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Deburring/Finishing

Labor lift

By FFJournal staff

Above: Ivica Plisic operates Empire Architectural Metal & Glass Corp.’s Apex 3000, which Empire installed last year in order to improve its product quality and speed up finishing work.

Appearance matters when decorating New York City landmarks, so fabricator finds a fine finishing solution

May 2016 - Much of New York City is all about glitz and glamour. Walk down Park Avenue, Fifth Avenue or any other famous thoroughfare and you will pass marquee skyscrapers, world-famous retailers, swanky hotels and jaw-dropping architecture. 

So while every manufacturer says it must produce high-end quality work, Empire Architectural Metal & Glass Co. means it. This is because much of the fabrications it produces end up in the Big Apple’s famous buildings, façades and attractions. There simply is no room for errors or second-rate work. As Ilija Kilon, shop foreman at Empire’s metal shop puts it, “Precision is very important to us.”

Based in the borough of Queens, just a stone’s throw across Flushing Bay from LaGuardia Airport, Empire had been performing about 80 percent of its deburring work by hand. While some people adhere to the mindset that manufacturing by hand produces the best quality, that simply is not the case when fabricating and deburring metal parts. The process is slow, laborious, and no matter how skilled the craftsman, inconsistent. 

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Machine operator Ivica Plisic adjusts the settings of the Apex 3000 at Empire Architectural Metal & Glass Corp.

To bring consistency, better quality, and speed to its processes, Empire purchased a 3000 Series Model 3052M-D2SD machine from Apex Machine Group of Minneapolis in summer 2015. 

“We call it the time and labor saver,” Kilon says of the 3000. “We were doing about 80 percent of our deburring by hand but we’ve pretty much eliminated that. We have a smaller machine, but it doesn’t do the kind of work the bigger, newer one is doing. This one is ten times faster and the quality of the product is a lot better. There’s no comparison. It’s a lot faster compared to the way we did it before.”

Uniformity

“The main challenge with deburring is consistency,” explains John Becker, vice president at Apex Machine Group, based in Minneapolis. “A lot of people used to deburr with Scotch-Brite style rollers. With the Apex version, there are discs that are spinning and oscillating. So every square inch of every part is deburred exactly the same way for uniformity and consistency.”

To drive home the point, Becker explains how difficult it is to debur the middle of an 8-ft. panel by hand. When someone tries to edge-radius, de-burr or surface scuff the middle of the panel, it’s nearly impossible, “because no one has 4-ft. arms.”

The first head of the Empire Apex 3000 is for grinding and getting rid of the primary burr. The disc station or disc stations performs edge-radius and deburring. Finally, a drum at the third and final station regrains the surface of the metal. 

The 3000 series machines are available in 19-, 25-, 37-, 52- and 64-in. widths and up to 5 work stations, fully customizable for a variety of applications and production settings.

3 applications in 1

“This machine is one pass and done,” says Becker. “So you can do three different applications in a single pass: grinding, edge-radius/deburring, and regraining. You can have one person feeding the machine and every part will be the same.

“This has a significant effect on return on investment,” he adds. “We often hear that the way they were producing before is with a team of workers who might be skilled or unskilled who use an angle grinder and were getting inconsistent quality. Now you can have one person feeding the machine and every part will be exactly the same. This allows you to reduce your labor and put workers on a more profitable portion of your business, a positive all the way around and the customer gets a superior product.”

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Andres Salazar uses the Apex 3000 machine to debur a piece of metal at Empire Architectural Metal & Glass Corp.

In fact, Empire was able to reduce two positions on its staff since it started using the Apex 3000.

Empire works with aluminum, brass and stainless steel. The company had been buying 4- by 8-ft. sheets of material already polished. But since buying the new Apex 3000, it has changed its purchasing practices. Now, it buys raw material, performs the deburring, then finishes it to the customer’s request. 

“We work with a lot of aluminum and after we perform the finishing, it’s a lot nicer and the paint sticks to the material better,” Kilon says.

Follow-up

When customers buy a machine from Apex and decide they don’t want to pay for setup and installation, Becker knows there will be problems, followed by telephone calls.

“We make sure when we sell a machine that we have staff there to complete the installation, training and machine maintenance. We will go over everything with the machine and applications and then do the follow-up courtesy calls and follow-up visits,” Becker says.

Four employees at Empire are using the Apex 3000. “The people using the machine are very happy with it,” says Kilon. Val Frankola, Empire’s president, expects to see the return on his investment in one and a half to two years. FFJ

Sources

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Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
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Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

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Mazak Optonics Corp.

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Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
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SecturaSOFT

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TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Steelmax Tools LLC

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Trilogy Machinery Inc. Striker Systems

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

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Bradbury Group

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Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Burghardt + Schmidt Group EMH Crane Rolleri USA Nidec Press & Automation
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc.

PRESS BRAKES

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Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial AMADA AMERICA, INC. Alliance Steel
Tishken

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Automec Inc.

TUBE & PIPE

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies MC Machinery Systems Inc. BLM Group
Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

SafanDarley HGG Profiling Equipment Inc.

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Cincinnati Inc.

PUNCHING

Prudential Stainless & Alloys
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit Hougen Manufacturing

WATERJET

Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc.

SAWING

Barton International
Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. Behringer Saws Inc. Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

Cosen Saws Omax Corp.
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. DoALL Sawing

WELDING

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MetalForming Inc. HE&M Saw American Weldquip
Beckwood Press Co.

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Savage Saws Strong Hand Tools
Triform Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

T. J. Snow Company

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