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Manufacturing

Smooth operator

By Russ Olexa

September 2009 - With the government mandating that sheet metal used for bus seats must be devoid of sharp edges, Freedman Seating Co., Chicago, was in a challenging situation.

The company needed to round the edges of components used in the transit and bus seats it fabricated from sheet metal. Freedman quickly realized that replacing manual labor to establish consistency and reduce cost was a priority.

"We needed to find a piece of equipment that would meet our specific requirements for edge rounding using an automated process to achieve quality and consistency rather then relying on manual labor," says Shlomo Bar-sheshet, director of manufacturing at Freedman. "Manual labor presents many challenges and issues to be dealt with. Lack of consistency, quality and the cost associated with manual labor are only few of the issues that prompted us to search for an automated system that produces deburred and rounded edges on our sheet metal components."

Freedman conducted research for several months and came across equipment from Lissmac Corp., Halfmoon, N.Y., that could produce a rounded edge in one pass. "The SBM-S deburring and edge-rounding machine really fit the bill," says Bar-sheshet. "The results of the rounded edge test run on some of our components at Lissmac's facility convinced us that it would not only provide us with the finish we were looking for but it was also doing it considerably faster and more economically."

Down the road
Bar-Sheshet says that within the next three to four months, the company might consider purchasing another Lissmac deburring system because of the results achieved using the first machine.

"Our consumables using manual labor were about $45,000 per year, but with the Lissmac equipment, we were able to reduce them to $25,000 per year," he says.

"Technicians at Lissmac said the deburring brushes would last about 200 hours, but we're actually able to get 250 production hours on one set of media blocs."

"The service they offer for the equipment is prompt, and the service techs are very responsive and knowledgeable," he continues. "So far the equipment has performed well and without any issues. It's been a good, positive experience."

In 2002, Lissmac began manufacturing its own line of steel-brushing sheet metal processing machines in an effort to improve sheet metal fabricating processes. "Our machines are designed to process both sides of sheet metal, top and bottom, in a single pass," said Thomas Weinfurtner, vice president of Lissmac, in a press release. "We achieve this major advantage by feeding the workpieces over a conveyor and roller system with the tool belts running in between the rollers, perpendicular to the feed direction."

Lissmac's technology results in consistent quality of the end product with smooth and evenly rounded edges. The SBM-S and GS are for grinding and deburring and the SBM-B steel brushing machines are primarily used for oxide removal. FFJ

Sources

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