Slough-based Glenmore Hane Group, a specialist in fine-limit sheet-metal fabrication for a wide range of industries, is using its investment in the latest automated Amada laser-cutting technologies to achieve an ever-stronger market position.
Automation is the key word here, as the company says this factor has created a significant amount of extra capacity that in turn is supporting the generation of additional revenue.
Glenmore Hane is a strong advocate of investing in the latest manufacturing technologies. A case in point is the recent arrival of an Amanda LCG-3015AJ fibre-laser. The machine is now firmly bedded in and working hard, cutting 3 x 1.5 m metal sheets with ±0.01 mm positional repeatability. Axis speeds of 170 m/min (simultaneous) mean that parts do not suffer from heat distortion.
“For us, the fibre-laser advantage is reduction in the melt effect on coated surfaces and cut edges,” says general manager Mark Hall. “The fibre laser beam kerf is very clean and approximately 10 times smaller than with CO2 lasers. In addition, real-time measuring sensors detect the slightest undulation and make material tolerance adjustments to help ensure zero rejects. Investing in this machine was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.”
A table load weight of 920 kg and a 3 ton automatic loader/un-loader allows Glenmore Hane to run large orders on tight deadlines, around the clock. The company only operates a single-shift system, so the ability to run ‘lights-out’ is key.
“The automation allows us to take on additional work – we’ve probably got more capacity now than we’ve ever had,” explains Hall. “Ultimately, it provides us with an opportunity to grow.”
Aerospace seat fittings, computer cases, electronic plates, brackets and ducting are among the current applications for the Amada LCG-3015AJ.
For further information www.amada.co.uk
Columbus III version 1.6 CADCAM software for mechanised cutting has been upgraded by Esab Welding & Cutting Products.
The latest version includes the ability to calculate offers and orders for customers based on actual production data. An easy-to-use cost calculator enables fabricators to enter cost variables, such as costs for machine time per hour, cutting process (including associated consumables), preparation, programming and materials. After nesting parts using built-in design tools or importing a parts nest, Columbus III can calculate costs based on length, duration or weight of material cut. In addition, data can be exported to Excel and used for future cost calculations.
Additional newly developed functions include: keyboard shortcuts to move and rotate a parts nest in user-defined increments; rotating the parts nest and/or plate orientation to consider grain direction; a new colour to clearly delineate ‘Cut Rapid’ mode (fastest cut without regard for edge quality); and a ‘Direct Mode’ function that allows dragging lines over parts to provide quick and easy sequencing.
“Continuous improvement of the software reflects the input we obtain from our two-day Columbus III user group meeting, held annually at our Karben, Germany location,” says Holger Hahn, global product marketing manager, application software, Esab. “With our software developers connecting directly with users, we are able to make many enhancements each year, which helps maintain Columbus III as one of the most successful software suites for mechanised cutting.”
For further information www.esab.co.uk
The newly developed TiltPrevention function in Bystronic’s BySoft 7 software means users can now create cutting sequences that reduce the likelihood of parts tilting and causing a collision with the nozzle as it travels over the sheet.
If an impact does occur, the job has to be stopped while the situation is rectified, causing loss of production, potential scrap components and, in the worst case, damage to the cutting head.
From a traditional perspective, inclusion in the cutting program of micro joints or tabs to keep components in place has been a way of preventing parts from lifting, but this results in subsequent time-consuming shaking of the components from the skeleton after the nest has been cut. There is also the added complication that broken tabs leave burrs that may have to be removed.
The alternative approach from Bystronic is to use software that can guide the path of the laser head during the cutting process so that, as far as possible, it avoids risky sections in a cycle where parts could tilt. This function largely eliminates the need for micro joints.
A special algorithm calculates the likely mechanical behaviour of each part before it is cut from a sheet, taking into account a range of parameters, including the density of the material, the geometry and weight of the component, the pressure of the assist gas flow, and the positioning of the nested parts on the sheet. TiltPrevention then recommends the start and end points of the laser nozzle so that any tilting of the parts after cutting is prevented as far as possible. In addition, the function proposes the best possible route for the head over the metal sheet, creating an optimised cutting sequence for all components on the plan.
For further information www.bystronic.co.uk
TWI Ltd has ordered a Trumpf TruLaser Cell 7040 five-axis machine with a disk laser and laser metal deposition (LMD) functionality.
The LMD process uses a focussed laser beam and metal powders to add weld material onto a substrate. Through multiple layering techniques, a coating or 3D geometry can be deposited to replace damaged features or manufacture entirely new geometries.
As one of the world’s foremost independent research and technology organisations, TWI will locate the machine at its Rotherham facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, where it will be put to work on the Open Architecture Additive Manufacturing (OAAM) project, for which TWI is the lead partner. The OAAM programme plans to develop directed energy deposition (DED) additive manufacturing (AM) technologies that can be scaled up to accept multi-metre component sizes for the benefit of UK aerospace. These new platforms will enable aerospace manufacturers and their supply chains to develop advanced AM concepts.
“Being part of the OAAM project allowed us to consider our options and specify a new high precision system to meet the growing needs of the aerospace industry and of TWI member companies,” says Carl Hauser, section manager, laser additive manufacturing at TWI. “After an assessment, the decision was made to invest in a new large scale five-axis gantry facility for laser additive manufacturing.”
Following a public tender, an order was duly placed for a Trumpf TruLaser Cell 7040 with LMD capability. The machine, which features several important modifications that make it unique in the marketplace, is due to arrive at TWI’s Sheffield facility in the summer.
For further information www.trumpf.com
To help fabricators and manufacturers drive continuous improvement in traceability, documentation, asset management, productivity and quality, Esab has revealed its newly developed Digital Solutions platform.
Esab Digital Solutions, including Esab WeldCloud and Esab CutCloud, is able to connect digital ecosystems for manual/robotic/automated welding and cutting automation, respectively.
The platform was officially demonstrated for the first time at the recent EuroBLECH 2018 exhibition in Germany, where it was powered by Microsoft Azure IoT and utilised the ThingWorx Industrial Innovation Platform from PTC.
“We collaborated with Microsoft because Azure allows for a reliable and secure architecture that sends data from a digitally connected system, directly to the cloud,” says Mike Pantaleano, VP data driven advantage/digital solutions, Esab. “Eliminating the need for an on-site server or large IT infrastructure especially helps job shops and smaller operations gain the benefits of data management. Our reference architecture using ThingWorx also allows for on-site and hybrid (on-site/cloud) configurations, enabling us to configure and scale a connected solution for companies of all sizes. The right digital solution lets customers focus on improving their core business activities.”
Without formal data analysis programs, welding and cutting operations tend to over-estimate equipment utilisation rates and under-estimate actual arc-on time when quoting products.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” states Pantaleano. “Some welding operations think they’re at 30 to 40% OEE when they’re actually in the mid-teens. The applications and dashboards that are part of Esab Digital Solutions enable customers to assess their current situation at a glance and then start building baseline numbers. Once they determine what their ‘steady state’ is, they can identify areas for improvement.”
For further information www.esab.co.uk