Computer Control Comes to Ironworkers

Most ironworkers can punch holes, shear angle and flat plate, and cope or notch, saving time otherwise spent drilling holes, sawing, or burning angle and plate. Now they are poised to become even more productive with use of computer controls. CNC controls reduce the amount of time spent laying out the part and positioning the material for processing.

For example, the new Semipaxy ironworker from Comeq Inc is equipped with a large machined table and servo control that regulates X and Y positioning. Once the program for a part has been entered into the controller, the part can be called up to position the X and Y stops automatically.

Punching and marking operations can be programmed into the controller, depending on whether the part requires a through-hole or a mark to indicate a positioning point,weld line, bend line, or drill point. Once the punch has cycled, the X and Y stops will move automatically to the next pre-programmed position. Positioning tolerance on the Semipaxy is 0.003", far more accurate than measuring with a tape measure or using a template. Once the program has been entered into the computer, like parts can be accurately and quickly fabricated without any further factoring.

When laying out manually or using a template, each separate part requires the same degree of attention. With recent advances in programming, it may be faster to lay out even a single part on the computer than to do so manually. The effect is that CNC controls may benefit custom fabricators.

Automated handling systems also have the potential to reduce labor. Comeq offers the ALRS, a system that feeds and shears to length various widths and thicknesses of flat bar. Up to five different cut dimensions can be programmed into the computer along with the desired number of cuts per dimension. A hydraulic holddown, in conjunction with a knurled drive roller and an idler pinch roller, feeds the material through the shearing section, while a rotary encoder calculates each cut dimension. The material can be fed at a maximum rate of 900" per minute. A 20-foot roller conveyor is provided with the system.

For more details, contact Comeq, PO Box 207, White Marsh MD 21162.

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