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Tube & Pipe

Team player

By Colin Linneweber

Above: The LT8.10 is a fully automatic laser tube able to precisely and accurately process ferrous and nonferrous metal products.

One tool to do it all, BLM unveils a new fully automatic laser tube

February 2017 - BLM Group USA Corp., a Wixom, Michigan-based manufacturer of tube and sheet metal processing equipment since 2001, was contacted by a customer seeking a solution to support its explosive  growth—something that, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth or on the customer’s production floor—might long prove to be indestructible. 

BLM Group USA President and COO Jeffrey Ahrstrom and his engineers quickly deduced that the newly developed LT8.10 was the one tool to master the customer’s workload.

The LT8.10 is a fully automatic laser tube that is capable of precisely and accurately processing copper, aluminum, brass, stainless steel, zinc, iron and any other alloy. BLM Group USA’s laser features 3D tilt cutting, an expansive array of configurations, and it can cut tubes that range in diameter from 10 mm to 240 mm and which weigh up to 88 lbs. The model is also easy to operate, extremely flexible, possesses exceptionally high load and unload speeds, bends wire up to 8 mm, and can concurrently cut tube and sheet metal.

FFJ 0217 tube image1

Automation brings materials to the laser cutting head, which has proved to be reliable, productive and easy.

“Our customer  was expanding production and needed a solution to support its  growth,” says Ahrstrom, and believed the LT8.10, BLM Group USA’s latest generation of highly productive laser tube machines, would fulfill their demanding requirements. 

“The LT8.10 offers a superior solution, in terms of its back office functions, planning, part processing, programming and shop floor interface, for the manufacturing industry,” Ahrstrom says. “Possibly of greatest importance, the LT8.10 can rapidly produce accurate parts or assembly kits day after day. This technology is focused on improving the operator experience and the customer’s profitability.”

From raw materials to a finished product, the LT8.10 successfully helped the customer eliminate unnecessary downtime and boost both performance and manufacturing output, he says. 

“A laser beam is agnostic. This means that a fiber laser of equal power cuts a piece of material pretty equally independent of [brand],” Ahrstrom says. “What also makes a difference is the machine’s ability to handle material. Our machine and its multiple unloading options can measure material for length, size, twist, etc. Plus, the machine’s automated system, which allows it to efficiently handle materials and bring them to the laser cutting head, is critically important in terms of reliability, productivity, and ease of operation.”

The customer, who was not available to go on the record about its experience with the LT8.10, is reportedly ecstatic with the machine for its diverse capabilities and functions. Finalizing the installation was the work of many and Ahrstrom credited the diligence of the machinery builder’s project manager and programming, customer service and technical support groups with putting everything in place. 

“This was a team effort because we planned training and installation methods well ahead of the delivery,” says Ahrstrom.

FFJ 0217 tube image2

The LT8.10 helped one BLM customer reduce downtime and boost both performance and manufacturing output.

“Our project manager coordinates all activities starting immediately after the point of sale. Having a dedicated and certified project manager eases this complex series of activities for the end user. Next, our process usually brings the programming team in several weeks before machine delivery to get them trained and prepared to program parts. We offer several levels of Artube training to coincide with the user’s software package. Our team deals with machine rigging, utilities, training schedules, production ramp, equipment installation and deployment on a daily basis. 

“Lastly, our service and support groups are vital.” Without such assistance, “customers often find it difficult to keep up with the rapidly changing pace of manufacturing technology.” 

While some companies may choose to interact less with a customer once a sale is completed, Ahrstrom emphatically disagrees with such business practices. He adamantly believes customers deserve ongoing support and maintenance.  

“This is our job,” he stresses. “We offer sales preventive maintenance and solid service support during, and well after, the warranty period expires,” says Ahrstrom. “Our technical support experts help our partners with difficult manufacturing challenges. This is key and it’s a part of what our customers buy when working with us.”

BLM Group USA, with more than 500 employees, remains on the upswing and is determined to augment its inventory process and work environment. The privately held company will soon relocate  to a 75,000-square-foot factory in Novi, Michigan,  approximately 1 mile from its current site. The greenfield site has ample space to expand an additional 50 percent when needed. 

Ahrstrom says the new plant, which will open in late spring, will contain expanded training space, “more machines for demonstration, and expanded service parts to meet our continued growth,” says Ahrstrom. BLM Group USA will have the power to conjure success for an expanding customer base and pull them out of the shadows of obsolete technology. FFJ

Sources

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Beckwood Press Co. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters Triform

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc.

LASER TECHNOLOGY

Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. Mazak Optonics Corp. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC MC Machinery Systems Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SigmaTEK Systems LLC

BEVELING

Murata Machinery, USA, Inc. Davi Inc. Striker Systems
Steelmax Tools LLC TRUMPF Inc.

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

COIL PROCESSING

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Bradbury Group MTS Sensors Rolleri USA

STEEL

Burghardt + Schmidt Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial Automec Inc. BLM Group
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies SafanDarley

WATERJET

Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

PUNCHING

Barton International

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc. Behringer Saws Inc.

WELDING

Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company

 

MetalForming Inc.

 

 

 

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

 

 

 

Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

 


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