More effective fabrication

Dec. 1, 2003
TRUCK BODY AND TRAILER manufacturers were among those who visited North America's largest display of fabrication equipment November 16-19 at McCormick

TRUCK BODY AND TRAILER manufacturers were among those who visited North America's largest display of fabrication equipment November 16-19 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Fabtech International 2003 attracted visitors from more than 50 countries. It featured a wide range of plant equipment, including robotics, CNC press brakes, coil processing, cutting technologies (including laser, plasma, and waterjet), and welding equipment.

Here is a sample of the products on display:

Coiled steel as well as blanks can be punched, notched, trimmed, and sheared with the Pivatic Punching Center. According to the company, trailer manufacturers in Europe and Australia have purchased the Punching Center to solve length limitations of other turret presses. It's a product of Pivatic Oy of Hyvinkää, Finland. (

Large cutting, small footprint. The Trumatic flatsheet laser cutting machine combines a load and unload device and eliminates the need for a traditional pallet changer. This enables the machine to occupy substantially less floorspace — roughly half that of conventional designs. Flying optic design handles carbon steel up to 1/2" thick. It is a product of Trumpf Inc, Farmington CT. (

On a Rampage! The Rampage! Plasma cutting system cuts steel 40-50% faster than previous technologies, according to WA Whitney, Rockford IL. Available on new machines or as a retrofit, the system processes 1/4" steel at 230 inches per minute. (

Automated plasma cutting combines the new Ultra-Cut 150 high-precision plasma cutting system with the Crossfire manipulator from C & G Systems. A product of Thermal Dynamics, West Lebanon NH, the Ultra-Cut can be programmed at the terminal control or with PC-based software to cut material up to 2" thick (

The new Crossfire cutting system provides accuracy of better than .010" and a repeatability of .002" in an 8' × 8' area. Crossfire, available in 6', 8', 10' and 12' widths, delivers speeds of 900 inches per minute (

High-precision plasma cutting torch is mounted on a 5 × 10 table to put smooth edges on steel up to an inch thick. The XT-300 torch is from CR Electronics, Brecksville OH. The Europa cutting table provides positioning accuracy of 0.004" (

New laser is available from Hypertherm, Hanover NH. The company, noted for its plasma-cutting technology, is entering the laser market with its Flow Accelerated Screen Technology (FAST) Laser. It uses a design that allows higher oxygen assist-gas pressures in the cut zone and eliminates uncontrolled burning in the surrounding zone. The high-velocity oxygen flow along the beam path increases cut speed, says Mike Shipulski. (

CNC punching machine has a 30" × 60" working range. It is designed for low-volume and prototype production. The purchase price is low, too — $87,500, including tooling. The German-built machine is available in the U S from Boschert Precision Machinery, Butler WI. (

Plate processing center punches, drills, mills, and plasma cuts. The FICEP Type C generates 110 tons of punching force. It comes with 14 tools and an optional high-definition plasma. FICEP Corporation, Forest Hill MD. (

Steel brushing machine quickly removes oxides from steel sheet and plate using four brushes — two on the top and two on the bottom surface. Different models have maximum material capacities ranging from 40" to 60" wide. Maximum plate thickness is .625". A product of Germany, the LissMac brushing machine is available in the U S from Metal Finish LLC, Plainville CT. (

Roll bending system from Kurimoto Ltd has a top roll that changes position during the bending operation to produce the leading and trailing edges that match the diameter of the rest of the sheet. This enables the rolled piece to be a complete cylinder before it ever leaves the roll bender, the result of a computerized control system that continually sets the height and horizontal position of the top roll during the bending process. A product of Japan, it is available in the US from Iwatani International Co USA, Fort Lee NJ. (

Plate rolls built in Turkey are now being distributed in the United States. Available in a wide range of sizes, the AHS20/12 model shown here pre-bends 1/2" steel up to six feet wide. Other models have working lengths up to 12 feet. They are sold in the US by GV Fabricating Machinery Sales, Cincinnati OH. (

Automated bending system was introduced by Trumpf Inc, Farmington CT. Because of short setup times and easy programming, the Trumpf BendMaster can be used to produce batch runs as small as 30 units weighing up to 88 pounds. The entire bending cell can be programmed offline. (

A press brake for those who do not need everything is one way the manufacturer describes the 110-ton, three-meter press brake from UMV Machine Tool Inc, Elk Grove Village IL. The Swedish-made machine is the latest, complementing a high-end Optiplex press brake also available from UMV. (

Dual operator iron worker is designed in Europe and built in the U S. It has five built-in stations, including 85-ton capacity punch and 14" throat depth. Two hydraulic pumps provide the power for the 20" flat-bar sheer, 6" × 6" angle shear, a rod shear that can handle 1½" stock, and rectangular notcher that can process 2" × 4" material that is 1/2" thick. It is a product of Scotchman Industries, Philip SD. (

A 240-ton ironworker is available from Comeq Inc, White Marsh MD. Dual cylinders provide the punch, while optional hydraulic hold-downs keep material in place during fabrication. Representing Comeq are Todd Glotfelty and Don Letourneau. (

The ability to saw miters up to 60° in both directions is one of the benefits of the new S-20DS saw available from Hyd-Mech Group Limited, Woodstock, Ontario. (

New line of ironworkers from Armstrong Blum Mfg, Oshkosh WI, range from 60- to 180-ton capacities. Compared with previous models, they offer increased tonnage, quick disconnects for fast tool changes, and simplified stroke setting. Also from Armstrong Blum is a swivel-head horizontal saw that can make 0° to 45° cuts in 13" × 18" material. (

UniBug III is a programmable welding manipulator that can be set for stitch or continuous welding. It also can travel along the flexible track. It is a product of Bug-O Systems, Pittsburgh PA. (

Welding advancements from Miller Electric, Appleton WI, included new MIG welding systems, a new TIG welding machine, and a new way to pay for it. Axcess MIG welding systems consist of two major product components: hardware and software. They are capable of multiple MIG process capabilities and allow welding programs to be transferred via Palm PDA. The Maxstar 150 Series of inverters can weigh just 13.7 pounds, yet have a- 5- to 150-amp welding range on 115 to 230 VAC primary power. Financing is offered by Miller and American Express. It offers a variety of options, which include returning the equipment to American Express, renewing the contract with new equipment, or buying the equipment. (

Modular welding systems were introduced by ESAB Welding & Cutting Products, Florence SC. The Aristo systems can be “built” with components that can be upgraded. AristoMig, AristoTig, and AristoArc are all available. The AristoFeed wire feeders, designed for use with the AristoMig 400/500 series, interface with the AristoMig control/communications modules to make wire feed smooth. (

Upgraded hydraulic hole punchers were introduced by Hougen Manufacturing, Flint MI. The three improved models offer a higher power, double-insulated motor that speeds the punching cycle 20% — allowing a hole to be punched in as little as 1.2 seconds. The Punch-Pro models are self-contained units that combine punching head and hydraulics in a single-body design. Each works from standard 115-volt power by simply pulling the trigger. (