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Laser Technology

Focal length

By Lynn Stanley

Above: The Mitsubishi eX-F 8kW Zoom fiber laser can reduce operator setup and maintenance. The Zoom cutting head’s all-in-one design includes an auto focus focal range from 3.75 in. to 10 in.

Zoom fiber head helps fabricator pierce plate in seconds without sacrificing quality

May 2018 -  Custom Quality Manufacturing has its customers covered. Literally, that is. CQM designs and manufactures a complete line of lift covers for a wide range of applications including hydraulics, scissor lifts, lift tables and adjustable beds. Jake Wieler and Pedro Dyck started the Aylmer, Ontario-based business in 2006. When year-over-year growth put the fabricator in a position to make new equipment purchases, Wieler and Dyck revisited the possibility of adding a fiber laser.

“We first considered fiber technology because we liked the speed but we didn’t feel it was a good fit for our short-run custom fabrication work,” says Wieler. “We couldn’t justify the cost.”

The 40,000-sq.-ft. metal fabrication shop employs 25 employees that laser cut, form, blast, weld and paint finish parts for the agriculture, automotive and general industrial markets.

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CQM has built a reputation on its ability to develop new products and solutions to protect machinery. The shop couples quality control systems with a wide range of materials and manufacturing techniques to help it identify product advances that make sense for its customers.

The need to control capacity and new technology developed by Mitsubishi Corp. changed the fiber laser playing field for CQM in 2017. Elk Grove, Illinois-based MC Machinery Systems Inc. exhibited its Mitsubishi eX-F 8kW Zoom fiber laser series at Fabtech the same year. An all-in-one design supports higher-kilowatt inputs and eliminates beam adjustment and the need for lens cleaning. The machine can cut up to 1-in.-thick mild steel without any setup. Operating costs can be reduced by as much as 70 to 80 percent. The zoom cutting head includes an autofocus focal range from 3.75 in. to 10 in., HPP pierce technology and collision protection.

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The eX-F 8kW Zoom fiber laser maximizes green light on time and throughput with the Smartflex Rapid Automation System.

Quick piercing

Initially, says Wieler, “Fiber wasn’t an option because of the custom work we do for our customers. But when we learned of the Zoom cutting head on the 8kW fiber laser we were considering, we decided to purchase it. The Zoom cutting head gives us a big advantage. It used to take us 15 to 20 seconds to pierce a 1-in.-thick plate, and now we’re piercing it in two seconds. It’s valuable to note that the quality is the same, if not better than with our CO2 lasers.”

To avoid bottlenecks downstream, CQM also invested in automation with the Mitsubishi Smartflex Rapid Tower.

“It didn’t make sense to have a standalone high-speed machine like this because it would simply sit idle,” says Wieler. “With the addition of the SmartFlex Rapid Tower, we are impressed with what we can run through our system. Before automation, we ran 60 to 70 sheets through with a two-minute cycle time. That didn’t give us enough time to clear the tables, but we no longer have that problem.”

CQM expects its business activity will continue to grow. “Even as we were installing the fiber, we were keeping in mind that we would want to add a second laser under the towers so that it could feed two machines,” says Wieler. “We want to gain experience working the fiber laser and then we will discuss the decision of purchasing a second fiber machine from Mitsubishi.”

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To improve customer support MC Machinery moved into a new 175,000-sq.-ft. facility in 2017.

Diagnostics

Like CQM, MC Machinery has been making moves of its own to keep its customers covered. The company moved into a new 175,000-sq.-ft. facility in 2017. A 50,000-sq.-ft. showroom features Mitsubishi machines that include laser, EDM, milling, turning and press brakes. Dedicated space for machine refurbishment and reconditioning promotes quicker turnaround. A laboratory and clean room facilitate PC board repairs while an improved call center connects customers with skilled service personnel and applications managers.

Remote monitoring software helps the facility’s remote360 central station diagnose disruptions before they happen. The station can also track power and gas costs per job for compatible Mitsubishi lasers and monitor laser automation systems.

Investment

The North American headquarters also introduced its newest Mitsubishi SR-F model fiber laser in 2kW, 3kW and 4kW. The entry-level machine offers the advantages of Mitsubishi lasers in an economical package. The machine reduces medium and thick-plate processing times by 44 percent and non-process times are cut in half with simultaneous nozzle cleaning and changing, height sensor calibration and gas purge during pallet changes.

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Pedro Dyck, Vice President, left, and President Jake Wieler.

With an 8kW resonator, fabricators can improve cutting speeds by 10 to 45 percent, depending on the material. Piercing operations for thick plate stainless steel are faster.

Powerful controls with standard features like automatic focusing, two-action processing, simple nesting and program editing make using the SR-F easy for operators.

“MC Machinery Systems customers really get the best of both worlds,” says MC Machinery Marketing Coordinator James Barrera. “We are a single source for a diverse arsenal of manufacturing technologies and our support network represents in-depth knowledge and field experience. That know-how covers nearly every aspect of metalworking—from simple fabrication to CNC-driven, automated manufacturing cells.” 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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