Share content on LinkedIn Share content on YouTube

Record FABTECH a Technology Oasis

January 16, 2020

FABTECH 2019, held November 11-14 in Chicago, IL, closed with record attendance, marking a 7-percent increase over the 2017 event, the previous FABTECH held in Chicago.

FABTECH 2019, held November 11-14 in Chicago, IL, closed with record attendance, marking a 7-percent increase over the 2017 event, the previous FABTECH held in Chicago. More than 48,000 attendees from 95 countries and 1700 exhibitors participated in FABTECH 2019, getting up close on new metal stamping and fabricating equipment, software and services.

MetalForming covered some FABTECH 2019 offerings, including servomechanical presses and fabrication and welding equipment in the December and January issues. We present more of the latest and greatest here. And, look for more in coming issues of MetalForming, in MetalForming and Fabricating Product News enewsletters, and online.

FABTECH 2020 is set for November 18-20 in Las Vegas, NV. Learn more at

New PLC Controls Promise Quicker Feed-Line Install, Setup

Coe Press Equipment debuted its next-generation PLC controls, available with any Coe coil processing line, that offer multiple advanced features to significantly reduce the time required to commission new feeding lines, according to company officials. New loop and press simulation capabilities enable Coe to test, debug and perform a complete startup prior to shipping, thus reportedly decreasing setup time on a metal former’s plant floor by 50 percent or more. A new user-friendly human-machine interface (HMI) logically guides operators through the setup process, and Work Roll Advisor and Feed Roll Advisor software now are embedded into the controls―all contributing to eased setup and changeover.

New features include Loop Simulation, which emulates material to see how the straightener reacts to changes from the feed, and Press Simulation, which simulates press operation with strokes/min. changes, and parameters related to feed angles, pilot, start feed and more. Other features: On the Fly, which automatically changes feed speed to adapt to press speed, Direct Speed Enable, where the straightener automatically hits a target speed at the first press stroke, and Work Roll Simulation, a visual guide to help operators see what’s happening inside of the straightener. Another, Smart Speed, automatically adjusts to optimal line speed based on press speed and feed window.

The completely redesigned HMI and 10-in. touchscreen enable simplified entering of machine setup information and rapid system troubleshooting. Other features of the new PLC controls include 100-job memory storage and password-protected job editing and parameter setting to secure stored recipes.

Part Sorting of Laser-Processed Parts

Mazak Optonics Corp. highlighted its latest automation advancement: a part sorting solution for laser-processed parts. From pallet changing to sorting finished parts, the SortFlex system improves material flow through the fabrication production line, resulting in increased productivity, according to company officials. Available for 3015 and 4020 laser-machine formats, it has a modular design that allows for expanding with the growth of a user’s operations, and is flexible enough to allow for customized unloading positions. Finished parts are loaded on pallets, with stacking by order or by part type. This system also offers numerous functions and enhancements to expand the range of applications, and can include integration of unloading conveyors, over/under carts, mini unload tower, labelers, etc. 

Open, PC-based CNC for Fabricating Machines

Siemens provided a first look at its new Sinumerik MC (motion control) controller, a universal, open, industrial PC-based CNC system. It features optimized motion control, high-performance automation and integrated Windows 10 operating system. These attributes make it an ideal control for fabrication and specialty equipment, including laser and waterjet cutters, other metal forming and fabricating equipment, and even conventional basic grinding machines and additive manufacturing equipment, according to company officials.

The Windows 10 operating system provides simple integration of customized software for these machines, and the open operating concept and the extensive range of interfaces make it a universal control for a wide variety of applications.

The Sinumerik MC is equipped with the latest generation of the Sinumerik NC (numerical control) kernel, and via G-code programming, facilitates highly accurate motion control. The integrated Simatic S7-1500F PLC increases the speed of response which, in turn, improves automation performance. And, the Sinumerik MC offers Safety Integrated as the Siemens industry standard for safety, while implementing the multilayer Defense-in-Depth concept for IT security.

Sinumerik MC can be engineered in the Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) portal, which provides a highly efficient engineering environment and opens up new engineering opportunities for machine builders, according to Siemens officials. Conventional PLC languages and high-level language programming are available in the TIA portal to create automation programs for the control system. This is assisted by rapid and simple commissioning offered by Sinumerik Operate, the Siemens CNC system graphical user interface.

Powerful, Portable Plasma Cutter

Esab introduced its Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 40 manual plasma cutting system, successor to the Cutmaster 42. Designed for light construction, mechanical contracting and maintenance/repair applications, to name a few, it weighs 22 lb., has the flexibility to use 115 to 230-V primary power and delivers a rated output of 40 A at 40-percent duty-cycle. On 230-V primary power, it delivers a recommended cut and pierce capacity on 1⁄2-in.-thick steel and can sever steel to 1 in. thick. On 115-V primary power, it delivers a recommended cut and pierce on 3⁄8-in.-thick steel. To use 115 V simply requires connecting the supplied 115-V adapter to the hardwired 230-V plug. It comes with the SL60 1Torch with 20-ft. torch lead and a torch connection that enables an additional 25 ft. of torch lead.

Also, shown at the Esab booth, newly launched Sentinel auto-darkening welding helmets with true-color technology for greater clarity and 9.27 in. of viewing area.

High-Productivity, -Precision Press Brakes With Auto-Tool-Change Option

Along with new fiber laser cutting technology described in the December issue of MetalForming, Amada America showcased its new HRB series of press brakes, which leverage the company’s latest bending technology and offer a variety of production-enhancing features. The HRB brakes, including models that incorporate Amada’s Automatic Tool Changer (pictured is the Model HRB 1003 with ATC) to enable tool setups in less than 4 minutes, will be built at the company’s new 190,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing center in High Point, NC. Tooling for these press brakes are being manufactured at Amada Tool America’s newly expanded production facility in Batavia, NY.

The HRB line incorporates a host of technology to ensure precision and consistency in bending operations while limiting setup and potential bend errors. This includes controlled punch-holder locking that reportedly reduces setup time by more than half as compared to manual locking, and a double-clamp backgauge to better form complex shapes. Also, newly designed crowning delivers a consistent bend angle across the length of the machine’s work area.

Opening of the North Carolina center represents Amada’s latest major manufacturing site in the United States, complementing existing centers in Brea, CA, and Batavia. Amada also announced that it will open a 62,000-sq.-ft. technical center next year on the same North Carolina campus. The Carolina Technical Center will join the Los Angeles Technical Center and the Schaumburg (IL) Solution Center in providing venues for hands-on demonstrations of Amada’s product offerings and manufacturing techniques.

Waterjet Machine With Advanced Taper Compensation

Omax demonstrated its 80X-series JetMachining Center, a waterjet cutting machine featuring the company’s Tilt-A-Jet taper-compensation technology. The 80X series incorporates multiple table sizes and customizable work envelopes for precise abrasive waterjet cutting of large-scale components and multipart projects, with the Tilt-A-Jet technology reportedly attaining virtually zero taper for precision, high-rate cutting of parts with square, taper-free edges, including interlocking pieces and dovetail fittings. Using the water-resistant Rotary Axis head for production of complex 3D parts, the 80X’ capabilities expand to cut in as many as six axes. 

Adding Omax’s IntelliMax software suite and EnduroMax pump technology, the 80X swiftly and accurately cuts a range of materials and thicknesses, according to company officials, with the user-friendly software enabling projects to proceed from concepts to finished parts in minutes. Designed for long life, the EnduroMax pump is capable of running to as many as 1000 hours between pump rebuilds.

Flap Discs for Aggressive Stock Removal

Pferd showcased its Polifan Z SG Power Steelox flap discs for aggressive stock removal, and announced the addition of a 6-in. (Type 29) disc in 40 and 60 grit, in 7⁄8-in. arbor and 5⁄8—11 hub versions. The new flap disc, like others in the product family, maintains consistent performance throughout its life, with its Zirconia alumina Z abrasive handling demanding grinding work and delivering optimum stock removal on high-powered angle grinders, even at higher contact pressures, according to company officials.

The line of flap discs is specified for use on steel and stainless steel, and reportedly excels in work on weld seams, chamfering, blending and deburring. And, the line provides reduced vibration, noise and dust levels.

Transporting and Gripping for Hot Forming

Bilsing Automation highlighted its line of beams, grippers (clamps), vacuum cups and couplings designed to withstand the high-temperature environment of hot forming, increasingly used to process lightweight advanced steels. Modular in design, the aluminum tools come with a standard automatic coupling for mechanical, electrical and pneumatic connections, allowing for efficient tool changeover. Also, in addition to being sheathed in temperature-resistant materials, the tooling―bayonets, extensions, tubes, couplings―are manufactured with temperature-resistant glue capable of withstanding heat to 1232 F.

PSB-20 pneumatic grippers come with a self-locking feature that reportedly ensures improved production safety and can achieve a clamping force of 800 N. They can withstand workpiece temperatures to 1832 F, have temperature sensing for inline process control and calibration, and are available in fixed-jaw, block-jaw and L-version configurations with various connection choices.

WF2 vacuum cups, designed to address part holding for a variety of hot forming applications to 482 F, can handle odd-shaped workpieces and are available in all automotive mounts and a full range of shapes.

Rapid, Precise Press Brake Bending

Trumpf highlighted the TruBend 7050 press brake, newly added to the company’s Series 7000 line. The machine bends with an increased press force of 55 tons and has a bending length of 60 in. The machine also is equipped with a new system control and ergonomic features. A six-axis backgauge helps the operator precisely position components. The gauge fingers move quickly, traveling 60 in./sec. along the X axis and 87 in./sec. along the Z axis. This new generation of TruBend Series 7000 machines comes with the company’s ACB Wireless angle-measuring system. Small metal contact plates at the bottom of the sensor tools send a signal to the machine when they touch the sheet metal. The TruBend Series 7000 machines use these signals to calculate bending angles. 

Ergonomic features include a new control panel that simplifies programming on the shop floor. Streamlined views present just the essentials so that users quickly can find the right screen for entering data, according to company officials. The operator does not need a mouse or keyboard to use the controller’s touchpad and can operate with work gloves on. The machine may be fitted with another screen alongside the existing control on the press beam, for example, to display part diagrams. Another simple option for sending simple commands to the machine: the MobileControl module. This remote-control unit may mount on a special rail above the tools. Additionally, a stool, a table to support the arms, a shelf for documents and a footrest keep the operator comfortable while minimizing fatigue. 

For convenient tool handling, an LED strip on the upper tool clamp indicates where the operator must set up tools and, while forming, where the next bend will be. The TruBend 7050 also features pull-out tool-storage drawers within arm’s reach of operation. As much as 50 ft. of bending tools slide out on telescopic rails, making them easily accessible for operators, and a nearby shelf enables ergonomic part staging and stacking.

Finally, like all Series 7000 models, the 7050 has an optimized footprint, 140 by 70 in., and can be hauled by forklift. A roller gate for servicing and maintaining the machine is another space-saving feature.

Weld-Fume Capture

FumeVac highlighted its weld-fume-source capture system for dust and fume control. The FV-500-20 with ErgoMax fume guns can meet stringent ACGIH guidelines, as well as OSHA standards, for mitigating harmful welding fumes, including manganese and hexavalent chromium. With an airflow rating said to exceed the next best option on the market by approximately 20 to 30 percent, the ErgoMax gun is lightweight because it moves more air, effectively cooling the gun and allowing for a lighter design. Its 360-deg. ball-joint flexible design and ergonomic handle help reduce operator fatigue and enhance maneuverability. Its durable construction includes copper alloy tips and crush- and heat-resistant vacuum hoses.

Both models—400A and 500A—come with low-friction liners to optimize wire-feeding performance, leading to consistent arc starts and weld stability. A polished nickel-plated metallic outer neck tube provides additional heat dissipation for cool operation, and a simple, high-strength stainless steel trigger provides additional durability. 

The gun works in conjunction with the FV-500-20 high-vacuum extractor to provide filtration to 99.97 percent. Multiple configurations are available, including a four-gun continuous-duty unit shown at FABTECH. It can be adapted to handle as many as eight guns in intermittent duty.

An optional system component, a welding boom, provides added reach, expanding the available workspace. Available in multiple lengths to adapt to most applications, the new boom features hand-crank height adjustment and components for high vacuum delivery.

Robotic Bending Cell Features Adaptive Bending

LVD Strippit demonstrated its compact Dyna-Cell robotic bending cell, with a footprint of 16 by 16 ft. and now available with the Easy-Form Laser in-process adaptive bending system, which reportedly ensures the desired angle from the first bending operation. Dyna-Cell also features intelligent automatic programming. These features advance Dyna-Cell’s capacity to automate the bending of small- to medium-sized parts in varying batch sizes at bending speeds to 1 in./sec.

The company’s 10-10 rule promises a rapid art-to-part process, with 10 minutes for CAM generation of the bending and robot program, and 10 minutes for setup and first part production. CAM-program preparation of the press brake and robot is handled completely offline. This eliminates considerable setup time and ensures rapid production times, even for small batches, according to company officials. 

After importing the 3D drawing, the software automatically generates the bending and robotics program. The software calculates a complete collision-free path through all positions, and provides simple programming of standard product families, such as multi-flange designs, brackets and profiles. The software automatically generates the press brake bending program and the robot’s movement, directing it from one bend to the next to form the part and then to offload or stack the part. 

Arc Welding Cobots

Fanuc America demonstrated its new line of collaborative arc welding robots, offering the same level of performance as the company’s Arc Mate robots, but with built-in sensoring that allows the welding cobots to work safely alongside people without the need for guarding. Features of these arc welding robots include large motion range, and simple setup and programming.

Both of the company’s new welding cobots provide six axes of motion, with the CR-15iA for Arc offering a 15-kg payload and 1441-mm reach, and the CR-7iA/L for Arc (pictured) with a 7-kg payload and 911-mm reach. The high payload capabilities combined with the large motion range increases system flexibility to process a broad range of parts. 

At FABTECH, the CR-15iA for Arc, paired with Lincoln Electric’s Power Wave R450 robotic power source, performed live welding to build a jet turbine component as an additive manufacturing process. In producing the part, the cobot deposited material layer by layer.

The arc welding cobots come equipped with Fanuc’s ArcTool application software, featuring a programming interface that supports simple and complex applications, including the company’s advanced features such as Weaving, iRVision, Seam Tracking, Thru-Arm Seam Tracking (TAST) and Multi-pass.

These cobots offer floor, ceiling and angle mounting options, with the CR-15iA featuring a hollow wrist for seamless integration of weld-package dress outs, third-party utilities and sensor cables.

Turnkey Precision-Metal-Parts Welding

A turnkey solution for automated, precision laser welding of metal parts, the new Coherent ExactWeld 230, featured at FABTECH, includes a 200-W (400-W optional) fiber laser, part clamping, as many as four axes, user-friendly software, an optional vision system and factory-automation capabilities. It’s ideal for medical manufacturing, including endoscope production, as well as the fabrication of precision sensors, jewelry, timepieces and automotive electronics, according to company officials.

The ExactWeld 230 incorporates Coherent’s SmartWeld technology for producing complex beam-wobble patterns, including circular and zigzag paths. SmartWeld enables bridging of larger gaps, which reportedly relaxes tolerances, increases process flexibility and delivers welds with higher quality and reproducibility.

As an end-to-end solution, ExactWeld enables incorporation of various arrangements―an integrated vision system for either operator or automated part monitoring, pneumatically actuated precision fixturing (including sensors), and/or a rotary table for part loading/unloading. 

Web-Based Section Tool for Band Saw Blades

To help users determine the correct band saw blades for their applications, the L.S. Starrett Co. unveiled its web-based Band Saw Blade Selection Tool. The new tool provides an efficient way to configure and select a Starrett Band Saw Blade.

Input parameters in the BandSaw Blade Selection Tool include specifying the blade type, such as bi-metal, carbide-grit, carbide-tipped, carbon, diamond-grit or stainless. Users also can designate blade width, thickness and tooth pitch. Results display the Starrett band saw blade with a link to product details, including blade features and specifications. Users also have the option to start the selection process by sorting on the blade’s product name.

Non-Woven Abrasive Discs

Saint-Gobain Abrasives debuted Norton Rapid Prep XHD Coarse and Medium discs, made for aggressive-stock-removal and blending applications. The heavy-duty non-woven discs remove weld lines, weld splatter and weld discoloration, and blend surfaces in a single step.

XHD Coarse is ideal for surface blending on steels, while XHD Medium works well on softer metals/alloys. Compared with coated flap discs, users can save on labor and consumable costs by reducing application steps, according to company officials. The Norton Rapid Prep XHD discs offer the combination of a conformable fiber matrix and premium ceramic grain, reportedly resulting in improved cut control and surface blending over traditional coated flap and fiber discs. A blended fiber web helps increase product life and maximize shape integrity by dissipating workpiece debris. In addition, the Norton Clean Bond resin system prevents smearing and produces a controlled wear rate.

Mechanical and Electrical Interface for Cobot EoAT

OnRobot A/S debuted a unified mechanical and electrical interface for any OnRobot end-of-arm tooling (EoAT), designed to simplify automation. This new one-system solution speeds deployment so manufacturers, enabling them to save time and money, and quickly realize the benefits of automation, according to company officials.

The interface reportedly delivers a single robotic system, single platform for programming and training, and single vendor relationship. Manufacturers have access to a range of tools, full robot compatibility, and new possibilities for collaborative applications.

The company’s Digital I/O Converter Kit, released earlier in 2019, allows OnRobot EoAT to work with collaborative and light-industrial robot brands including Universal Robots, Kuka, Fanuc, Doosan, Techman, Yaskawa, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki and Nachi. Building on that initiative, all OnRobot products now have a unified mechanical and communications interface based on the OnRobot Quick Changer, an integrated part of all OnRobot products. An additional Dual Quick Changer incorporates these capabilities while allowing the use of two tools in one cycle, mixing and matching to suit application needs and thus maximizing robot utilization, according to company officials. 

With the OnRobot Quick Changer, a single cable provides a universal interface for tools and communications, meaning no need to disconnect cables when changing tools, and extended communications options support a range of robotic platforms. MF

Industry-Related Terms: Abrasive, Bending, Cam, Center, CNC, Discoloration, Drawing, Form, Forming, Gauge, Grinding, Grippers, Grit, Laser Welding, LASER, Layer, Lines, Model, NC, Pallet, Point, Stainless Steel, Stroke, Surface, Thickness
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms


See also: Coe Press Equipment Corporation, Pferd Inc., Coherent, Inc., TRUMPF Inc., Mazak Optonics Corporation

Technologies: Pressroom Automation, Welding and Joining


Must be logged in to post a comment.
There are no comments posted.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Start receiving newsletters.