Fabtech tackles industry issues, displays latest plant equipment

FABTECH INTERNATIONAL, the annual conference and exhibition for fabricators, provided insight into news and new equipment October 26-28 in Cleveland.

On the news front, Grant Aldonas, the Department of Commerce's under secretary of international trade, told a Fabtech audience that he is concerned about the “private market behavior” exhibited by U S steel companies.

“I don't know anybody in the steel industry that is giving any price quotes past a month — even to their best customers,” he said.

Aldonas did not say whether he believed the government should act in response to escalating steel prices and continued consolidation in the steel industry.

Those attending the next event, November 13-16, 2005, in Chicago, can expect to see somewhat more welding equipment. It will be the first joint trade show between Fabtech and the American Welding Society.

Here are some of the highlights of the 2004 event:

Robotic-driven press brake cell was shown by Salvagnini America Inc, Hamilton OH. Designed for bending large, heavy parts, the cell consists of three integrated components: Salvagnini's new SiX controller, a PPEB servo-controlled hydraulic press brake from LVD, and an industrial robot from Kuka. The integrated system helps reduce robot teaching time. www.salvagnini.com.

Greater Axcess. Miller Electric Mfg, Appleton WI, demonstrated the versatility of its Axcess 300 multi-MIG welding system by having a Motoman EA 1400 robot drive it through a variety of conditions. The software-driven controls of Axcess monitor arc conditions nearly continuously. With its faster response rate, it can sense arc conditions and correct fluctuations before they can adversely affect the arc, causing excessive spatter or an unstable condition (arc wandering). Miller anticipates 95 percent of all welding applications will be met with existing software programs “out of the box.” For exceptions, an existing program can be fined-tuned using Miller's optional WaveWriter graphical software, which is designed for a standard Palm handheld that has a data card slot. www.millerwelds.com.

Automatic pilot. The 20-station, 33-ton C5 turret punch press from Finn-Power can be equipped for unmanned operation through the use of its automated load/unload system. The hydraulic turret press has a maximum sheet capacity of 50" × 100" and is available with either Siemens or Fanuc controls. New features of turret press include hydraulic punching that provides nibbling speeds of up to 1,100 hits per minute; a single forming tool that can perform complex forming operations; and sheet supports that rise from the table to allow easy positioning of heavy material. www.finnpower.com.

Heavy-duty gantry cutting machine made its debut at the Koike Aronson booth. The Mastergraph II Millennium Series frame consists of a steel beam mounted on two large drive trucks. This complete system rests on a 12-inch H-beam support system. It supports oxy/fuel and plasma processes. The uCNC controller has an SVGA flat panel display, two microprocessors (one dedicated to programming and the other to motion), a 30-gigabytye hard drive, and 124 megabytes of RAM. www.koike.com.

Triple-mode laser provides high-speed, two dimensional processing of sheet metal and plate. In addition, it can perform three-dimensional cutting of pre-formed parts and three-dimensional rotary cutting of tube, pipe, and structural. In rotary mode, the SG-U44 performs 2D and 3D cutting of tube, including rectangular and triangular pipe as well as C, H, I and L-beams. The five-axis torch and simultaneously controlled chuck let the SG-U44 fabricate — in one operation — precise angle cuts, weld-prep bevels and advanced contours such as saddle joint cuts. Mazak's Space Cam software option generates NC code from a three-dimensional CAD drawing, imported or crafted in the system. It can also generate code for a slot-and-tab workholding fixture. www.mazaklaser.com.

Primeline is a line of press brakes available from Comeq Inc, White Marsh MD. Don Letourneau shows the small end of the line — a press brake with a 4-ft bed and 40-ton capacity. The line extends to a 14-ft model with a 350-ton capacity. Primeline press brakes are fully hydraulic, with downstroking rams. They utilize a torsion-bar design that helps keep rams parallel. Controls, such as the two-axis control shown here, are contained in a swiveling console mounted on the machine for convenient operation. www.comeq.com.

Cutmaster 1Series is a new line of plasma cutters from Thermal Dynamics Corp, West Lebanon NH. Targeted as entry-level machines, they are designed for flexibility, with quick disconnects and lead extensions, says Matt Cummins. Four models are offered that have maximum cutting capacities ranging from 3/8" to 1". www.thermal-dynamics.com.

Automated welding with a handheld torch is possible with the MiniVert from Bug-O Systems, Pittsburgh PA. Powered by a rechargeable battery, the MiniVert is designed to put down only the weld bead specified, says Ed Celesti. www.bugo.com.

Multi-process package from ESAB arrives ready to work. The MultiMaster 260 uses proprietary switching technology to quickly select MIG, TIG, or stick welding. DC welding output ranges from 15 to 300 amps. It comes complete with built-in four-roll wire feeder, factory installed undercarriage and cylinder rack 250-amp MIG torch, gas regulator and flow meter with hose, work cable and clamp, primary input cable, 10-lb sample of .035 86HP III wire, and a five-pound sample of stick electrodes. Jon Mench prepares to demonstrate. www.esabna.com.

Punch/nibbler is part of a new line imported from Italy and available from Heck Industries, Hartland MI. The Vulcano 25/500 DIGIT shown by John Jones generates 25 tons of punching force. Punches and dies can be changed quickly with the DIGIT's hydraulic holders. Standard equipment includes electronic stroke controller with digital readout and permanent memory for top and bottom dead-point stroke adjustment. www.heckind.net.

Dual operator ironworker can be equipped with press brakes, rod shear, tube shears, and other special tooling. The base model DO 150/240-24M has a 6" × 6" × 1/2" angle shear, rectangular notcher that can notch 3" × 5¾" through 1/2" material. The 24" flat bar shear cuts through 1" × 14" steel or 3/4" × 24" material. It is made in America by Scotchman Industries, Philip SD. www.scotchman.com.

Speed reducer gives new high-power torque to handheld electric drills, says Bill Otero with Hougen Manufacturing, Swartz Creek MI. The Holcutter Speed Reducer offers a 4:1 gear reduction ratio to produce the desired torque as the drill operates at top speed. www.hougen.com.

Variable geometry plate rolls premiered at the Faccin USA booth. Standard features include three movable rolls, linear slides (rather than pivots) for roll movement, electronic balancing system, special braking system for optimal prebending, and permanent lubrication system. Models are available to process plate up to 13 feet long.

TAGS: Fabrication
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