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By Nick Wright

Elastec reduces die changes with Scotchman ironworker

September 2011 - When it comes to engineering equipment for high-stakes environments—industrial oil spills or medical and contraband incineration—Elastec/American Marine, Carmi, Ill., depends on tight, reliable manufacturing. To streamline the punching and shearing of components used in assembling its vacuum tanks, boom reels and other parts, Elastec added a 5014-TM ironworker from Scotchman Industries, Philip, S.D., to its manufacturing facility. Elastec is the largest manufacturer of oil spill equipment in the United States, according to the company’s website.

The evolution of Scotchman’s 5014-TM has resulted in multiple combined operations, which saves customers not only floor space but precious setup and tear-down time in between the die changes associated with many punching operations. No stranger to Scotchman’s products, Elastec has increased efficiency by eliminating repeated punch and die swaps during production, allowing workers to punch, shear and notch at the same time.

Simplified redesign
The Scotchman 5014-TM ironworker is a 50-ton, three-station revolving-turret punching machine that features a 14-in. flat bar shear, angle shear, notcher and pipe notcher station. The turret punch can punch a 11⁄4-in. hole in 1⁄2 in. of material and up to a 21⁄4-in. hole in 1⁄4 in. of material, while the angle shear can cut 4 in. by 4 in. by 3⁄8 in. at 90 degrees and 2 in. by 2 in. by 3⁄8 in. at 45 degrees.

scotchman140pxMike Albrecht, national sales manager at Scotchman, says the current incarnation of the 5014-TM model was the result of a 2002 redesign of a previous 40-ton, six-station machine. The machine fulfilled “one of Elastec’s requirements, as they needed a notcher for notching on flat plate,” Albrecht says. “The 2002 revamping just gave us more versatility and gives us a larger tool table. The primary use is punching but it also gives you the ability to shear, bend, notch and use other tooling in the tool table.”

Elastec purchased the 5014-TM at the November 2008 Fabtech show. However, it isn’t the first Scotchman machine Elastec incorporated into its operations. In the late 1980s, Elastec bought one of Scotchman’s 35-ton ironworkers, according to Jeff Cantrell, vice president of Elastec/American Marine.

“We like the Scotchman line because it’s such an easy one to use, and of course, with the local rep, that makes a big difference, too,” Cantrell says, referring to Jim Lindley, owner of White County Abrasive & Industrial Supply, Carmi, Ill. “This punching operation makes our equipment look much more professional and also helps our efficiency,” Cantrell continues.

“One of the reasons I’ve sold Scotchman for 15 or so years is because it’s easy to use,” Lindley says, noting the 5014-TM is one of the best-selling ironworkers he represents. “[Elastec] has the capacity to set it to three different punches to do three different jobs and three different aspects of the same job without having to constantly change their punches and dies.”

Multifunction versatility
Elastec primarily punches steel and aluminum components as well as some stainless steel. Workers feed an array of smaller componentry, such as mounting brackets for fuel and hydraulic tanks, regularly through the 5014-TM. Most of those components get notches or slots punched in them, but Elastec can dial in dies for rounded cuts, as well. “A lot of our stiffeners for flanges on boom reels we’ll shear and actually punch the end of those so they’ll saddle and fit around a 1-in. tube,” says David Johnson, lead welding and fabrication supervisor at Elastec/American Marine. The Scotchman die package punches holes “anywhere from 7⁄32 in. up to 1 in.” and slots 1⁄4 in. by 1⁄2 in. and up, he says.

Many of the parts punched on the 5014-TM go into Elastec’s incinerator line, oil boom reels, hydraulic power units, “tank straps, mounting feeds and that type of thing. Strong holes are punched in those,” Cantrell adds.

The multistation aspect of the 5014-TM allows operators to work around each other on a job without waiting to take down die setups. Each station can be prepared with a die without interfering with complementing functions. The multistation abilities, combined with the machine’s compact size, are benefits of the 5014-TM, says Scotchman’s Albrecht. “Rather than needing a dedicated shear, dedicated angle line and a dedicated punch, this is one machine that can do multiple features to save [Elastec] floor space in their shop,” he says. The machine’s footprint measures 29 in. wide by 48 in. long.

“It saves a lot of time. Once you’ve got a piece there, you’re not running back and forth from machine to machine,” Johnson says. “When we’re doing angle, it’s got a place on the top that you can chop angle also.”

When material arrives at Elastec’s 83,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility, Elastec’s engineers and operators cut parts to size with a band saw before using the 5014-TM. “Mostly we’ll do angle and flat steel on our punching,” Johnson says. “A lot of our stuff we’ll either shear it right there on the ironworker and then punch it, and of course, we deburr all of it.” Elastec relies on the punching and shearing aspects of the 5014-TM regularly, because the machine is used every day. “I’d say 90 percent of our stuff is punched,” Johnson says.

Elastec applied a jig for its 11⁄16 in. punch that stops the material, allowing Johnson to create a half-moon shape for pipe saddles to fit over a 1-in. aluminum pipe. “Things like that just come in handy,” he says.

Hydraulic bypass ensures the 5014-TM applies the tonnage needed to get the job done, and as a fail-safe, prevents damage to the machine if punch capacity is exceeded. Sometimes rated tonnage of a punch is lower than the actual working capacity. However, the 5014-TM operates to the full rated capacity of 50 tons, according to Scotchman’s website. The throat depth is 4 in., and the hydraulics are backed by 2,100 psi.

American quality
Handling and maintaining the 5014-TM is minimal and simple. “I tell these guys if they’ll grease the machine two to three times a year and make sure they get their blades sharp, it’ll just keep working,” Lindley says.

Elastec has not encountered any problems with its 5014-TM in more than two years of running it daily, Johnson says, a testament to the machine’s longevity with constant use. “We haven’t had any trouble,” Johnson says. The training for the machine only took about 30 minutes when it was delivered in 2008. “When we buy something from Jim, he usually comes in and goes over things for us,” Johnson says.

About 90 percent of Scotchman’s business is anchored in North America, and 100 percent of its products are made in the United States at its South Dakota headquarters, Albrecht says. “We do fly our flag proudly,” he says. “There’s little manufacturing left in the United States, and we’re pretty proud to be supplying the U.S. with quality machinery made in America, by Americans.”

As a dealer, Lindley would sell all of the equipment he represents American-made, if possible. “Scotchman is made all in the U.S., all the parts in the U.S. Their service desk is second to none. Simply put, as I said before, I don’t have to go back and do warranty factory work on them because they just work well.” FFJ

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  • Elastec/American Marine 
    Carmi, Ill.
    phone: 618/382-2525 
    fax: 618/384-2740
  • Scotchman Industries
    Philip, S.D.
    phone: 800/843-8844
    fax: 800/843-5545
  • White County Abrasive & Industrial Supply
    Carmi, Ill.
    phone: 618/382-3212
    fax: 618/382-8606 

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