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Bending/Folding

Planning ahead

Above: The Prima Power eP-Brake is based on a rigid O-frame. This ensures tool alignment even under stress deformation since there is no horizontal displacement. This design isolates ram positioning accuracy from any deflection in the side frames under load and maintains accurate positioning even during off center bending operations.

Investment in the future pays dividends for Southeast contract manufacturer

May 2017 - Farris Fab & Machine, Inc., Cherryville, North Carolina, opened its doors in 1979 with a humble 1,200-sq.-ft. building, limited machinery and four employees. The Farris team had a lofty goal: to become one of the best fabricators in the Southeast.

The company has since grown into three shops totaling 200,000 sq. ft., 200 employees and services for a large, diverse customer base, including agriculture, appliance, construction, heavy equipment, HVAC, oil and gas, transportation, power generation, material handling, elevators and shelving/display. It performs plate, sheet metal and structural steel fabrication, and CNC machining. 

The next level

President Bryan Farris took over the family business when his father, Corwin Farris, retired in the early 1990s. “We went from a small job shop to a good-sized contract manufacturer by investing in our future,” he explains. “Price, quality and delivery were no longer selling points; they were to be expected by our customers. 

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A programmable dual-drive back gauge is standard on all eP-Series press brakes. Manual adjustment along the length of the gauge is made via linear guides.

For us to get to the next level, things were going to have to be different.”

So the company sought growth opportunities during the Great Recession. The owners took advantage of the lower real estate costs and moved from its 37,000-sq.-ft. shop to its main 110,000-sq.-ft. plant in Cherryville.

At the same time, Farris accumulated an arsenal of fabrication machines and machine tools, including: seven laser cutting lines, 12 press brakes, a turret punch press, a plasma machine, two waterjet cutting tables, an oxy-flame cutting machine, welders, nine CNC mills, five CNC lathes, six robots, plus wet paint and powder coating capabilities.

Farris then set its sights on the business process management aspect of its business. “To get to the next level, we began by adding a paperless ERP system,” explains Bogdan Ewendt, CFO and COO. “As we got busier, customers were asking us if we had the capacity to deliver their parts on time. That’s when we added a new ERP system. Now each work cell has its own monitor to record the progress. Today, when a customer calls up and asks, ‘Where’s my part?,’ the information is right there.” 

The ERP system made Farris more efficient, and the company wanted to make sure that those efficiencies were put to good use. 

“We began our search for more productive fabricating equipment so we were ready for the next growth spurt,” Ewendt says. “There was a substantial investment made in fabricating equipment in 2015 with the intent to grow the business.”

After much research and comparison, part of that investment was the addition of the Prima Power Platino fiber laser and the eP-1030 servo-electric press brake.

FFJ 0517 bending image2

Reliable and consistent precision is one of the key characteristics of the Prima Power eP-Series brakes.

Flexibility is key

The Platino fiber laser from Arlington Heights, Illinois-based Prima Power combines efficient and ecologically sound fiber laser technology, with the proven reliability and flexibility of the Platino platform. 

The laser performs efficiently, resulting in energy and maintenance savings; increased productivity, particularly on thin and medium-gauge sheet (up to 20 mm in mild carbon steel); and flexibility, as it’s capable of handling a wide range of materials, even highly reflective materials such as aluminum alloys, copper and brass. Reliable, the Platino is user-friendly, easy to install and easy to use, particularly with automation modules. 

Comparison shopping 

Farris asked several laser companies to run the shop’s programs and parts on their machines to compare the results. The Prima Power Platino 5 kW fiber laser beat other higher wattage competitors by as much as 15 minutes on the nest. 

“I’m very happy with the way the Platino fiber laser is running,” Farris says. “I knew that I wanted a fiber laser to cut faster. We had a job coming up that was a production challenge, and our speed on the Platino [model] was exponentially higher than the CO2 lasers. This job called for 4,000 sheets of stainless steel to be cut, and our savings from that job alone was 50 percent faster than the CO2 lasers.” 

Because the orders coming into the shops are so diverse, the Platino fiber laser “was an important piece of the pie,” adds Ewendt. “We were able to offload some of the jobs to the faster fiber laser that allowed us to do more of the smaller run jobs on the CO2 lasers and still remain competitive. Depending upon the materials, we run between 50 percent and 100 percent quicker on the Platino fiber laser.” 

FFJ 0517 bending image3

Press brake function

Farris also purchased the Prima Power eP-1030 servo-electric press brake. Prima Power has applied a servo-electric drive system on the new eP-Series press brake. It is a fast, accurate, non-hydraulic bending solution. The machine also has lower power consumption, requires less maintenance, and requires no oil. Simple programming and true accuracy reduce scrap to a minimum. The net result is the ability to form higher-quality sheet metal parts at a lower cost.

The pulley belt system is actuated by Prima Electro servo drives and distributes the bending force over the whole bending length. The system consists of fixed and moving rollers spread out over the total working length of the upper beam. The belt itself is a steel wire-reinforced, maintenance-free belt. It is not a tooth-belt, nor is the functioning based on friction. The entire force is transmitted through tension—a simple and reliable solution. Servo-motor drives offer superior movement control and accuracy. Thermal influences on precision are eliminated through the absence of oil.

The Prima Power eP-Brake is based on a rigid O-frame. This ensures tool alignment, even under stress deformation, since there is no horizontal displacement. The position of the upper beam, in relation to the lower beam, is measured by dual Y1 and Y2 linear encoders that are attached independently from the machine frame, and are bed referenced. This design isolates ram positioning accuracy from any deflection in the side frames under load and maintains accurate positioning even during off center bending operations. Ram repeatability on the eP-Series is ± 0.005 mm.

An operator-friendly 17-in. touchscreen helps improve data input rates and reduces programming time. 2D graphical programming with automatic bending sequencing will assist in making even first-time operators productive.

The eP-Brake features high acceleration, deceleration and fast response times of the servo-electric drive system. Compared to conventional brakes, productivity can be increased with reduction of cycle times by up to 30 percent and more, according to Prima Power.

“We’ve been very happy with our partnership with Prima Power,” Farris says. “Prima Power stepped up whenever we’ve had any issue with either machine. The machines have increased our productivity. We are getting the same amount of work out now working five days a week than when we were working six. 

“Now everyone goes home by noon on Friday,” he continues. “We are making more money and working fewer hours while dramatically increasing our quality.” 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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