Swiss sheet metalworking machine manufacturer, Bystronic, has introduced a modular waterjet cutting machine with a latest generation control system that is said to be easy and flexible to use, allowing materials to be processed economically. Called ByJet Flex, the machine is available in the UK through the firm's Coventry subsidiary.
Bystronic's head of development, Dr Jürgen Hohnhaus, said, "Our objective was to develop a machine that not only covers the broadest possible spectrum of applications, but that can also be adjusted precisely to customers' requirements.
"Our innovative machine platform can be integrated into a wide variety of production environments. It can be used for both 2D and 3D applications and operates with two CNC heads for straight or bevelled cutting."
Based on the successful ByJet Classic series, the ByJet Flex is available in several configurations up to a maximum working area of 10 by 3 metres. It is possible to expand the machine's size and range of functions after installation.
The basic version is equipped with all prerequisites that allow it to be upgraded with functions such as 3D cutting heads, drill spindles, automatic parts holding during cutting (FixMaster), precise positioning of the cutting head (PositionPointer) and intelligent fine adjustment for rapid, multi-head cutting (PrecisionAligner).
The ByJet Flex's newly developed CNC system, called ByMotion, supports all functions and enables easy integration of the processes. The number of electronic components has been minimised, simplifying maintenance and significantly reducing the risk of breakdown. In addition, users can be supplied with software updates quickly.
Initial and final cuts, fine contours with frequent changes of direction and corners in thick material can now be processed with greater precision. For example with 3D applications, ByMotion enables simultaneous 5-axis cutting with two cutting heads and continuous height sensing. The control even benefits 2D operation by providing more precise cutting quality.
Mr Hohnhaus explained, "Our customers want a fast, simple path to the perfect part. Nowadays machines must make precision achievable with just a few operating steps.
"Waterjet cutting sometimes involves dealing with very high quality and expensive materials. With such orders there is practically no margin for error or carrying out trial runs.
"With a clearly designed user interface, ByJet Flex offers simple operator guidance and a high degree of right-first-time process reliability."
Two energy efficient pumps are available; ByPump Direct with a maximum operating pressure of 3,600 bar and ByPump Ultra capable of generating 5,300 bar. To maximise productivity when using two cutting heads, there are versions of both pumps available with twice the flow capacity.
ByMotion allows commands to be executed by the pump within a few milliseconds, resulting not only in precise pressure build-up, but also in considerably reduced pressure peaks and longer operating life of the high pressure components. Additional information is available at: www.bystronic.com
Comments from pilot customers
One Swiss and two German customers evaluated the ByJet Flex before its launch. Following are some of their comments.
Dohner AG is a waterjet and laser cutting job shop in Andelfingen, Switzerland, which has been testing a ByJet Flex 8030 with 5,300 bar pump since August 2013.
Andreas Sauter, the company’s CEO, said, "We have incorporated the machine into our 3-shift operation, cutting anything from one-offs to large runs for the aerospace, automotive and medical technology industries.
"The materials we process are generally of very high value, including titanium sheets over 100 mm thick. The reliability of the machine and the control are exemplary.
Langhof Schneidtechnik, a specialist waterjet cutting job shop in Seeg, in the Allgäu region of southern Germany, has been trialling a ByJet Flex 6030 since July 2013. Christian Langhof, a certified master metal worker, owns the company.
He commented, "We use a number of Bystronic waterjet cutters but the latest 6m by 3m machine is our largest. Until now we have used it for 2D applications, but we plan to add 3D applications.
"Our customers demand very high precision, in some cases down to ± 0.05 mm. When processing large orders, we need this level of accuracy across the entire cutting area, since we load material to the very edge of the cutting table.
"The pump supplies a constant pressure, which leads to consistent, high quality cuts and is also very quiet in operation."
Another German firm testing the machine, Genthner SystemTechnologie, is a manufacturer of precision mechanical subassemblies. In addition to containing diverse milled and turned components, they also require parts cut by waterjet. A lot of work is carried out for the aerospace industry. Ronny Retzlaff, production manager for waterjet cutting, has been using a Bystronic ByJet Flex since October 2013.
He said, "A major benefit of the machine is the new ByMotion process control, which allows us to achieve even more precise cutting quality than previously, particularly when profiling fine contours.
"The cutting head’s traverse paths are far more sensitive than those we are used to with our other cutting systems.
"We work one and a half shifts, during which the ByJet Flex simply runs. Currently we are processing small batches and prototypes on the machine, but we intend to transfer large series runs to it.
"We often cut openings in the top of housings that can easily be as much as 200 millimetres high, so the machine's generous Z-axis is a big advantage."