More than 160 visitors were welcomed by sheet metalworking machine specialists, Bystronic UK, during an open house held at the company's Coventry headquarters and technical centre from 7th to 11th April 2014.
Three orders were received as a direct consequence of staging the event. They included a BySprint Fiber laser cutting machine and an Xpert 400 tonne pressbrake, both manufactured by the Swiss owned Group. A machine built by Weber in Germany was also sold for surface finishing of flat metal parts.
New software increases performance and planning
A wealth of new modules within the latest BySoft 7 control software was launched in the UK at the show, demonstrated on the latest range of Bystronic machines introduced at the last EuroBlech exhibition.
A ByAutonom 6 kW CO2 laser cutting cell, equipped with a special lens and 5 mm nozzle, was running PowerCut functionality in the control that allowed 25 mm stainless steel to be clean cut. This is 66 per cent thicker than the previous maximum and there is little increase in consumable costs, as a similar amount of nitrogen is used.
Another software enhancement at the show was Parts Removal within the Plant Manager suite in Bysoft 7. It is designed to provide visual support to the operator while unloading cut parts at the shuttle table. All components belonging to a customer order can be colour-coded on the cutting plan so that they are distinguishable from parts associated with other orders. Moreover, the first and last cut part within an order can be labelled so that the operator knows when an order begins and when it is completed.
Visitors were able to learn more about the OPC software interface, a statistical analysis tool that collects data on laser and waterjet cutting manufacturing activities and sends it to a variety of monitoring systems. Cutting efficiency is increased by reducing unscheduled idle time and deviations from the production plan, maximising output and enabling reliable order calculation. The function was introduced as an option in February 2014.
So that production staff, wherever they are, can ensure that cutting cycles are continuing as planned, Bystronic introduced mobile remote monitoring at the start of April 2014. The Coventry open house was thus an ideal Launchpad for the new software, called Observer. It enables web-based monitoring of production on laser and waterjet cutting machines from a camera in the working area. Images are accessed via any web-enabled terminal, be it a desktop computer, tablet or smartphone.
Another software function on show was the recently announced PartID within Bysoft 7, applicable to all Bystronic laser cutting machines, both CO2 and fibre. It enables automatic laser-engraving of an identification code onto cut parts, ensuring that bending is subsequently carried out correctly. The pressbrake must be equipped with ByVision Bending, the Swiss manufacturer's graphical user interface, as well as an additional scanning unit, which can be a smartphone.
Demonstrated also at the show was voice control of pressbrake operation. With this feature, the most important operations on Bystronic pressbrakes can be executed conveniently by voice command. On average, an operator spends two hours per shift inputting data or pressing buttons at the pressbrake control. With voice control, this non-productive time can be reduced significantly, allowing more parts to be produced per shift. Even the machine's tool clamping system can be controlled by voice activation.
Third party collaborations
As is usual at Bystronic open houses, third-party suppliers of equipment and services were in evidence, including Linde Group member, BOC. Technical support engineer from the UK division's Guildford HQ, Phil Sant, was on hand to offer advice on the use of nitrogen, oxygen and lasing gas (CO2/N/He) for laser cutting applications. It was only the second time that the company had participated directly in a Bystronic UK open house, but Mr Sant stressed the close working relationship between the two companies internationally since the early 1990s.
Automated storage and retrieval system manufacturer, KASTO, offers computer controlled towers for efficiently warehousing sheet in a 3D volume that is much less space-hungry than conventional pallets and racking. One of the company's Unitower C cassette storage systems is on permanent display in Bystronic's Coventry showroom. KASTO's managing director, Ernst Wagner, commented that he was delighted at the sales leads generated during the open house.
Continuation of another longstanding partnership was reinforced by a stand staffed by Gregory Conraud, president of the French company, Picot. The bending roll manufacturer, which exhibited a 3-metre model, sells its equipment into the UK through Bystronic and also has a machine on permanent display in Coventry.
Completing the third-party line-up were Outokumpu, the global leader in the supply of stainless steel and high performance alloys, and finance company, Deutsche Leasing. The latter has a worldwide cooperation agreement with Bystronic. Throughout the show, David Henshaw, Head of Industrial Equipment Finance, represented Deutsche Leasing's UK and Ireland subsidiary, which was established in Reigate in 2005 and has provided funding for many Bystronic machine purchases.