September 2014: Coated Forming Tools
- Catering to Every Crowd: Siemens CNC Controls
- Coated Tools Overcome Weak Link in Making Chain
- Up and Down Folding
- A Close Look at Wila’s Crowning System
- Volts, Amps and Plasma Power
Open source. It’s a technology movement in which the source code of computer software is made freely available and modifiable by its developers, leading to many different versions. It’s not something that you’d typically associate with manufacturing technology, but when I visited with Siemens at FABTECH last year, I was shown the company’s CNC control software, and I couldn’t help but draw the comparison in my mind.
t’s hard not to envy the huge advances in the life of cutting tools, wishing that the tool coatings that have enabled their extraordinary improvements in cutting speed and tool life could apply to bending and forming tools. But those coatings don’t stand up well to the forces employed in fabricating, particularly the forces that try to shear the coating off of the tool.
There’s evidence that a solution is one the way – or maybe it’s already here, ready to go, and just waiting for widening application in bending and forming tools. A chain-manufacturing company has been using it with great success in an application that involves high forces and very high volumes, and the coating has produced a massive improvement in tool life and product quality.
The press brake has been a valuable and useful machine for the North American manufacturer. It has been the one machine that is absolutely needed to form a punched or laser cut blank into its final shape. However, many press brake users are taking a closer look at this bending application.
In plasma cutting, it’s about watts -- power. In arc welding, whether stick, MIG, TIG, or whatever, it’s about amps -- current. We’re accustomed to think of comparative power ratings in arc welding based on the amperage the machine is delivering through the arc.
Plasma cutting is different. In a plasma torch, volts and amps both count. A machine’s cutting rate depends on how many watts (volts times amps) it delivers.
And so amperage comparisons don’t tell the whole story. Hypertherm, whose plasma cutters tend to deliver higher-than-average voltage, has an obvious reason to clear this up, which they do as follows:
Just as some V8 engines get more horsepower to the truck’s wheels than others; some plasma systems provide much more power than others.