Integrated cutting machine speeds production for steel processor
OneSteel Metalcentre, a business unit within Ar-rium, is Australia’s largest distributor of steel long
products. The company operates more than 70
business outlets and employs more than 900 people across the country, supplying hot-rolled structural sections, plate, merchant bar, structural pipe
and tube, and steel sections for the mining, civil,
and infrastructure construction, residential, and
The firm’s machinery for mining project work
was aging. Its dedicated drill bed machine took too
long to complete jobs, and it had to move plate
multiple times to different machines to conduct
several different processing tasks. A common plate
processing job was taking nine to 10 hours of drill-
ing and cutting to produce.
The company chose a BHB7500 integrated plate
processing system from Profile Cutting Systems to
replace two separate, older machines. It combines
profile cutting and drilling, tapping, and general
steel processing of plate in one system.
Since the machine is used specifically for mining
project work, it features an extra-wide, over-length
dry bed design; a 400-amp plasma bevel torch;
triple oxy bevel torch; single oxy torch; and 60-HP,
24-tool drill unit.
The unit drills jobs in one-quarter the time of the
previous dedicated drill, and plate no longer has
to be moved multiple times. The nine- to 10-hour
drilling and cutting job has been reduced to less
than four hours.
The large dry bed design accommodates several
plates at one time and reduces idle time on the
machine while parts are offloaded and new plate
loaded. The company can choose between mist
coolant and floor coolant for its drills, which helps
keep plates clean for supply to customers on most
steel drilling jobs. It also allows full lubrication of
tools for work on high-tensile quenched-and-tem-pered plate.
Having plasma, oxy, and drilling options under
one central beam reduces handling time and waste
when performing multiple processing functions on
the same plate. The 60-HP spindle motor can drill
50-mm-dia. holes through 100-mm plate in 30 sec.
Profile Cutting Systems, 190 Mesa Drive, Boulder
Creek, CA 95006, 800-757-8250, www.pcsusa.pro
Weldment manufacturer reduces setup, inspection time with spatial positioning system
Weldall Mfg. is a family-owned company in Wauke-
sha, Wis., capable of executing weldments of more
than 400,000 lbs. from some of the heaviest metals
available. The company serves a variety of indus-
tries, including construction equipment, material
handling, power generation, mining, nuclear, rail,
wind, and medical. Like other metal forming shops,
the company is faced with laying up parts for as-
sembly. It requires precision and a lot of time, with
setup for some parts taking six to seven hours.
“Our inspectors spent a lot of time double- and
triple-checking parts,” said Mike Schoen, operations manager.
The company installed an Iris™ spatial positioning
system (SPS) from Virtek Vision Intl. Inc. It com-
bines laser projection technology with 3-D vision
technology to locate a part in 3-D space. It then
locks onto the part’s CAD-specified assembly posi-
tions and guides the user through the welded as-
sembly process by projecting a laser outline of each
Weldall has reduced setup time on some parts
from six to seven hours to 1.5 hours, with 100 percent accuracy.
All manual measuring, marking, and fitting steps
have been eliminated, as has laser etching to identify part placement location.
The company now performs random checks, but
no full inspections. “Since we started using it, we
haven’t had one location reject, we’ve improved efficiency between 20 and 60 percent, depending on
the size and complexity of the part, and it’s been
100 percent accurate,” said Schoen.
“Iris saved us thousands of dollars recently,” he
continued. “We were working on a large part and
when we started to assemble it, we knew something
was wrong because the component parts looked to
be in the wrong places. We investigated further and
discovered that the steel had stretched during forming, so it differed from the engineering CAD file.
“We were able to correct the issue quickly,”
Schoen said. “But it’s something that could have
cost us thousands of dollars in rework further
Virtek Vision Intl., 785 Bridge St., Waterloo, ON
N2V 2K1, Canada, 519-746-7190, www.virtek.ca
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