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Shearing machine market to grow at CAGR of 2.88 percent through 2021

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Looking toward the future of the shearing machine market? Consider this.

According to The Fabricator:

“360 Market Updates has released a report on the shearing machine market that forecasts growth of 2.88 percent CAGR from 2017-2021. The report analyzes key performing regions and manufacturers, with a focus on market drivers, challenges and trends, market opportunity, market size, and customer landscape.

“Growth in the global fabricated metal products market positively affects the global shearing machine market. The global fabricated metal products market was valued at $1.81 trillion in 2015 and is projected to reach $2.35 trillion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 5.36 percent, the company states.

“To view a sample of the report, visit www.360marketupdates.com/enquiry/request-sample/10533845.”

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What is metal fabrication and where is the industry headed?

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New to metal fabrication? Consider this.

According to The Fabricator:

“Metal fabrication is the process of building machines and structures from raw metal materials. The process includes cutting, burning, welding, machining, forming, and assembly to create the final product.

“Metal fabrication projects include everything from hand railings to heavy equipment and machinery. Specific subsectors include cutlery and hand tools; architectural and structural metals; hardware manufacturing; spring and wire manufacturing; screw, nut, and bolt manufacturing; and forging and stamping.

“The main benefit of metal fabrication shops is the centralization of these many processes that are often required to be performed in parallel via a collection of vendors. A one-stop metal fabrication shop helps contractors limit their need to work with multiple vendors to complete complicated projects.

How Is Metal Fabrication Performed?
“Metal fabrication industry has broad applications across a great many industries and consumer products. Standard raw materials used include plate metal, fittings, castings, formed and expanded metal, sectional metal, flat metal, and welding wire.

“Shops employ many different experts, including welders, ironworkers, blacksmiths, boilermakers, and similar professionals that work with these raw materials and convert them into their final products.

“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 1.425 million workers are employed in metal fabrication. Among them are cutting, punching, and press machine setters and operators; first-line supervisors; managers; machinists; team assemblers; welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers.

Sector Characteristics
“Because demand is driven by the economy, the profitability of the metal fabrication industry relies on economic growth to thrive. Since the economic rebound after the last recession, metal fabrication has become a strong and intense business that continues to recalibrate itself and flourish. Current adjustments include a shift from leaning on a few large projects to maintain a yearly profit to attempting to maintain steady sales volumes by diversifying and continuing to follow the successful template of previous years.

“Most companies in the metal fabrication business work primarily to fortify their organization’s strategy in a manner that can best help them make it through changes in the global economy. When the local economy thrives, these boosts tend to cause consumers to loosen their purse strings and purchase bigger-ticket items such as cars, boats, and houses. And as the population continues to grow, new construction picks up, requiring additional agricultural and commercial machinery.

“The metal fabrication industry is highly cyclical and depends on industries such as auto, aerospace, construction, and energy. Earnings for each sector vary based on market and economic factors affecting those markets. Investors must look at their particular customer base and the economic influences affecting them in any given year.

“To gather the best predictions, metal fabricators can start by looking at significant statistics for that area of business, be it home construction, energy, defense, or any other area. By diversifying the customer base and collecting customers from a variety of sectors, the cyclical nature of the industry can better manage to keep net profits consistent.

“Metal fabricators that can quickly shift product lines can protect profits and focus on areas where demand is most prevalent. This type of diversification can create a sustainable revenue base, regardless of revolving economic conditions.

A Look at the Future
“The industry is learning to balance capacity with variability and find new ways to build support for the inherent variability of customer demands that are driven by an ever-changing economy. As machinery becomes more sophisticated, the ability to maintain a constant level of capital and profit is improving.

“Although forecasting can be difficult in a business dependent on the economic fortune of its customers, the general consensus remains that those who can keep up with rapidly changing demands while still maintaining a high output capacity will elbow into a position of maximized profits.

The Need for Capital
“To maintain profitability, metal fabrication shops require capital to quickly adjust output and meet the demands of a diverse customer base. Covering costs is easy in a booming economy, but when belts tighten, the industry must begin to cut corners and reduce variable costs, which in turn naturally limit the customer base the shop is able to cater to at any given time. The ability of these companies to make modern investments that allow them to maintain a variable output is the key to sustaining customer diversification.

“By pairing efforts to diversify their customer base with economic vigilance and an eye on competitor costs, as well as ensuring the entire manufacturing process is streamlined from top to bottom, fabricators can protect their investments from the impacts of negative environmental influences.

“The metal fabrication industry stands as a solid investment built on highly fluid customer demand. This lucrative moving target can be difficult to pin down, as shops struggle to gear their efforts and capital toward those sectors that yield the highest profits at any given time.

“The volatility of the market has required the industry to streamline production practices and focus on the ability to reliably produce high-capacity output for a many varied customer requests.

“Those metal fabricating shops that can optimize their manufacturing process and operating machinery, paired with stakeholders who can pay close attention to competing costs and the economic trends affecting their customer base, will lead the industry.”

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Laser Cutting

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New to laser cutting? Consider this.

According to ISQ Directory:

“Chapter 1: What is Laser Cutting?

“Laser cutting is a non-traditional machining method that uses an intensely focused, coherent stream of light called lasers to cut through the material. This is a type of subtractive machining process where the material is continuously removed during the cutting process. This is done through either vaporization, melting, chemical ablation, or controlled crack propagation. The laser optics is digitally controlled by a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) making the process suitable for drilling holes as small as 5 microns. Moreover, the process does not produce residual stresses on the material allowing the cutting of fragile and brittle materials.

“Laser drilling is a type of laser machining process that is done by several methods, including single-shot drilling, percussion drilling, trepanning, and helical drilling. Single-shot and percussion laser drilling produce holes at a higher rate than the other two processes. Trepanning and helical drilling, on the other hand, produce more accurate, higher quality holes.

“Aside from the accuracy of the process, there are other advantages offered by laser cutting. Since there are no cutting tools used, the non-contact nature of lasers produces no tool wear issues. High strength, brittle materials such as diamond tools and refractory ceramics. The first production laser cutting was introduced in 1965 and was used to drill holes in diamond dies. Laser cutting technology was then used for cutting high strength alloys and metals such as titanium for aerospace applications. Its range of applications also covers the cutting of polymers, semiconductors, gems, and other metallic alloys.

Chapter 2: Laser Cutting Theory and Working Principle

“Laser stands for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. Aside from the cutting applications of lasers, they can also be used for joining, heat treating, inspection, and free form manufacturing. Lasers used for laser cutting differ from other machining processes since it requires higher power densities but with shorter interaction times.

“Lasers are produced by generating light from a high-intensity light source inside a reflective laser cavity. The laser cavity contains a laser rod where the radiation is generated. The light source is used to stimulate the laser rod which is composed of atoms of a lasing media that absorbs certain wavelengths of light from the light source. From physics, it is known that light is composed of small bundles of energy called photons. As photons strike the atoms of the lasing media, the atoms become energized. When another photon strikes the energized atom, the atom gives off two more photons with the same wavelength, direction, and phase. This is called stimulated emission. The new photons further stimulate other energized atoms producing more photons, causing a cascade of excitations. Two parallel mirrors are located on both ends of the laser rod. Photons moving perpendicular to these mirrors stay within the laser rod. One mirror is partially transmissive, enabling the partial escape of light from the cavity. This escaping stream of coherent, monochromatic light is the laser beam used to cut the material. Another set of mirrors or fiber-optics direct light into a lens. This lens focuses the light into the material.

“There are three main types of lasers used for cutting. These are CO2, Nd-YAG (Neodymium Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet) lasers, and fiber-optic lasers. They differ on the base material used to generate the laser beam.

CO2 Lasers
“This type has a gas discharge lasing medium filled with 10 – 20% carbon dioxide, 10 – 20% nitrogen, traces of hydrogen and xenon, and helium for the balance. Instead of light, laser pumping is done by discharging an electrical current. When the electrical discharge passes through the lasing medium, nitrogen molecules become excited, bringing it to a higher energy level. Unlike what was described before, these excited nitrogen molecules do not lose their energy by photon emission. Rather, it transfers its vibrational mode energy to CO2 molecules. This process goes on continuously until most of the CO2 molecules are at the metastable state. The CO2 molecules then emit infrared light at either 10.6 µm or 9.6 µm which bring them to lower energy levels. The resonating mirrors are designed to reflect the emitted photons on those wavelengths. One mirror is a partially reflecting mirror allowing the release of the infrared beam that is used for cutting the material. After releasing infrared light, the CO2 molecules then return to the ground state by transferring its remaining energy to the doped helium atoms. The cold helium atoms then become hot which is cooled by the cooling system of the laser. The efficiency of a CO2 laser is around 30% which is higher than other lasers.

Crystal (Ruby, Nd, and Nd-YAG) Lasers
“Unlike the CO2 laser, this type is a solid-state laser that uses a synthetic crystal as a lasing medium. The most popular is the YAG (Y3Al5O12) crystal doped with 1% ionized neodymium (Nd3+). In this crystal, the Nd ions replace the Y ions in the crystal structure. The length of the rod is about 10 cm with a diameter of 6 to 9 cm. The ends of the YAG rod is polished and coated by highly reflective materials acting as the resonator system.

“Laser pumping is achieved by krypton flashlamps or laser diodes. This laser pumping excites the Nd ions into higher energy levels. After a short while, the excited Nd ions move into a lower, more stable state, without emitting photons. This process goes on until the medium is populated with excited Nd ions. From its metastable state, the Nd ions release infrared light with a wavelength of 1064 nm.

Fiber-optic Laser
“Fiber-optic lasers are one of the newer types which use fiber-optics as the lasing medium instead of gases (CO2 lasers) and crystals (Nd-YAG lasers). Since it uses fiber-optics, fiber lasers are solid-state lasers that operate the same way as crystal lasers. The optic fiber is doped with elements such as erbium and ytterbium. Erbium generates light at the 1528 to 1620 nm range. Ytterbium, on the other hand, produces light with a wavelength of 1030 nm, 1064 nm, and 1080 nm.

“It is known that as light travels through a fiber-optic, it remains inside with minimal energy losses. This makes fiber-optics more stable as compared with other types that require it to be aligned accurately.

Chapter 3: Methods of Laser Cutting
“The previous chapter discussed the different types of lasers according to how the laser beam is formed using different types of lasing pumps and lasing media. Next will be the methods of laser cutting—how the small bits of materials are removed to produce a cut. There are four main methods of laser cutting: sublimating, melting, reacting, and thermal stress fracturing.

Sublimating or Vaporizing
“Sublimation is a type of phase change from a solid state to a gaseous state, with no intermediate liquid phase. This is the same process of how dry ice turns into a vapor without becoming a liquid. The material quickly absorbs energy in which there is no chance for melting to occur. The same principle is applied to laser cutting wherein a high amount of energy is imparted into the material in a relatively short time that causes direct phase change of the material from solid to gaseous states, with as little melting as possible.

“The cut begins by creating an initial keyhole or kerf. In the kerf, there is more absorptivity which causes the material to vaporize more quickly. This sudden vaporization creates a material vapor with high pressure that further erodes the walls of the kerf while ejecting materials from the cut. This deepens and enlarges the hole or cut made.

“This process is suitable for cutting plastics, textiles, wood, paper, and foam which requires only small amounts of energy to be vaporized.

Melting
“In comparison with sublimation, melting requires less energy to achieve. The energy required is about a tenth of the sublimating laser cuts. In this process, the laser beam heats the material which causes it to melt. As the material melts, a jet of gas from the coaxial nozzle with the laser beam expels the material from the cut. The assist gases used are inert or non-reacting (e.g., helium, argon, and nitrogen) which only aids the cutting through mechanical means.

“Because of its low energy requirement, it is used for cutting non-oxidizing or active metals such as stainless steel, titanium, and aluminum alloys.

Reactive Laser Cutting
“In this process, a reactive gas is used to generate more heat by reacting with the material. The process begins by melting the material with a laser beam. As the material melts, a stream of oxygen gas comes out of the coaxial nozzle which then reacts with the molten metal. The reaction between the metal and oxygen is an exothermic process which means heat is released from the reaction. This heat assists the melting of the material which is about 60% of the total energy required to cut the material. The molten metal oxides are expelled by the pressure of the oxygen jet.

“Aside from the lower energy required from the laser beam, cutting speeds using reactive gases are faster than laser cutting with inert gases. However, since this process relies on chemical reaction, the molten metal oxide which is not expelled by the oxygen jet forms along the edge of the cut. This produces low-quality cuts than using inert gases.

“This process is used to cut thick carbon steels, titanium steels, and other easily oxidized metals.

Thermal Stress Fracture
“This process involves introducing a small kerf at depths of about one third the thickness of the material using a laser. The laser is then used to induce localized stresses. This is achieved by heating a small spot which creates compressive forces around it. After passing the laser beam, the area slightly cools creating thermal stresses. In some designs, coolants are used to assist in the generation of thermal stress. When these induced stresses reach failure levels, a crack is propagated that causes separation.

“The movement of the laser beam directs this separation in a controlled manner. This method usually requires less power than laser vaporization with better cutting speeds. Localized heating is normally carried out below the glass transition temperature.

“CO2 lasers are widely used for this application since infrared light with a wavelength of 10.6 µm is ideal for cutting most nonmetals. However, not all materials can be cut by one type of laser since different materials absorb light at different wavelengths. Thermal stress fracture is widely used to cut brittle materials such as ceramics and glass.

Stealth Dicing
“This is a laser cutting technology originally developed by Hamamatsu Photonics which is used in cutting semiconductor wafers and parts of microelectromechanical systems or MEMS. In this type of cutting, the initial kerf is created at an internal point within the material. Stealth dicing is a dry cutting process where the cut produced is clean with no molten deposits.

Chapter 4: Laser Drilling Techniques
“There are different ways to create a hole using a laser. These are classified according to the movement of the laser beam relative to the workpiece. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages.

Single-shot Laser Drilling
“In this type of laser drilling, a single laser pulse with high energy is used to create a hole. This single beam laser is focused on a single location until the material melts layer by layer. The melting process is done efficiently and in a short amount of time which makes this process desirable in producing multiple holes quickly.

Percussion Laser Drilling
“In percussion drilling, the laser beam diameter is the same as the hole diameter. Comparing it with single-shot drilling, instead of using a single laser pulse, successive low-energy pulses are used to remove material. These repeating pulses eventually penetrate the material which takes about 4 to 20 pulses depending on the depth of the material and laser beam properties. This process is also completed quickly which makes it effective in working with thick materials and producing multiple holes in a short amount of time.

Trepan Laser Drilling
“In trepan laser drilling, the laser beam spot size is significantly smaller than the hole size. When an initial hole is made, the laser beam is then traversed around the hole, expanding the drilled hole size into the desired diameter. This is done to drill large holes efficiently than single-shot and percussion drilling. Trepan drilling is slower but can produce holes with better metallurgy and geometry.

Helical Laser Drilling
“Like trepan drilling, this type uses a moving laser beam to drill through a material. However, it does not require an initial hole. In this method, the laser beam is rotated relative to the workpiece. The laser beam’s rotation is similar to that of a conventional drill bit. Rotation is achieved by a spinning dove prism or other optic systems rotated by a high-speed motor. The quality of the hole produced is comparable to holes made by trepan drilling.

Chapter 5: Laser Cutting Machine Configurations
“The previous chapter discussed different laser drilling techniques. Next will be the different configurations of laser cutting systems. These are also classified according to the way the laser beam moves relative to the workpiece.

Moving Material Configuration
“In this setup, the laser cutter is stationary while the material surface is moving. Since no movement from the laser is required, the optics system is simpler than other configurations. However, this is slower than other methods and is usually limited to cutting flat materials.

Flying Optics System
“This setup is the opposite of the moving material. Flying optics involves a stationary material and a movable laser cutter. Since the laser is moving constantly, the laser beam length must be adjusted constantly as well because of the divergence of the laser beam. Greater divergence produces a poorer quality of cut. To mitigate this, re-collimating optics and adaptive mirror control are used. This setup is the fastest among the three since the movement of the mirrors is easier to control.

Hybrid System
“In the hybrid system, the material moves on one axis while the optics move on the other axis. This setup combines both advantages and disadvantages of the previous two setups. One advantage of this system from the flying optics is that hybrid systems provide a more constant beam path which reduces power losses.

Chapter 6: Laser Marking
“Laser marking is the process of creating marks using lasers by cutting the surface of the workpiece at a shallow depth or by inducing chemical changes through burning, melting, ablation, polymerization, and so forth. Like laser cutting and laser drilling, laser marking has the advantage of being a non-contact process. Issues of tool wear and unwanted work hardening on the surface of the workpiece are eliminated. Moreover, laser marking does not use inks which is an advantage over traditional printing. Different types of laser marking processes are summarized below.

Surface Removal:
“This process involves removing specific regions of the layer of coating previously applied on the surface of the workpiece. The workpiece has a different contrast from the coating which makes the regions removed significantly visible. Materials for this type of laser marking are special films and coated metals.

Engraving:
“This is a type of laser marking where the surface is cut at the desired depth. The cut is made usually by laser vaporization process. The main advantage of this method is that it can be done at high speeds.

Thermal Bonding:
“This is done by fusing additional pigmented materials such as glass powders or crushed metal oxides on the surface of the workpiece. The materials are fused by the heat applied by the laser.

Annealing:
“This process involves heating specific regions using a laser. The heat applied by the laser causes the metal to oxidize producing different colors such as black, yellow, red, and green.

Carbonizing:
“In this process, plastic bonds between polymers are broken, releasing hydrogen and oxygen and producing a darker color. This process is done on plastics and organic materials.

Foaming:
“This is usually done on plastics where the color pigments and carbon are destroyed and vaporized resulting in foaming. Foaming process is done on dark-colored materials that need to have lighter colored markings.

Staining:
“This process induces chemical reactions on the surface of the workpiece where the products of the reaction have different colors.

Chapter 7: Advantages and Disadvantages of Laser Cutting
“Laser drilling is widely used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, electronics, and tool machining. Below are the main advantages of using lasers for drilling.

Non-contact Technique
“As mentioned earlier, since the laser drilling process has no cutting tools involved, there is no issue of tool wear or damage. In conventional drilling, drill bits can become dull making the cutting slower which also produces more heat. This can distort the material and change its mechanical properties due to heating.

Precision and Accuracy
“Since laser beams produced can be focused, this allows precise drilling of small holes that cannot be achieved by conventional drilling. The hole depth can be controlled even for micro-scale holes. Moreover, the process is digitally controlled by CNC methods. All parameters can be automatically controlled producing consistent and repeatable results.

Minimal Burrs Produced
“Secondary processes such as deburring are required in the manufacturing of precision parts to remove surface irregularities, metal spurs, raised edges, slags, and dross. Even the most accurate fabrication techniques such as laser cutting technology tends to develop dross or thermal burrs. In comparison with conventional cutting, however, laser-cut parts still have superior edge quality. This effectively lessens the cost of secondary processes particularly deburring which can be as high as 30% of the operating costs.

High Aspect Ratio
“This means very deep holes with small diameters can be drilled without issues. Drilling these kinds of holes using conventional drills causes the tool to heat up, wobble, and break due to torsional stress. Using a laser creates no frictional resistance and is only limited by the laser generator and the optical systems used.

Suitability for Difficult Materials
“Lasers can cut and drill different types of materials that are difficult for conventional machining. Lasers can cut high strength metals such as titanium and steel superalloys. Aside from these high strength metals, because of its ability to do controlled fracture, laser cutting is used for cutting crystals, ceramics, and even diamonds.

Fast Drilling Speeds
“Since there is no required tool positioning against the workpiece, drilling speeds only depend on the configuration of the optical system and the movement of the cutting head. Moreover, the complexity of the profile to be cut has minimal effect on the incremental cost to operate the machine.

No Residual Stress
“Since most of the molten material is blown off by the assist gas, there are no residual stresses present along the drilled edges. This results in a clean, mechanically stable cut.

“Despite these advantages, the current technology of laser drilling cannot completely replace conventional methods. Below are the main reasons.

High Investment Cost
“Laser cutting machines can reach prices twice as much as waterjet and plasma cutters. The investment’s rate of return may not be sufficient to produce any economic advantage.

High Expertise Required for Operation and Maintenance
“Operating a laser cutting machine requires a specialist that has good technical background because of the range of operating parameters involved. Also, for CO2 and crystal lasers, once it becomes misaligned, an expert is needed to bring it back to its operating condition.

Highly Precise Robotic Systems Required
“Highly precise movements are required in laser cutting, especially in applications in the order of microns. Two factors can affect the movement of the laser beam. One is the accuracy of the control system and drivers. The control system must be able to process and send precise signals to the high-resolution driver to finely position the laser beam. The other factor is the dimensional accuracy of the laser cutting parts. Linear guides, lead screws, and other parts of the transmission system must accurately mate together. This can be achieved by deburring the laser cutting parts.

Metal Thickness Limitations
“The depth of cut depends on many parameters, but the most significant is power. For the same power rating, plasma cutters can cut deeper than lasers. Common industrial laser systems of greater than 1kW can cut carbon steel up to 13 mm in thickness.

Conclusion:

  • “Laser cutting is a non-traditional machining method that uses an intensely focused, coherent stream of light called a laser to cut through the material. Laser drilling, on the other hand, is another type of laser machining process that produces a hole through the workpiece achieved by different techniques.
  • “A laser beam is generated by using a high-intensity light source or electrical discharge device to excite atoms or molecules inside a lensing medium. This lensing medium produces cascading excitations which result in the production of photons. The photons are then resonated and partially released. The released photons become the laser cutting beam.
  • “Lensing media used for laser cutting are CO2, crystals, and fiber-optics.
  • “There are four main methods to produce a cut or hole. These are sublimating, melting, reacting, and thermal stress fracturing. Each of these methods has its application.
  • “Laser drilling can be done by single-shot, percussion, trepanning, and helical drilling. Single-shot and percussion laser drilling produce holes at a higher rate than the other two processes. Trepanning and helical drilling, on the other hand, produce more accurate and higher quality holes.
  • “Laser cutting machines can be classified according to the movement of the laser relative to the workpiece. These are moving material, flying optics, and hybrid systems.”

Original Source

Press brake forming for medical components

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How does one press brake form medical components? Consider this.

According to Today’s Medical Developments:

“Typically associated with high-volume sheet metal production, press brakes can form metal components for medical instruments, surgical tools, and testing devices, still meeting stringent tolerances for quality, size, and precision. Press brakes can form a large variety of medical components and allow manufacturers to maximize production and save costs with today’s technology.

Forming medical parts
“Growing demand for autoclave sterilization, surgical trays, and robotic surgery systems means companies must produce parts faster with higher consistency. Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based MC Machinery offers two main press brake series that offer higher throughput with medical-grade consistency. BB series all-electric, small form factor, small footprint machines are driven by AC servo motors and ball screw drive mechanisms. They maximize productivity with high ram speeds and high-precision repeatability (1µm).

“The BB series also offers a more ergonomic forming environment. Operators can sit down to form parts at the press brake and don’t have to bend or move around a large machine. Several press brakes can be placed into the same footprint of a larger machine, allowing users to maximize revenue per square foot. Also, because the machines are electric, there are no temperature effects that would impact angularity.

“’Customers are looking to increase revenue per square foot and with them reviewing their product mix, they are seeing in some cases 80% of their current lineup can fit on a 6ft or smaller press brake,’ says David Bray, national press brake product manager at MC Machinery Systems.

“BH series press brakes use an innovative dual drive system to improve productivity, positioning accuracy, and energy use compared to conventional or hybrid press brakes. The drive technology allows up to 200mm/sec. ram movement while maintaining accuracy and repeatability.

“’For the most part, the industry is relatively new to what’s considered a third-generation hybrid,’ Bray explains. ‘Both of our machines are driven down by an electric ball screw. In the BH series, it’s only using the servo hybrid system for the forming.’

“Servo hybrid forming provides three primary benefits to users:

“Increased speed – The ball screw’s fast down, fast up movement is almost instantaneous.

“’Whether an 8ft, 80-ton machine or 250-ton machine, all my machines have the exact same speed, and I have faster cycle time against all my competitors in 2.3 seconds,’ Bray says.

“Accuracy – The machine drives down the ball screw using the hybrid system for each cylinder, measuring each side of the machine three times. The typical hydraulic machine offers ±0.0004” accuracy, while the servo-driven machines offer 1µm repeatable accuracy.

“Bray adds, ‘A customer is able to get that first part/right part much faster with these machines.’

“Longer life cycle – Only using the pressurized servo-hydraulic system for bending increases component life by 60%. Machines that typically had 10-year life cycle for major component failure, could now last up to 16 years. Throughout the machine’s lifetime, downtime events decrease to one or sometimes even zero before customers are looking for new capital equipment.

Smart machining
“Knowing that finding qualified workers remains challenging, MC Machinery developed the Videre operator support system, which turns a press brake upper beam into a head-up display, reducing setup time by displaying tool shape, position, and length in real-time. It shows operators how to form parts to reduce the risk of bending parts backwards. The display also reduces operator movement to and from the control, allowing them to view the bending sequence or dimensional information for the part while bending.

“’We’ve made our controls very similar to a tablet or cell phone. This way, it’s easier for younger people when they enter into the world of manufacturing,’ Bray explains. He adds that in most cases, it only takes a few hours to train new operators who have never used a press brake before.

“The system displays control information on the front of the ram, allowing the operator to be much more attentive and informed about what is being formed on the machine. The screen displays the bending sequence and shows where to put the tooling, what shape the tools are, and how to handle the parts, whether it’s a top-down view or isometric view.

“’It makes an inexperienced operator a great operator. As manufacturers, it’s our responsibility to provide that capability because our customers are buying these machines and having a difficult time finding employees who can run them,’ Bray says.

Machining trends
“Bray predicts that future medical forming trends will focus on easier functionality and more automation. The increasing need for qualified individuals to work the machines means customers are looking at automatic tool changers or collaborative robots (cobots) to integrate into their applications. These types of capabilities will increase due to the lack of manpower that the industry faces.

“’All of my machines are now equipped and ready to go with these robots,’ Bray concludes. ‘This is where the industry is going and how manufacturing is pushing more and more for automation.’”

Original Source

The Fabrication of Products Using Stainless Steel

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How are stainless steel products fabricated? Consider this.

According to IQS Directory:

How is stainless steel fabricated?

“Stainless steel can be fabricated using any of the traditional forming and shaping methods. Austenitic stainless steel can be rolled, spun, deep drawn, cold forged, hot forged, or stippled using force and stress. Though stainless steel has a great deal of strength and a high hardening rate, it is very ductile, which enables it to be cold formed.

“Deciding on the type of stainless steel for a project requires an understanding of the many grades, which are divided into four families – austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, and duplex. The largest of the four groups is austenitic made from combining steel, nickel or manganese, and nitrogen. It is the main choice for producing a wide variety of products. Ferritic stainless steel contains carbon steel and chromium. Martensitic stainless steel comes in four types with a combination of iron, chromium, and carbon. How the materials are combined and depending on the addition of other alloys determines the type of martensitic stainless steel. Duplex stainless steel is a combination of austenite and ferrite in various percentages and ratios.

“Grades of stainless steel are numbered. The type of numbering system depends on who is doing the grading since they vary between Great Britain, the International Organization of Standardization, Japan, Europe, Germany, and China. Regardless of the classification system, every organization has the same basic requirements and standards that define what stainless steel is.

“The method of fabrication used to shape stainless steel depends on the grade and its type of alloys. Each grade has different qualities that makes it easier or more difficult to shape. They all have the one commonality of corrosion resistance and endurance though some may have lesser versions of these qualities.

Types of Stainless Steel for Fabricating

“Different types and grades of stainless steel have varying uses. When choosing stainless steel for a project, careful consideration has to be given the use of the product, method of forming, and equipment to be used. A miscalculation of any of these factors can lead to an unfortunate outcome.

“There are five basic types of stainless steel that manufacturers use to create industrial and household products. What has to be kept in mind is the varying grades of stainless steel beyond these five types.

“Ferritic stainless steel has a chromium base with a low amount of carbon. It is not ideal for conditions where welding is needed but is perfect for marine environments with its high corrosion resistance.

“Austenitic stainless steel is the most commonly used. It can be welded, formed, shaped, and reconfigured for multiple purposes. Austenitic stainless steel is formed by combining nickel, manganese, and nitrogen. The austenitic form of stainless steel can be cold worked, which improves its hardness, strength, and stress resistance. It can also be heated to be shaped but returns to its original strength when cooled. Austenitic stainless steel is classified in the 200 and 300 series of stainless steel.

“Duplex stainless steel has a combination of the characteristics of austenitic and ferritic offering the benefits of both, which gives its name using 50% of each alloy. It has twice the strength of other stainless steels and is able to withstand extreme pressure conditions. The low cost of duplex stainless steel makes it attractive though it is the least used of the varieties of stainless steel.

“Martensitic stainless steel is a composition of iron, chromium, and carbon, a 410 grade of stainless steel. It has high strength, hardness, and wear resistance but is poor for welding and has low plasticity. Martensitic stainless steel is used for cutting tools and dental and surgical instruments.

“Precipitation hardening (PH) stainless steel is corrosion resistant and can be heated treated to reach tensile strengths of 850MPa and higher, up to four times harder than austenitic stainless steel. It is an alloy produced by combining copper, molybdenum, aluminum, and titanium. There are three types of PH stainless steel – low carbon martensitic, semi-austenitic, and austenitic.

How Stainless Steel Products are Used

“Modern appliances and industrial products are made of stainless steel due to its ability to adapt to extreme temperatures, corrosion and rust resistance, and superior strength. Consumers have become rather particular about the types of products they require. One of their main stipulations is that products necessitate limited care and can endure all forms of use. The popularity of stainless steel rests in its ability to meet the exacting requirements of consumers, especially its ability to maintain its appearance in stressful conditions.

“Stainless steel is non-porous and scratch resistant. Its sturdiness makes it perfect for environments that require sanitary and antiseptically clean conditions such as large kitchens and medical facilities. Counter tops, cookware, and utensils in the food processing industries are made from stainless steel to meet the exacting requirements of food boards and health inspectors. In the medical field, infection can easily be passed by unclean hands and instruments. Since stainless steel can withstand the various disinfecting treatments that health professionals demand, it is widely used in the production of surgical instruments and tools.

“One of the more popular uses for stainless steel is in the manufacture of storage tanks for the obvious reasons of its resistance to corrosion and rust. Agriculture, fire protection, fuel transport and storage, and other industries that require strong and sturdy storage tanks depend on stainless steel to store their products in huge amounts. This is especially true for the chemical industries that have to have metal tanks that do not interact with the stored substance.

“The uses of stainless steel are endless due to its tensile strength, resistance to corrosion and rust as well as its sleek clean appearance. It is used to produce products from subway trains and airplanes to garden implements and tools. Each year, new and innovative designs are introduced to make use of its special qualities.

Making the Decision to Use Stainless Steel for Fabricating a Product

“With the wide variety of grades and families of stainless steel, selecting the right grade for a project can be difficult. There are important considerations when designing a stainless steel product. Since stainless is known for its strength and corrosion resistance, it is natural to assume that all stainless steel has these features. Each grade and type of stainless steel does have these characteristics to varying degrees. The grade and type determines the percentage and amount of corrosion resistance, strength, and durability of a particular type. Before making the decision to produce a product using stainless steel, it is wise to study the properties of each type and grade.

“The appearance and strength of stainless steel has made it a common part of construction projects. It can be seen as exterior ornamentation such as railings, siding, and fixtures as well as in interior forms like countertops and backsplashes. Its main attractiveness as a construction material is its low maintenance.

“Since the 1930’s, stainless steel has played a major part in the production of automobiles. Initially, it was used for exhaust systems, trim, and other non-structural purposes. With the advent of increased emissions standards, stainless steel has become an important component in the structure and design of automobiles.

“Stainless steel has had a significant impact on the medical instrument industry due to its ability to be easily sterilized and its corrosion resistance. Aside from surgical instruments, implants, such as hip joints, are made from stainless steel. Pins and plates used to repair broken bones depend on stainless steel.

“High carbon grades from 304 to 347 are the most popular and widely used in a variety of industries from the chemical processing of paper to the production of foods and beverages. The 400 series is less corrosion resistant and has a lower cost than the 300 series. It is usually used for surface finishes for its appearance.

Summary

“Stainless steel, in its many forms, has become a necessary part of product production. Since its introduction over a hundred years ago, producers and manufactures have come to rely on its indestructible qualities for the creation of many of the items we depend on. Though there have been other metals developed in the last thirty years, it is very likely there will be more forms of stainless steel in the future.”

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Prestige Metals Helps Students Perform Experiments in Zero-Gravity

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In 2017, while learning about the solar system and space-travel, a class of second-graders in West Lafayette, Indiana asked their teacher: “Could fireflies light up in space?” Unsure of the answer, the teacher contacted Dr. Steven Collicott, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Purdue University, for help. Dr. Collicott had a suggestion to help her students learn the answer to their question: “Let’s not guess, let’s build an experiment and test it!”

The second grade class worked with students at the Aeronautics and Astronautics program of Purdue University to design a small metal box to perform their experiment that could fit in a commercial zero-gravity spacecraft. This box would contain two syringes full of the chemicals that fireflies use to light up, a switch that would combine the chemicals at the right moment, and a HD camera to capture the experiment as it happens.

Prestige Metals was contacted to manufacture the sheet metal components of the box. The box would then be assembled by the second-graders with help from the Purdue students.

After successful fundraising by the two classes, the box, now called the “Launchbox,” was ready for its voyage. Aerospace company Blue Origin has a program for suborbital payloads, where curious minds who want to perform experiments with zero-gravity can reserve space for their payload aboard the New Shepherd rocket.

In December 2017, the rocket launched, carrying with it the experiment designed by the students. It turns out the firefly chemicals reacted positively while in zero-gravity, showing fireflies can light up in space!

Inspired by this teaching moment with the second grade class, Dr. Collicott realized this could be a great opportunity for classrooms everywhere! Thus, Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics introduced a program where likeminded classes around the country can opt to receive the materials to create their own Launchbox, complete with sheet metal provided by Prestige Metals, and the necessary files to 3D-print the plastic endcaps of the box. Dr. Collicott believes by removing the step of designing and building a box that is the right size, teachers and students can focus on the experiments they are eager to perform.

Companies That Moved North of the Border Happy with Their Decision

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Prestige Metal Products’ move to Bristol, Wisconsin last year – after 40 years in Antioch, Illinois – felt like home for owner and president John Annessi. Not only did he grow up in Kenosha County, but he also commuted to Antioch from Whitewater, Wisconsin for the past 20 years (he’s since moved to Salem).

With a pressing need for a bigger space, the sheet metal fabricator had put out feelers in both Wisconsin and Illinois. The best opportunity happened to be in Bristol, at an 85,000-square-foot facility four times larger than the one in Antioch.

Not only northern Illinois companies are drawn to southeastern Wisconsin. Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. opened its Kenosha fulfillment center in 2015. Last summer, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group announced plans to open a massive factory in Mount Pleasant, its first in the U.S.

Even so, many companies in Lake County, Illinois, are moving into Wisconsin, enticed by lower tax rates, tons of open land and the option to have a brand new, state-of-the-art facility (as opposed to upgrading an aging one). Lighting manufacturer Kenall Manufacturing Co. relocated from Gurnee, Illinois, to Kenosha in 2014, building a 354,000-square-foot, temperature-controlled factory.

“The plant is air-conditioned, compared to our former location, where the employees were working in 95-degree-plus temperatures in mid-summer,” said Randy Hernandez, executive vice president of operations.

Kenall considered more than 50 locations in Illinois and surrounding states, boiling it down to two in Illinois and two in Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin was selected as our place for business because of its pro-business local- and state-level environments,” Hernandez said. “Wisconsin educational institutions proactively approached us with labor training, technical and management education programs. They created a huge, mutual win-win for our employees and the company.”

He also pointed to a better tax rate for manufacturers in Wisconsin than in Illinois. A trio of economic development agencies (Kenosha Area Business Alliance, Milwaukee 7 and Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.), he said, were extremely responsive, championing Kenall’s eventual relocation.

“Local governments, at both the city and county levels, worked closely with economic development entities, providing fast tracks to construction services,” Hernandez said. “They worked with us to ensure our needed amenities and business service providers from local municipalities had the capacity to satisfy operations.”

L&M Corrugated Container Corp. had a similar experience with Wisconsin’s government when inquiring about a move. Outgrowing its space, the company desperately needed to upgrade.

“We reached out to both Wisconsin and Illinois, and Wisconsin contacted us very quickly,” said president Steven Lopes, whose grandfather Dick Lopes started the business in Zion, Illinois, in 1979. “I don’t even think Illinois contacted us until we had a purchase agreement on the building.”

L&M received a call from Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch’s office within a week.

“It was kind of a no-brainer (to move into Wisconsin) after that,” Lopes said.

The new plant in Pleasant Prairie (another one is in Platteville) has a new dock, streamlined processes and a new batch of clients.

Growing pains have forced many companies into Wisconsin, including Prestige Metal Products.

“We knew we had to expand,” Annessi said. “We had a lot of longtime and younger employees who wanted to expand and move along with our journey.”

Annessi himself climbed the ranks, starting as a janitor and moving into the role of plant manager. Four years ago, he bought out the owners.

Because several employees already lived in Wisconsin, the move didn’t ruffle any feathers. But the new location does aim to bring in more Wisconsin business while still retaining Illinois clients.

“Being this close to (I-94), transportation is a breeze,” Annessi said.

Whenever a company moves to a new city, there’s a possibility employees won’t opt to move, too. Hiring and training new workers can be expensive.

“We did not lose a single employee in the move,” Lopes said.

In fact, L&M added between 20 and 30 percent more employees.

Read more: Companies that moved north of the border happy with their decision

 

 

 

BIZTimes Reports Prestige Metals Relocates to Wisconsin!

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Prestige purchased an 8-acre property at 193rd Street from Cincinnati, Ohio-based Home City Ice Company for $2.35 million, according to state records.

Prestige was founded in 1945. The company has been based in a 20,000-square-foot facility in Antioch with 25 employees who manufacture stainless steel parts that are in soft ice cream machines and topping dispensers, according to the company’s website.

They have current annual sales of $3 million to $5 million and have the goal as well as the capabilities to increase sales to over $8 million.

Read More: Visit the Milwaukee Business Times

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