Many metalformers choose compact machines with reduced footprints, but smaller isn’t always better, Carlos Rodriguez, director of business development, Tecoi North America, tells FFJournal.

July, 2023- Facetime: Many metalformers choose compact machines with reduced footprints, but smaller isn’t always better, Carlos Rodriguez, director of business development, Tecoi North America, tells FFJournal.

Q: Why should manufacturers consider large-format machines?

A: It’s not only about the size of the machine but also the productivity of the whole system. We think about the whole process from the moment a plate is received to the point when the part is ready for the next process down the line. How can this be optimized? How can material handling be improved? How can the cost of ownership be reduced? How can the cost per part be reduced? Large-format plate processing reduces material handling and scrap by cutting larger plates and increases throughput, all while simplifying nesting and production planning.Large-format thermal cutting machines also avoid having multiple welded seams on one plate or larger parts. A large-format laser cutting machine increases arc-on time when compared to smaller platform lasers, where the arc stops more often while plates are being shuttled back and forth. Plus, large-format lasers give users the advantage of having one very large plate, or many smaller plates, on one cutting table at one time.

Q: What are some examples of Tecoi’s machinery focus and direction?

A: Tecoi has been a pioneer of heavy laser cutting since the beginning of fiber laser. We engineered a dual-fiber process (DFP) for better flexibility with the capability to process sheet metal and heavy plate on the same machine. Using Tecoi’s proprietary Solomon DFP technology, customers can have two fiber cutting configurations and up to eight different optical configurations in one head. This ensures that any of the gantries of the laser machine can work in a collaborative mode to process the overall job without stopping to change the settings. If one gantry stops, the controller automatically reevaluates the work that still needs to be processed, and from there may direct the other gantry to come over and finish the other job first before continuing back where it left off. Another innovation is a large machine that can host multiple processes, including direct drilling up to 6-in.-diameter holes, tapping, machining, contour bevel plasma and contour bevel oxy-fuel cutting, blasting and marking. With dual 45kW independent spindles, it can be synchronized to process identical jobs next to each other or work independently. One of the latest Tecoi systems can remove cut parts from the cutting table, conduct a scan and quality check, compare the part with the database to know exactly the part size, part number, tolerances, customer, etc. The scan allows the part to be rejected for manual inspection or sorted based on part number, customer preference, assembly number and so forth. This is a game changer for many industries.

Q: How are these large-format solutions improving customer productivity?

A: With our dual-fiber process and twin heads, machine throughput is dramatically increased. Also, using larger plates reduces required seam welding, scrap and material handling time. Our cold bevel milling process is as much as 20 times faster and more accurate than traditional manual/thermal beveling and can reduce the time to process a bevel plate for wind towers, bridges, pressure vessels and other applications by as much as tenfold and lower total processing costs by 80 percent. Tecoi also integrates thermal cutting machines and complex bevel machining centers with largeformat plate handling systems. A single tower can feed up to 10 machines, no matter the cutting process. Each pallet that moves from storage tower to machine has a weight capacity of 25 tons and can be built to hold up to a 10-ft. by 50-ft. plate.

Q: How should one evaluate ROI on a large-format solution?

A: It’s often true that initial capital investment is greater on larger machines than smaller machines, but there are exceptions. Many customers are pleasantly surprised that the investment on a large machine is not as big as they suspected.

Tecoi systems increase production significantly compared to smaller-platform machines. Then, when you include advanced production tools with larger-platform machines, users often realize as much as a 400 percent increase in production compared to smaller-platform machines. Not only can customers realize a faster ROI but also increase their ability to retain customers by producing parts faster with better precision and smoothness.

TECOI (tecoi.com), based in León, Spain, has its North American headquarters in Longview, Texas.