In 2018 Newco Enterprises took a big step in automating the Fabrication Department by purchasing the new Amada Punch/Laser machine. This machine came in two stages, the punch/laser machine was installed in May of 2018, while the automation side came in November of the same year. After months of training and testing the machine is up and running. We had the opportunity to talk to the CNC Machinist and the head of the Fabrication Department to see how the journey of automation is going.
Interview with Scott Smith and Tony Francis
What is your name and how long have you worked at Newco?
Hello, my name is Tony Francis I’m the CNC Programmer and Machinist here at Newco Enterprises. I’ve been working here for 3.5 years and it’s my job to operate the EMLK Laser from start to finish. I also setup and operate the Press Brakers.
My name is Scott Smith I’m the Fabrication Manager here at Newco. I’ve worked here for 15 years and we run the fabrication department 24 hours a day/ 5 days a week and the team makes over 1 million parts a year.
What is the Amada Laser?
The EMLK3610NT Laser Turret Combo,was purchased and installed in 2018. The laser technology in the AMADA laser cutting machine allows for high cutting speeds and the flexibility to process a wide range of materials like aluminum, galvanized and stainless steel to name a few.
What are some of the statistics of this machine?
The machine is called EMLK3610NT 4kW Punch/Laser Combination machine with ASR3015NTK-6PFS Automation. Some of the features include:
- 4000 watt resonator for laser cutting
- 58 stations with the punching force of 33 tons for punching holes
- Automated load/unload system with six interchangeable shelves for raw material and finished parts
- Conveyor unload option allowing rapid removal of parts without interfering with the cutting process
How does it differ from our previous lasers?
The new machine we have more stations for punching and 2000 more watts for faster laser cutting speeds. We now can use this machine to tap holes; the old machines required us to tap parts by hand.
The automation side allows us to have the parts stacked on skids ready to go to the next machines for forming. The old machines we had to process the parts through the punch and laser. We would then shake the parts out of the 48’’x 96’’ sheet, remove the sharp edges, tap and stack parts all by hand before forming could begin. The new machine removes all of these steps.
This machine can be scheduled to run multiple jobs in sequence for hours at a time with minimal operator supervision. The old lasers require an operator to remove each sheet by hand so they must always stay nearby.
Can you walk us through the steps the laser takes to complete a task?
- Turn on the machine and do the daily maintenance and start up procedures. This takes about ½ hour every day.
- Write a program to process the parts and tell the machine how many you need to run.
- Select the correct material to be processed and get the machine setup by loading the program and material into the machine.
- Check the tools to the program to be processed, and then run the first part and perform an inspection and check material to ensure the part meets our quality standards before going into production.
What are some of the things that are cut on this machine?
The new machine can cut everything that we have been processing on the old machines, like the stainless steel covers, side panels, columns, base tops, bases, internal brackets and shelves.
It can also create custom projects, basically anything that can be drawn on a computer, such as the ornaments we distributed for our 2018 Christmas party.
What are the future goals of this machine?
The future goals of this machine would be to have it running over night and into the weekends without anyone touching it. We want it to punch, laser, lift parts in and out without out any hiccups. The ultimate goal would have it run during the nights and on the weekends, so that we have stock to pull from the next day.
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