put to good use, and the tool’s performance actually convinced Aronson to purchase a backup tool to avoid downtime should one of the tapping tools break
or need maintenance.
The next big area of focus is using more of the machine’s forming capabilities.
Aronson said that the little flanges on some of the parts for the gaming industry
customers easily could be made on the laser/punch machine.
“There are a lot of little ¼-in.- and 3/8-in.-OD bends that we could probably do
on the combination machine instead of on the press brake,” Aronson said.
“There is a lot to learn, especially when you have this much going on,” he
No. 2: It’s faster than any CO2 laser.
When the search for a new laser/punch combination machine commenced, the
P&A Metal Fab reconnaissance team knew it wanted to explore fiber laser technology. They were keenly aware of the speed at which laser cutting machines
with this type of laser diode power source can cut.
“If you are talking about 12-, 14-, or 16-gauge steel, it rips through the material. CO2 lasers can’t even touch it,” Aronson said.
That was perfect for all of the thin-gauge material that was destined for the
4-k W laser on the new combination machine. Thicker materials, from about
0.1875 to 0.75 in., still are cut on two 7-year-old CO2 lasers.
The servo-electric punch is a lot faster than older hydraulic-powered technology. Features such as automatic tool length measurement, optimization of
stroke length, and easy adjustment of the punching stroke help to contribute to
faster setups. The punching speed, tool rotation, and tool changeover time have
improved over the years as well.
How much faster is this machine than the old 2-k W laser/punch combo? When
it comes to cutting a 36- by 120-in. sheet for four of the previously mentioned
gaming doors—and accompanying parts—the new equipment can finish a sheet
in 15 minutes, three times faster than the 2-k W combination machine.
That’s good news for P&A Metal Fab as they will be producing hundreds of
these parts in the coming months, and the shop still can accommodate new
jobs because of the new machine’s speed.
No. 3: It delivers a new level of production efficiency.
P&A Metal Fab had a COMBO FMS® installed with the LPe6f to assist with automated material and parts storage and delivery. In Figure 3, two towers are to
the right of the machine. Combined,
the towers have 12 cassettes for raw
material and five shelves for parts.
The system delivers sheets of different materials, depending on what’s
stored in which cassette and what has
been programmed into the software,
to a staging area before they are sent
to the cutting and punching area. Pallets of finished and sorted parts can
be stored in dedicated tower shelves.
The finished-parts cassettes can be
used for intermediate storage or as
a buffer for downstream processes,
such as bending.
What Prima calls a Loading and
Stacking Robot (LSR) moves the sheet
from staging to the machine’s processing table. When parts are completed after laser cutting or punching, the LSR can pick up those parts,
if they are at least 4 by 4 in., and deposit them on a pallet. Smaller parts
exit the machine via different sorting