October 2014: Laser Automation
- The State of Plasma
- Automation: Press Brakes' Word of the Day
- Borrowing a Training Idea
- On Board Press Intelligence
- Automating Fiber Lasers
Hypertherm knows plasma. That’s not so much an endorsement as it is a statement of fact – the company released the first commercially viable plasma cutter almost 50 years ago.
Today, however, in the wake of an economic downturn and recovery, plasma – like the manufacturing industry as a whole – needs to change and adapt. To find out what particular challenges the industry’s facing as it seeks to do so, we talked to Hypertherm’s president, Evan Smith.
Every once in a while, we at FAB Shop think it’s a good idea to take the metaphorical pulse of a particular field of the sheet metal industry. In this issue, we decided to do that for both the press brake and plasma industries, and for the press brake industry, we spoke with TRUMPF’s TruBend Product Manager, Tom Bailey.
In Germany, the apprenticeship program is the main path young people take to enter the workforce directly from high school. The successful program is often cited as a leading reason for Germany’s high productivity and relatively low youth unemployment rate, which is 7.8 percent as of May 2014, according to Statista, an online portal that provides access to government data. As a result, the German apprenticeship system is drawing increased interest from industry, education and government sectors in the United States. By comparison, the US has a youth unemployment rate of 14.3 percent as of July 2014, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It can ruin your day: Unplanned downtime of critical-path press equipment negatively impacts entire organizations – from the shop floor to the executive suite. Sadly, studies show most instances of press failure were preventable, if early warning signs were detected and managed appropriately. Emerging technologies, which rely on increased on-board press intelligence, are remedying these precarious situations and contributing to the reduction of unplanned downtime and increased shop floor productivity by offering maintenance teams a glimpse into the future; transforming maintenance efforts from reactive, to proactive.
Currently, fiber lasers, used for two dimensional sheet processing, are rapidly gaining popularity in North American industrial markets and around the globe. Easier to use and often regarded as a more solid method to create a light source than traditional CO2 laser technology, fiber lasers are highly accurate, have a high beam quality, and are often used to form intricate parts in the fabrication sector. In general, two markets heavily involved with the technology are original manufacturers (OEM) and contract manufacturing companies.