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Article

April 30, 2013
Focusing on downtime reduction in laser cutting
The metal fabrication industry has gone through several volatile years—expanding during the dot-com and real estate booms and contracting during the recessions that followed. This roller coaster ride (much more tumultuous than my... Read more...

Article

February 1, 2012
No holes in modern laser cutting story
When CO2 laser cutting machines made their debut on the metal fabricating scene in a big way in the 1980s, people wondered about the future of the punch press. How could traditional punching technology compete with a machine tool that required... Read more...

Article

October 20, 2011
Engineering firm enters the 3-D world of laser cutting
Many fabricating operations begin life producing parts to print. Systems Engineering & Manufacturing (SE&M), Forest, Va., is not that type of shop. The company began life advising a customer in the defense industry how to make its... Read more...

Article

September 9, 2011
Nesting software keeps the “lights-out” on
A metal fabricating facility during the day is a noisy, bustling place. Lift trucks are zooming by, and CNC machines are cutting away. Production runs at full speed. Typically in the evening, however, the machines are shut down, and all grows... Read more...

Article

May 6, 2011
The “hole” picture in laser tube cutting
For decades design engineers have embraced the efficiency and elegance of the structural tube. Equipment of all kinds have frames made of rectangular or square tubes attached to which are all sorts of elements that require mechanical... Read more...

Article

August 1, 2009
Saying 'yes' when others can't
These days a shop manager may look at material handling towers, offloading stations, and other automated setups and think the technology might be good for healthier times, but not today. What good is automation when even manual machines... Read more...

Article

August 26, 2008
Getting lean, job shop style
Visit Ace Metal Crafts Co. in Franklin Park, Ill., a stone's throw away from landing lights at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, and you'll see how transformative colored tape can be when put to good use. On each department floor, blue tape and an... Read more...

Article

June 12, 2007
Tube fabricator, machine tool builder automates to accelerate
Editor's Note: This feature about Stealth Manufacturing Inc. does not contain quotes because the company president asked that names be withheld from the final story so that the entire company can share the spotlight, not just a few. We have... Read more...

Article

April 10, 2007
Turning a machine shop into a fabrication shop
Like most contract manufacturers, Target Laser & Machining Inc. started out as an idea that became a concept that evolved into a plan that eventually developed into a business. It was Gary Reiter's idea, machining was the concept, and... Read more...

Article

November 7, 2006
Fabricator finds tubular niche
Although Illinois is known primarily for its fertile fields and agricultural output, it's home to many manufacturing companies too. John Deere incorporated Deere & Co. in Moline. DaimlerChysler manufactures automobiles in Belvidere.... Read more...

Article

October 10, 2006
Lasers loom larger in tube, pipe cutting
In today's manufacturing environment, 2-D lasers are the standard for cutting flat sheets and plate. Nearly everyone is familiar with laser technology's capabilities and speed for 2-D part processing. What may not be as well-known,... Read more...

Article

July 11, 2006
Laser cutting 3-D preformed parts
In as little as 20 minutes, some of today's offline multiaxis CAD/ CAM software for laser cutters can automatically design and generate NC code for a sheet metal workholding fixture, create NC code for 3-D parts, perform cutting... Read more...

Article

August 9, 2005
Boiled over by laser's performance
Kvaerner Power's Mazak SpaceGear SG 510 MK II 3-D laser cutting system with automated load/unload has taken over the metal cutting chores that used to be the domain of two manual shears. When television cameras show up at a metal... Read more...

Article

March 8, 2005
Construction Junction
Two six-axis robot arms perform full-penetration gas metal arc welds on structural steel. Millions of construction companies strive every day to cut production time while maintaining, or even improving, quality. Robert J. Simmons owns... Read more...

Article

November 20, 2003
Six-axis tube laser adds new dimension to job shop
Nine years ago co-owners Phil Kooima and his father, John, got out of the stamping business and into lasers. They now have seven flatbed laser cutting machines from 1,000 to 6,000 watts, along with press brakes, robotic welders, and other... Read more...

Article

September 25, 2003
Agriculture equipment manufacturer cultivates productivity improvements with laser technology
The seeders are large, heavy equipment and weigh as much as 50,000 pounds when fully loaded. They are constructed primarily of mild steel sheet, plate, hollow structural steel (HSS), round pipe, and shaft. The sheet steel used is from 16... Read more...

Article

November 7, 2002
Focusing on tube cutting lasers
It travels at 186,287.490 miles per second (299,792,458 meters per sec.). Its visible spectrum ranges from 400 to 700 nanometers. Its smallest unit is a packet of energy, a photon. While its chief use is illumination, it has many other... Read more...

Article

October 24, 2002
Remote control fabrication
Caterpillar®'s Technical Center relentlessly pursues a manufacturing vision for "...one of the world's largest welding shops." It started as another of the proliferating industry open houses organized by a supplier of metal forming and... Read more...

Article

August 8, 2002
Science Nonfiction
Forty years ago no one would have thought it possible to cut plate steel with focused light. Over time it has not only become possible but common in manufacturing operations. However, making this science fiction into fact wasn't enough,... Read more...