erosion caused by the abrasive.
"We've seen an increasing level of interest in cutting with shop air to reduce the cost per part," said Burke Doar, vice president Trumpf Inc. (Plymouth Township, MI). "New technology makes compressed air a viable and cost-effective alternative to oxygen and nitrogen as laser assist gasses. This Trumpf process is well suited to a variety of applications for sheet metal fabricators."
At the IMTS show, Trumpf will focus on "air cutting" on the TCL 2510. In this air-cutting technique compressed air is used as a laser assist gas to cut steel, stainless steel, galvanized steel, and aluminum. Air cutting is faster and more cost-effective than cutting with oxygen and nitrogen, and offers an edge finish with much less oxidation than an oxygen-cut edge.
Cutting with compressed air works differently than cutting with oxygen or nitrogen as assist gasses. Cutting with air generates a plasma. Laser energy brought to a tight focal position and the introduction of compressed air creates a plasma ball at the surface of the material. An advantage of cutting with this plasma is that the heat is transferred more effectively than by the laser beam itself. In fact, the cutting speed is often increased to avoid over-melting the material edge.
In addition, the high-speed lasercutting TCL 2510 machine is designed to run untended. It has integrated, compact, load and unload capabilities for automated production. All of the components were designed to offer users a cost-effective option for automated laser production. The flying-optic design achieves high processing speeds and consistent accuracy independent of material weight. Optimal cut consistency is assured by integral mounting of the laser resonator to the machine frame. The integrated material-handling system reduces manual labor requirements and frees up the operator to concentrate on other tasks or operate another machine.
Mitsubishi will present its equipment in industry-specific areas: aerospace, medical, tooling, and EDM. The booth will define more clearly which machines have the features needed for a specific project. And this year the company will introduce their waterjet system. Prompted by a growing number of medical applications, the company will show how waterjet married to EDM can reduce production time.
"The two processes often compliment each other, with the waterjet used to remove large quantities of material and EDM doing the finishing work," explains Patrick Simon, manager, Mitsubishi EDM, MC Machinery Systems (Wood Dale, IL).
As to company trends, according to Michael Zakrzewski, executive vice president and general manager, cutting and bending will be featured at the Bystronic, (Hauppauge (NY) booth.
"Our goal is to focus on the high-end precision metal markets. Overall, the waterjet is still in a strong growth position. Off-line software programming is getting easier. It's now simple to integrate one of our bending machines with the waterjet, and blend the operation with a CAD/CAM package. Our design keeps a balance between ease of use, and performance flexibility. The company also plans to introduce some larger machines in the US.
The biggest change is in the software, which gives better control over the cutting variables, such as abrasive flow and water pressure. "This gives the benefits of improved edge cut quality, tighter motion control, and improved cutting speed," explains Zakrzewski.
The Bystronic waterjet systems can be linked with a shuttle table to give speedy material handling, so the user can handle material while a plate is being cut.
One trend that Fanuc Robotics (Rochester Hills, MI) will feature at IMTS is the use of intelligent robots, particularly for welding. Intelligent robots are able to perform advanced applications previously considered too complex for robots. They can also make existing applications more cost-effective. For example, intelligent robots with vision eliminate the need for expensive part fixtures.
Fanuc Robotics' exhibit at IMTS will include a wide range of robotic vision applications. In some cases, 3-D vision will allow the robot to find loosely located parts that can be offset in three dimensions. In other cases, the robot will use 2-D vision if the parts only vary in 2-D space (X, Y, and roll). The new Fanuc R-J3iC robot controller will demonstrate the ability to perform vision tasks without the need for an external PC or any additional hardware.
All Fanuc robots come standard with vision, and only require a software option and a camera.
Delicate six-degrees-of-freedom force sensing will be used to perform assembly applications that previously required tactile feedback. One example is a robot that will assemble the gearbox of another robot.
Another trend is the use of a single controller to drive multiple robots. In one case, four arc welders will operate from a single controller. In another case, two material-handling toploader robots will use a single controller, demonstrating very precise coordinated motion. In a third demonstration, one material-handling robot will present the workpiece to another assembly robot.
The products that follow this article will be shown in the Metal Forming, Fabricating, and Laser pavilion at IMTS. — Robert Aronson
Waterjet with Shuttle
Byjet 3015 waterjet cutting system with available shuttle table, swing arm loader, and rotary axis will be shown as well as the PR Series press brake with IPC technology and Bysoft software 6.7 with integrated Bybend module. The waterjet system offers up to 4-hp (3-kW) cutting heads that produce parts with minimal kerf angles without the need for tilting heads to compensate for taper. The press brake has electrohydraulic sheet supports.
Ph: (800) 247-3332
Vertical Hobbing Machine
The 130H Hobber is part of a new family of gear production equipment called Genesis. All Genesis machines share a common platform, which is a single-piece frame cast from a polymer composite material. The hobber is well-suited for dry machining. Isolated work area minimizes thermal expansion from hot chips. Mechanical cam-driven double gripper loader, integrated into the machine, minimizes nonproductive time. Drive system eliminates mechanical and hydraulic clamping systems.
Ph: (585) 473-1000
Waterjet Cutting Solution
Cutting solution includes equipment to chill and recycle the incoming water supply, waterjet cutting systems, and equipment to remove spent abrasive. Recycling system controls water quality and temperature. The chilling system optimizes pump operation and reduces operating costs by cooling the hydraulics on the high-pressure pump. An abrasive removal system continuously removes spent abrasive, eliminating periodic cleaning of the catch tank.
Ph: (972) 488-8661
Designed for automated production, the TC L 2510 laser cutting machine combines an integral load/unload device with highspeed laser cutting. Able to run untended, it achieves optimal results in thin-gauge material up to 1/2" (12.7-mm) thick carbon steel. It can use compressed air as an assist gas to cut steel, stainless, galvanized steel, and aluminum and titanium. Air cutting is said to be faster and more cost-effective than cutting with oxygen and nitrogen, and to offer an edge finish with less oxidation than an oxygen-cut edge. Flying optic design achieves high processing speeds.
Ph: (860) 255-6000
Deep Engraving Laser System
The third addition to the company's G-series product line offers users a flexible deep engraving platform with a range of laser and motion options. It can support full 3-D deep engraving for tool molds, mold inserts, stamping and printing dies, and electrodes for EDM. It can also be used for decorative engraving. System includes an automated 500-mm Z travel and 3-D and EMC deep-engraving software for preparing files and running deep engraving jobs. Accessories such as fourth and fifth axis and measurement options are availble.
FOBA, A Virtek Co.
Ph: (519) 746-7190
This benchtop laser workstation, the FB100, has an all-welded aluminum frame and a 20-W fiber laser. It's well-suited for small batches or light industrial marking. Measuring 24 x 27 x 31.5" (610 x 686 x 800 mm), the FB100 provides a 21 x 24" (533 x 610- mm) work area. It has a 12" (305-mm) marking field, programmable Z axis, exhaust fan, tooling plate, and interior light as standard.
Baublys Control Laser
Ph: (407) 926-3500
Rated for 60,000 psi (414 MPa), the ip60-50 intensifier pump features an extended-life hydraulic system. AquaVision Di is networkable, allowing part programs to be generated offline and transferred to the system's hard drive. Feed rate and acceleration vary automatically, based on known features of a job. Dynamic tool offset is employed real-time, and an optional real-time pump control allows remote pump starting and stopping, dual pressure set points for piercing hard-to-pierce materials, and unlimited data logging of process parameters. Digital readout for multihead positioning displays cutting head positions, eliminating manual measurement.
Jet Edge Inc.
Ph: (800) JET-EDGE
Thread and Form-Rolling System
Robo Roller quick-changeover system is designed for rolling threads, knurls, worms and other forms. It integrates a Fanuc robot with the company's MC-15 FI [CNC] Kine-Roller, enabling users to provide automated rolling from a pallet system, bulk-feed, hopper feed, manual load-unload station, or a conveyorized system. It can handle parts weighing up to 3 lb (1.4 kg). Heavy-duty spindle and die actuation system has a maximum radial die load of 70,000 lb (31,780 kg) and can accommodate dies to 6 ¾" (171-mm) diam and 4 ½" (114-mm) face.
Ph: (508) 754-6891
Downhole Pump Rotors
Company produces rotors for oil-field downhole pumps and drill heads. Manufacturing process combines heavy-duty, long-bed machine with a high-powered, high-rpm milling head and hobbing system. Manufacturers can expect to cut a 17-4 PH bar, 2.5" (64-mm) diam with a minor diameter of 1.6" (41 mm) at 800 rpm. In many cases, polishing is eliminated.
Ph: (201) 934-8262
The new Gemini Dual Galvo fiber-pulsed laser can mark two patterns at once, and comes in either 10 or 20-W models. It's reportedly well-suited for marking electronic and medical products. Other lasers shown will be the Xpress Diode-Pumped lasers, and the Sabre 10-W Co2 laser. All the lasers are driven by the company's Merlin II visual design software.
Ph: (740) 477-5000
Laser Marking Systems
Company manufactures a full line of laser marking systems including Nd:YAG, CO2, and fiber-laser systems, with power levels ranging from 5 to 100 W. System can mark glass, plastic, ceramics, stainless, aluminum, carbide, tool steel, and anodized or painted parts. Integration and custom capabilities include electrical, mechanical, and software applications, and are available for all product lines.
Schmidt Marking Systems
Ph: (800) 323-1332
Able to bend ferrous and nonferrous materials ¼–2½" (6.4–63.5-mm) in diam, the model 050KD TopBender accepts the company's two-axis A40/P positioning table for multiple and sequential bends. Heavy duty gear case accommodates up to 11" (302 mm) centerline radius. Standard tooling is available in multiple radii from stock with CLR as small as 2x diam. Operator-friendly control programs bend angles 0 to 180° with individual springback setting. It's well-suited for bending pipe, tube, squares, rectangles, solids and other profiles.
CML USA Ercolina
Ph: (563) 391-7700
Model XD laser system simultaneously measures all axis errors for rapid machine tool error assessment, which is accomplished in 3–4 hours, The laser measurement system provides "roll" measurement around an axis automatically along with linearity, X,Y straightness, pitch, and yaw measurements. Complete measurement of all 21 error parameters of the work area is teamed with a volumetric error-compensation package.
Automated Precision Inc.
Ph: (800) 323-1332
The EasyWelder NdYAG SLS200 CL16, covering a working range to 220 W, has been engineered to simplify precision seam and spot welding. Materials combinations such as Cu, Al, Au, Ag Ti, Ni, or Ta are possible, and spot welding of brittle or high-carbon-content steel can be done with the Shadow process, which entails pulse lengths to 100 msec to achieve hermetic high-speed welds. Said to be unique to the welder is pulse-to-pulse stability down to 0.5%. The system comes with up to six outputs for fiber core diameters of 100, 200, 400 or 600 µm.
Lasag Industrial Lasers
Ph: (847) 483-6300
Metal Spinning Machines
The company's PNC 100 series metal spinning machines with combined CNC and Layback control will be shown, along with the Playback/CNC spinning control, a new version of their spinning offline software, and various mechanical upgrades to machines.
Leifeld USA Metal Spinning Inc.
Ph: (719) 282-9061
The Hydrocut LR multiprocess waterjet cutting system uses the company's waterjet/plasma combination. A gantry on floor-mounted rails, it features positioning accuracy of +/- 0.010" (0.25 mm) over 3' (0.9 m) in each axis, and +/- 0.002" (0.05-mm) repeatability. Maximum positioning speed is 600 ipm (15 m/min), available cutting widths are 8–20' (2.4 x 6.1 m), and it can be equipped with up to four waterjet cutting stations and the company's m3 Precision Plasma system. The waterjet systems range from 30 to 100 hp (22–75 kW) and plasma systems from 100 to 600 amps.
ESAB Welding & Cutting Products
Ph: (800) ESAB-123
Abrasive Waterjet Machining
The five-axis model 2626|xp JetMachining Center can machine complex shapes with up to +/- 0.001" (0.03-mm) positioning accuracy over its entire 26" (660 mm) of travel. The machine provides a mix of features, including the manufacturer's Tilt-A-Jet system, which can achieve virtually zero taper, and proprietary software, including Intelli-MAX cutting enhancements. Intelli-MAX is a suite of technologies that reportedly produces higher tolerance parts quickly, without compromising speed for accuracy. This waterjet cuts materials such as stainless and other metals, and can machine materials including plastics, glass, ceramics, and composites.
Ph: (800) 838-0343
Piranha Pro2, a synchronous twin-cylinder press brake, is said to be capable of most general-purpose fabricating from precision thin gauge to heavy plate. It features: two vertically mounted hydraulic cylinders, synchronized to maintain 0.0004" (0.010-mm) parallelism and repeatability; linear feedback devices on each side of the brake stabilizing machine action; high-speed rapid approach and return; models from 65 to 500 tons (578 kN–4.45 MN); bed lengths from 8 to 16' (2.4–4.9 m); and various CNC full-featured control options from digital to graphical.
Ph: (800) 338-5471
JetTool waterjet cutting system includes four AccuTrim WJ-44 robots in a gantry with a fixture table, intensifier, and JetVac. A vacuum system holds parts during cutting and removes waste and water from the system. JetWare software sets the tool center point of each robot and corrects for fixture placement variances. It also has a library of geometric shapes.
Robotic Production Technology
Ph: (248) 829-2800
Dynamic robotic part sorting automates the task of removing cut shapes from the skeleton produced on a 2-D shape-cutting machine. It also converts nesting data to robotic paths automatically. Automated shape-cutting operation provides untended material handling, and offers a seamless process from sheet nesting and shape cutting to part removal.
Automated Concepts Inc.
Ph: (712) 328-3410
Company offers a variety of low-cost, high-quality hydraulic presses, from 2 to 2000 tons (18–17,800 kN). These are Straight Side End-Frame presses and are shown along with their new Hybrid Servo-Motion Accu-Flex Press. The Accu-Flex press is designed for production as well as R&D or laboratory environments, and is equipped with fully programmable control systems for entering all cycle parameters.
Beckwood Press Co.
Ph: (636) 343-4100, Ext. 105
This article was first published in the August 2006 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.