Shop fixes manufacturing mishaps

Shop fixes manufacturing mishaps

As a contract fabricating shop, Metal Fabricators Inc. (PMF) in Williston, S.C., laser cuts both 2D and 3D work, and the bulk of its 3D laser jobs results from fixing other manufacturers' mistakes.

PMF quickly shifts from 2D to 3D jobs on its Domino 1530 2D/3D lasercutting system.


As a contract fabricating shop, Metal Fabricators Inc. (PMF) in Williston, S.C., laser cuts both 2D and 3D work, and the bulk of its 3D laser jobs results from fixing other manufacturers' mistakes. The shop uses a Domino 1530 2D/3D lasercutting system for such part remanufacturing/re-engineering, and according to John Johnson, president of PMF, one particular "rescue" job showcases the machine's ability.

A regional tier-one automotive Big Three supplier realized that 0.236 0.236-in. holes in vehicle doors scheduled for assembly were too small to accommodate a new molding design. The supplier's choices were either scrapping 25,000 doors or repairing them. It chose the latter. PMF enlarged the holes to accept the new molding and, thanks to the Domino, completed the job in about six weeks. Fast setups, practically nil changeout times, and a shuttle system contribute to the Domino's speed.

"We can set up the machine's table with fixtured 3D parts, run them, and change over to a 2D application with practically no effort," says James Miller, manager of CAD/CAM and laser operations at PMF.

He also explains that the Domino's automated system lets operators set up a worktable in remote operation, while another job is in progress. On the machine console, operators select pallet "A," for example, load sheet material, and push a flashing load/unload button. One pallet moves into cutting position while the other automatically shuttles out, permitting continuous cutting.

Domino is a flying-optics system and cuts 2D flat sheet to 3D pieces at any head orientation within its 120 60 16-in. (X, Y, Z) working capacity. An A axis with 360° continuous motion and a B axis with ±135° motion orientate the head. In addition, a CNC rotary axis (chuck) lets users cut tubular products.

Machine-positioning accuracy and repeatability is 0.001 in., and an autofocusing feature enhances cutting precision. "Lens focusing is programmed in for true focus every time," comments Miller. " Other machines require manual focusing, which involves a timeconsuming trial-and-error process of centering the nozzle to the lens. Once the center is in place on the Domino, the nozzle-to-lens positioning never needs adjusting."

Miller also mentions the machine's easy maintenance. Its assist-gas system keeps the lens clean. After a year and a half, PMF has changed lenses once — as compared with other systems that require lens changing every two or three months.

Beam alignment is also simple, adds Miller, thanks to Domino's near/far field-adjust feature. "It takes 15 min as opposed to a couple hours with other systems."

Prima Laser Tools
Chicopee, Mass.
prima-na.com

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