Fabrication made easier

Fabrication made easier

Fabrication logo The 2007 Fabtech International & AWS Welding Show surpassed attendance expectations and set new highs for number of exhibiting companies and net square footage of exhibit space, according to show organizers.

The four-day showcase of metal forming, fabricating, stamping, tube & pipe, and welding equipment attracted nearly 31,000 visitors from more than 75 countries worldwide, a 27% increase compared to the last time the show was in Chicago in 2005. Attendees visited exhibits filling 461,627 square feet of booth space in the North and South Halls of McCormick Place.

This annual event is cosponsored by the American Welding Society (AWS), Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International (FMA) and Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and supported by industry partner the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

Fabtech International & AWS Welding Show also offered a line-up of more than 100 conferences, seminars, professional programs, and other technical sessions. Topics covered the best practices, latest trends, and new commercial developments in forming, fabricating, welding, and related technologies.

Next year's Fabtech International & AWS Welding Show will take place October 6-8, 2008 in Las Vegas for the first time. This new location was selected after exhibitors expressed an interest in reaching the large number of metal fabricating technology users located in the Western region of the U.S. More than 700 exhibitors have already reserved close to 90% of the available space for the 2008 event.

Here is a sample of the products on display:

New flatbed laser. Trumpf Inc introduced a new flatbed laser, the TruLaser 5030 that has a newly designed beam guide and cutting head that can process all sheet thicknesses using the same cutting head. The machine automatically changes the laser beam depending on the material to be processed.

Hybrid laser welding system was introduced by ESAB Welding & Cutting Products, Florence SC. The hybrid laser arc welding (HLAW) process is a mechanized laser-welding system utilizing laser only, laser with cold wire fill, or hybrid laser arc welding in a 2D gantry, 3D robotic, or custom mechanized solution with closed-loop weld process control. New this year is a collaboration with Trumpf Laser to include the Trumpf TruDisk laser resonator on the HLx Series. All the components of these systems are available from a single source and are supported and serviced by ESAB.

Hybrid Laser Arc Welding (HLAW) combines the deep weld penetration and low heat input associated with laser welding with the power efficiency and superior gap tolerance of GMAW to create a new welding alternative. The deep penetration and fast weld speeds of laser welding reduce heat infusion into the part and reduce the associated distortion that causes plates to buckle and warp, making fit-up unpredictable and often costly to repair. This deep penetration, however, can limit laser welding's ability to produce acceptable weld fusion in weldments with wide gaps between parts. Adding GMAW in tandem with the laser, with the addition of a relatively modest amount of filler metal, creates a wider weld bead capable of bridging much larger weld gaps, up to four times as wide as conventional laser processes can handle. Adding GMAW to the welding mix also enhances a finished part's metallurgical stability, and with GMAW's slower cooling rates, produces welds with greater strength and less brittleness. This is especially beneficial for higher alloyed steels sensitive to hot cracking.

Multiple operations can be performed with the Pullmatic 720 punching system from Pullmax Inc, Rolling Meadows IL. It punches, forms, bends up to three inches, marks, taps, and cuts. Each tool rotates up to 360°. It also can be equipped with a laser if required, and its automated material handling system permits parts to be fabricated even when the machine is unattended.

Robot handles the output of the Strippit V-Series 1225 30-ton CNC turret punch press. The robotic Pick-Sort system works in conjunction with the new Strippit V30-1225 turret punch press to handle workpieces up to 98.4" × 49.2" (2500 × 1250 mm). The punch press has a hydraulic press drive that delivers up to 400 hits per minute on 1" (25 mm) centers and is capable of producing at 1000 strokes per minute in continuous nibbling mode.

The machine's large turret capacity allows up to 48 stations with three 3.5" (88.9 mm) indexable stations and one additional fixed 3.5" (88.9 mm) station or one fixed 4.5" (114,30 mm) station. LVD Strippit, Akron NY.

Quick bites — the Motorum 2548 turret punch press can nibble steel at a rate of up to 800 hits per minute with 27 U S tons of force. It can process sheets up to 0.25" thick. It can handle 1250 mm x 2500 mm without repositioning. Punching accuracy is +/- 0.004". It is a product of the Forming Division of Murata Machinery USA, Charlotte NC.

Punching and shearing combination is a product of GOITI, Elgoibar, Spain. By incorporating a shear, the advantages of punching machines can be retained while speeding the cutting of rectangular parts.

Integrated software and hardware combine to help put automated robotic welding within the reach of fabricators that produce complex parts in low-volumes. The SmartTCP automatic welding system uses a gantry system to position the parts and provide access to the robot. The software programs the robot and gantry by reading the CAD data. SmartTCP Inc, Farmington Hills MI.

Keeping closer tabs on production is now possible with vFactory software from Amada America, Buena Park CA. The software collects data from all CNC machines operating on the plant floor so that users can see how each machine is performing. The system also can send alerts — either by e-mail or cell phone — to plant management and/or the Amada service representative. Other news from Amada included:

  • Introduction of Astro II 100NT robotic bending system that enables companies to produce even high-variety parts unattended.

  • A new turret punch press — the EMK3610NT, a servo-electric model capable of delivering 1,800 hits per minute and complex forming that otherwise would have to be done on a press brake.

  • The HDS 8025-NT electric/hydraulic press brake that delivers a part directly from a print without the need to produce a test piece.

Robot has been redesigned for improved life of welding components. The new IRB 1600ID robot has integrated all of the welding cables inside the robot arm for improved protection. The enclosed dress pack includes power, welding wire, shielding gas, and pressurized air. The manufacturer, ABB Inc of Norwalk CT, also displayed a new painting robot designed to spray epoxy paints.

Pick an option. The new Edgemax cutting system is offered in three basic models: one designed for HVAC shops, one for general fabrication, and another for precision plasma operations. Each is equipped with unitized steel table and lightweight aluminum beam driven by dual AC motors. The exhaust table, frame, and controller arrive on a single truck ready to work once placed in position, leveled, and hooked to a gas supply. The Edgemax is available from Messer MG Systems and Welding, Menomonee Falls WI.

Need to do some heavy bending? The folding machine from Davi North America, Loves Park IL can handle ¾" plate up to 16 feet long.

Corners can be formed in 38 seconds without welding and grinding. Phil Williams demonstrates the ACF Multiflex from CIMID. In a recent development, the machine can now form up to a four-inch radius. CIMID Corporation, Pine Brook NJ.

Windows-based programming is one of the features of the Hydracrop 165/SD ironworker available from Comeq Inc, White Marsh MD. Touch-screen data entry speeds machine setup, according to Don Letourneau and Fred Gebhardt. The ironworker can punch a 9/16" hole in 1¼" steel. The machine is also equipped with angle shear, plate shear, coper/notcher, and channel shearing station.

Automatic miter saw from Kaltenbach is equipped with a gripper feeder that can position material to accuracies of +/- 0.005". The circular cold saw offers programming of part length, angles, and quantity, including automatic calculation of blade feeds and speeds, automatic blade height setting, and programming by means of the user's part number terminology. Kaltenbach Inc, Columbus IN.

Portable ironworker goes where the work is. Power can come from a 5-hp engine or three-phase 220-volt AC. The 36-ton iron worker can punch a 11/16" hole in 3/8" steel, shear ¼" plate, or cut a 2" × 2" × ¼" angle, says Jordan Loehr. It is available from Edwards Manufacturing, Albert Lea MN.

Cutting flat — the new ShearMaster 610 flat bar shear can slice through 1" × 12" base plate and up to ½" × 24" flat stock. Standard features include electric stroke control setting to reduce the travel of the upper blade, hydraulic hold down, electric back gauge for automatic cycle, and 10 hp motor. The shear can be coupled with the Scotchman advanced feed system. The feed system's controller can be set up with up to 99 different programs. Both are available from Scotchman Industries, Philip SD.

New gun and power source is now available from MK Products, Irvine CA. The new gun, with rear-mounted gas valve and trigger, can be used on all Cobramatic welding machines. The new power source is the CobraMig 4000P, a pulsed MIG model that works with the Cobramatic wire feed push-pull technology. Exclusive software algorithms allow for hard wire and aluminum welding when used with the Cobramatic wire feed cabinet. Denis Walp demonstrates.

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