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Laser Technology

High volume

By Matt Garbarino, Cincinnati Inc.

Above: Cincinnati Inc.’s high-volume CL-900 fiber laser and automation allow Gammons to cut thinner materials faster and more cost efficiently.

Manufacturer fuels growth with greater cutting capacity, automation and open architecture software

March 2021 - Gammons Metal & Manufacturing Co. Inc. is no stranger to growth. The small metal parts and fabrication shop opened its doors in 1968 and has since maintained an upward trajectory. In 1998, the Indianapolis-based company changed hands. Today, Gammons, helmed by owner Dave Sutton, is one of the largest independent metal fabrication companies in the Midwest.

The 70,000-sq.-ft. facility can saw, shear, punch, tap, bend, pierce and notch carbon steel, cold rolled, hot rolled pickled and oiled, galvanized, aluminum, stainless, brass and copper. Its skilled personnel can take parts from prototype to production runs, subassemblies, inspection and shipping.

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Cincinnati’s fiber lasers make setup and operation easy.

Seamless processing is a hallmark of Gammons. A bottleneck in its cutting operations prompted the manufacturer to look at fiber laser technology that could handle larger volumes.

The company has a lot of good things going for it.  There was just one issue that needed solving.

“We were looking to expand and take on bigger jobs,” Sutton says. “100,000-piece orders instead of 100-piece orders. With our existing equipment, we were unable to do that. We wanted a large-volume laser cutter with state-of-the-art automation.”

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The CL-900 makes it possible to save material with common-line cutting.

A step up

Sutton and his team visited a number of facilities to see demonstrations of different brands. Reputation, quality and transparency prompted the manufacturer to choose Cincinnati Inc. and its CL-900 fiber laser with a MARCH 360 automation tower. The fiber laser series provides high-speed cutting for thinner materials at lower operating costs. Programmable beam quality and other features support machine tool performance for processing all metals and thicknesses.

“Proximity and being U.S.-based was important to us,” says Sutton. “Nothing against the other options out there—many of them have served us well and still do. But this was a major change for us, and we hoped to form a partnership with our supplier. To that end, we wanted the best in cooperation and communication. Cincinnati provided that from day one.”

The CL-900 fiber laser and MARCH 360 automation tower were installed in May 2018. The manufacturer added a second CL-900 machine with a smaller automation tower in 2020.

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Open architecture allows Cincinnati to use third-party SigmaNEST software.

“We liked how easy it was to set up common-line cutting on the CL fiber laser,” says Sutton. “To us, that is a big deal. We save sheets upon sheets of material with common-line cutting, which is real dollars back in our pocket.”

Gammons operators use third-party SigmaNEST software to run the fiber lasers. The manufacturer has used the product a number of years and its operators are familiar with the way it functions.

“Most OEMs prefer not to work with third-party software,” says Sutton. “You’re pretty much forced into using their software packages and locking yourself in with sizeable annual fees. Cincinnati is software friendly, even though they have a software offering of their own. That was a big factor in our decision. We heard from other Cincinnati customers that their service and support was top-notch. Everybody bragged about the service department, and we were impressed with the staff during our facility tours. We threw challenges at them, and their staff always came up with solid, very effective and imaginative solutions.” Gammons has found the fiber lasers to be durable and trouble-free. The CL-900 machines are able to run thousands of parts during a shift.

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Gammons has increased sales due to higher throughput with the Cincinnati fiber lasers.

Increasing sales

In addition to reliable equipment, Cincinnati has also built its reputation on its employees. The OEM’s service techs, programming support and application engineers have proved their mettle to the manufacturer. “It’s been outstanding,” Sutton says. “My operators compliment Cincinnati every day.”

The biggest change the Gammons staff has noticed has been a welcome one. The company has increased sales because of its ability to take jobs it previously could not.

“In the first quarter of 2020 when everything was shut down, people still needed work done,” Sutton says. “In six weeks we ran all of our regular orders plus another million pounds of material that was drop-in stuff. There’s just no way we could have done it before having the CL fiber lasers and towers. It’s resulted in more consistent business as well. Many of those drop-in customers are now regulars because we were there for them in a pinch.”

As for what’s on the horizon, excitement was audible in Sutton’s voice when he spoke about the future of Gammons. The manufacturer is working on a couple of prototypes, one for a Big 3 automaker and another for a customer in the food industry. Sutton expects both projects to begin production this year. Both will likely take about five years to complete.

The investment in advanced technology gives Gammons the room to expand by adding people, equipment and more space. “We’ll probably have to get another laser,” says Sutton. “Definitely a bigger building and probably some more Cincinnati press brakes to go with it.”  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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