Investment in a state-of-the-art Bystronic Bysprint Fibre laser cutter has produced significant improvements in productivity and shorter lead times while reducing energy consumption at the Waterlooville manufacturing plant of ICEE Managed Services Limited.
A UK leader in fabrication, enclosure products and laser cut profiling, ICEE’s laser cutting plant meets the requirements of its own extensive manufacturing operations, supplying electrical and telecommunications casings while also offering a bespoke sheet metal cutting service to the wider subcontract markets.
The Bysprint Fiber acquisition expands ICEE’s portfolio of Bystronic machines to 4 in total, covering press brakes, a twin head water jet cutter and the latest Fiber.
The 2kw, 3M x 1.5M capacity, Fiber was commissioned in mid 2011 and it made an immediate impact on output and increased productivity. Such an impact in fact that as a consequence of the increased capacity and high speed throughput from the Fiber, a bottleneck was identified in the folding area. To resolve this ICEE has now taken delivery of a new Bystronic Xcel 50T 1600mm four axis press brake, adding considerable new capacity.
Chris Arnold, Key Engineering Account Manager at ICEE explains their dilemma; “We undertake a repeat contract to fabricate electrical enclosures for a regular customer and have always undertaken the material cutting on an older 2kW laser. The complete order used to take just over 38 hours on that machine and with set up’s it would tie up the machine for the whole week.
“The first time we ran the batch on the new Fiber machine, part way through Monday the operator asked the production manager what he wanted him to do next - he had completed the previous week long order in just 6 hours!
“And this was not an isolated case. Another project in 2.6mm copper and requiring 260 holes to be cut took just 55 seconds per part,” he adds. “The machine really is phenomenally quick”.
The Bysprint Fiber at ICEE is equipped with a ByTrans load-on-load automation system allowing the machine to run unmanned 24/7 whereas the older laser machine only ran a single shift.
Combined with the higher cutting speed, up time has also been improved as there is less maintenance with the machines’ laser power source requiring no maintenance, the beam delivery being transmitted through a fibre optic with no mirrors to clean, replace or adjust. A further advantage of the Bysprint machine is it draws only 16kW including the chiller and dust extraction. There is also less heat absorbed by the product when using a fibre laser compared with conventional laser cutting technologies.
Capacity throughout the ICEE plant is now well covered with the Waterjet being able to process up to 200mm thick stainless steel. The Fibre laser is the best cutting solution for thinner metals between 0.5 -12mm thicknesses including traditional mild and stainless steel but also encompassing the cutting of aluminium, brass, copper and other composites.
ICEE originally bought the twin head Waterjet with its 4 x 2.2M change table and sheet loader in 2005. This was followed by the first Bystronic press brake, a six axis 150T 4100 Xpert with hydraulic quick change top tool clamping which works in conjunction with a motorised tool magazine for rapid tool changes. The Xpert was also specified with increased daylight and stroke allowing complex shapes to be formed and removed. Dynamic bending also allows large parts to be bent without operators having to manually lift the component during the bending cycle.