Getting your Engineering Mind Wrapped Around Tube Laser Parts
One in a while, when we see something anew, we can have an aha moment—a paradigm shift of sorts.
These creatively engineered parts are all part of a fixture assembly that a clever engineer designed once he understood what kind of cutting a tube laser could do!
All of these would have been machined parts and expensive—now they are tube laser cut, even the channel, and done with relative ease.
Tube Laser allows for parts to have slots, miters, complex angles, etc. and all done at one work station with the fast cutting people have learned to appreciate from laser technology.
Contact us today and learn more!
Tube Laser vs Bundle Cut Sawing
Tube lasers, obviously, are limited to cutting one stick of tube (or angle or channel) at a time.
How does that stack up to saw cutting bundles of tube when comparing labor time?
The answer may be surprising.
Bundle cutting is very efficient, but it has draw backs. Here are a few the bundle cutting advocates should consider:
1) The time it takes to ‘assemble’ the bundle.
2) The time and expense that is encountered when bundle pieces disassemble or flay about causing the saw blade to break.
3) The time it takes to deal with pieces that are not cut exactly right because the bundle isn’t cooperating perfectly.
4) The time it takes to deburr all the parts (normally left with a rough burr).
5) Here is a big, big one that most people forget or fail to recognize…the time it takes to manage downstream fit and weld issues because the parts are not cut squarely or are out of tolerance.
Tube Laser technology has come a long way. We are not talking about a flat laser, meant to cut sheet metal, that has a tube cutting add on. We are talking about a dedicated sixty foot machine that is cycling through 20’ lengths of material in automated fashion.
If the tube is square and the parts have no holes, miters or angle cuts, bundle cutting may still win, particularly if there are very large quantities.
However, if you had any kind of miter or angle cut, or any kind of hole or slot, tube laser technology will prove significantly faster.
Here is why:
1) Tube Lasers eliminate the huge amounts of time consumed in multiple setups needed to saw, deburr, cope, fixture, drill.
2) Tube Lasers eliminate huge amounts of waste in material movement (from work center to work center).
3) Tube Lasers eliminate waste of space as piles of batch and queue parts can be removed from the shop floor.
4) Tube Lasers vastly improve the fit and weld time down stream because the parts are perfectly cut, +/- .01, which keeps fitters from struggling with alignment and welders from filling gaps (and fighting all the warping that comes from excess welding). This is a huge benefit!
Even more, parts can be laser cut to fit into each other with tabs and slots making it virtually impossible for down stream quality errors.
Even more, parts can be cut with etching, tabs and slots that make fixtures unnecessary.
Bundle cutting may still have a car in the race but only on the rare exception. The first notion of anything beside square cuts and the Tube Laser will easily win the race.
Call us or email for more information—the costs savings are real!
What kinds of Material & Shapes will Tube Lasers Cut?
Much like flat sheet lasers, Tube Laser’s can cut Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminum.
AMF’s tube laser, a Mazak 3D 220 Fabri Gear, is also equipped with tapping capacity for threaded holes and seam detection so the machine can cut the material knowing where the seam lies inside the tube.
This extensive list of material types and shapes types gives AMF a wonderful amount of capacity.
AMF’s machine allows for 25.5 feet of infeed and 20.0 feet of outfeed.
It is capable of handling round shapes up to 8.66” OD and 6” x 6” Square.
With auto loading and dedicated work space, AMF’s tube laser is set to chunk through vast amounts of material.
The machine is hungry for work—give us a call to find out more about our great lead times and fantastic customer service.
Tube Lasers vs Machining Centers
Tube lasers do battle with tradition fabrication methods very well!
Sawing, deburring, coping, mitering, drilling are common fabrication processes, but one might question how tube lasers stack up against the likes of traditional machining centers.
The answer—very well.
Frankly, the main issue when comparing a tube laser to a machine center is tolerance.
Dedicated tube lasers are very good at holding tolerances in the +/- .01 range.
The question potential tube laser customers should ask is what kind of tolerance is really required on my part.
Engineers are generally good at designing fabricated parts at +/- .01 and machined parts at +/- .005 (or less) but many times those tolerances are more a result of the engineer’s drawing template then the part requirement. Drawing templates are infamous for creating unnecessarily expensive, high-toleranced, parts.
Many of our customers save significant money by simply asking the engineer if the tolerances can be modified for certain parts that could be done on a tube laser which results in a substantial savings.
This drawing is a good example. Saw cutting, machining to size and then tapping…verses stacking a 20’ length of tube into a tube laser and letting the machine go to work. In this example, because of the tolerance allocation, the tube laser will essentially replace three work centers and, obviously, will be much faster—both in processing time and material handling time.
Dedicated Tube Lasers are leading edge technology that save people money. Find out more by contact AMF at 801.392.9494 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can Tube Lasers Cut C Channel?
The answer is, again, a resounding YES!
Just like Tube and Angle, Channel can be sliced, diced, notched, mitered, slotted, hole-patterned and cut with obscure shapes.
These type of cuts, because of the Tube Laser’s ability to rotate the channel, combined with a 5-Axis beam head, can happen in the web or on the legs of the channel.
AMF boasts a fully loaded 60’ Tube Laser with cutting capacity to handle round tubing up to 8.6” and square or rectangular tubing up to 6”x6” square.
AMF’s machine will load and off load lengths of tubing up to 25 feet.
Finally, with 4000W of laser power, AMF’s tube laser can blast through steel wall up to .75” thick all the while holding tolerance in the +/- .01 range.
AMF can cut steel, stainless steel and aluminum channel.
Our goal is to make fabrication easier than it has ever been. We work for other fab shops, OEM’s, contractors and any customer that has a CAD file and a Purchase Order.
Tube Laser in Live Action
Tube Laser in Action
Engineers are getting the idea of how to utilize dedicated tube laser technology. The parts and assemblies partially shown below are a wonderful example of how tube lasering can change engineering, design and assembly.
Engineers should consider that 5 Axis cutting capacity, combined with the machines ability to handle 25’ lengths of material are completely possible. Those are game changing ideas when assemblies are considered.
All said, these engineers have designed:
1) Faster cutting
2) More accurate cutting
3) Elimination of multiple material handling steps
4) Elimination of heavy deburring
5) Perfect fit up
6) Significantly decreased fit and welding time.
7) A better part for less money.
AMF invites engineers to call or email and discuss what is possible with 5 axis tube lasering—it is a game changer!
Take Advantage of a Powerful, Dedicated, 60 Foot, 5-Axis Tube Laser
Take Advantage of Dedicated, Big-Time, 5 Axis Tube Laser Technology
AMF has a fully functional 60’, 5-Axis Tube Laser that wants to EAT work for breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snacks!
SERIOUSLY, stop and think about EACH of the following questions:
1) Do you have any long lengths of Angle, Channel, Round, Rectangular or Square Tube that get cut regularly?
2) Do you have any lengths of angle, channel or tube or custom extrusion that get cut with one holes, slots, complex miters or angles?
3) Do you think stack cutting with a saw can beat the speed of a dedicated tube laser?
4) Have you considered the time wasted on fitting parts for weld that do not fit together perfectly?
5) Have you considered the time wasted on filling uneven gaps with weld?
6) Have you considered the time wasted on chamfering edges for weld prep?
7) Have you considered the time wasted on deburring saw cut angle, channel or tube?
8) Have you considered the time wasted on moving parts from work station to work station (saw, debur, drill)?
9) Have you considered the time wasted in queuing and stacking materials at multiple work stations?
10) Did you know our tube laser can tap holes?
11) Did you know our tube laser can cut up to 8.66” Round and 6×6 Square?
SERIOUSLY, contact us to discuss these questions and you will be shocked about how dedicated tube laser 5 Axis technology can save you BIG money and VOLUMES of time.
Making Employee Safety a Priority in Industrial Fabrication
Employee safety in the industrial fabrication industry should be a paramount consideration for all companies. At AMF, we believe our employees are our most important assets, and that makes their safety our number one priority.
Safety vs. Productivity
When it comes to safety vs. productivity, employee safety should always be the clear winner. In fact, when properly implemented the two goals should complement each other. After all, safe employees are productive employees.
A survey by the National Safety Council reported that 70 percent of employees say that safety is part of their orientation and ongoing training. It’s important to remind both employees and management not to let safety practices slack due to a heavy workload and pending deadlines. Encouraging employees to stay focused will not only keep them safe, but will actually help get the job done right and on time.
The bottom line: Employees cannot and should not be forced to choose between safe practices and the pressure of keeping productivity goals. Most importantly, they must have the ability to stop production when they feel safety concerns are at stake.
Safety culture begins at the top
When it comes to worker safety in industrial fabrication, a safety manager is a key liaison between management and employees. The safety manager’s responsibilities begin with ensuring that all OSHA requirements are met. Under OSHA, employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment, including:
- Providing a workplace free from serious recognized hazards
- Comply with standards and regulations listed under OSH Act
- Ensure employees have and are trained to use safe and properly maintained tools and equipment
- Establish or update operating procedures and communicate them so that employees follow safety and health requirements.
- Provide safety training in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.
Safety issues should always be addressed immediately, before anyone gets hurt.
All Metals Fabrication works hard to create and maintain a safe work environment.
Our standard safety practices include:
- Yearly safety and process audits by outside consultants
- Monthly company-wide safety meetings
- Regular and accurate measuring of accidents and the root causes of those accidents
- Culture set up to allow employees to stop work when conditions feel unsafe
Workplace safety is important for many reasons, including employee welfare and retention, maintaining OSHA compliance, and manufacturing efficiency. OSHA reports that “an effective safety and health program…is the right thing to do, and doing it right pays off in lower costs, increased productivity, and higher employee morale.” At All Metals Fabrication, we wholeheartedly agree.
Waterjet Safety: Why It’s Important
Waterjet cutting is relatively safe compared to other cutting technologies, but it still comes with its own set of hazards and special safety practices. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when working with waterjets:
Eyes, ears and fingers. Waterjet cutting doesn’t present the same problems as welding and forming, but that doesn’t mean you should be any less careful working with the equipment. While it is generally hard to get your fingers under the actual waterjet stream, you can cut yourself on any of the slats used for holding materials during the jet cutting process. These slats often do not get cleaned as regularly and can create a perfect environment for dangerous bacteria to grow. Do yourself a favor and practice waterjet safety by wearing protective gloves whenever you are removing or loading a new piece onto the machine.
When cutting on a waterjet machine it is also important to wear protective goggles and head wear. If you’re used to the sounds that a jet cutter makes, you might not realize how loud they actually are. Believe it or not, these machines do their work at speeds faster than sound can travel, which can damage your ear drums if you are not taking the proper safety precautions.
Familiarize yourself with the motion controls. A waterjet machine running at full speed can cover as much ground as 100 inches per minute. That’s surprisingly fast and the equivalent of trying to play a game of tag with a hungry cheetah. Keep your hands away from the machine whenever it is operating. If things aren’t cutting the way you would like them to, it is okay to stop and re-inspect everything. It is better to get something done a bit slower than to get hurt and not finish a job at all.
Additional things to keep in mind. If you are getting ready to work with a waterjet cutter, make sure your environment is supportive of what you are doing. Is the equipment you are going to use labeled with the proper safety precautions and instructions? If not, step away! Are you following all of your company’s procedures and protocols? If it has been a while since you’ve reviewed them, now would be a great time to do so.
Waterjet cutting can be a fun job, but if you are not careful it can come with a cost. Always do your homework before utilizing new machinery and make sure you are following the correct waterjet safety precautions at all times. Good luck, and have a blast!