More than 100 visitors to Bystronic UK’s latest open house, held from 10th to 12th March at its Coventry headquarters and technical centre, were able to see some of the most advanced sheet metalworking machinery currently on the market, including some new equipment launched at the EuroBlech show in Hannover last October.
One order placed at the show, by sheet metal contract machinists Water Jet Cutting, was for a 6 kW BySprint Fibre laser profiling machine. A division of Gee Graphite, which specialises in supplying graphite gaskets and valve seals to the petrochemical sector, the subcontract firm will take delivery of the machine at its Dewsbury factory in early April 2015.
It will be the first in the UK to have the new, optional Power Cut Fiber feature, which doubles the thickness of aluminium and stainless steel that can be cut to 30 mm, while maintaining extremely fine cutting quality. Being powered by a fibre laser, the machine is also able to process copper (up to 12 mm) and its alloys, such as brass (up to 15 mm), without damaging the optics. Consequently, the electrical and motor manufacturing industries will be new target markets.
The Dewsbury company was the first water jet cutting subcontractor to be set up in the UK and is now the largest, with 10 water jet profilers in constant use. Director David Bennett commented, “We decided to set up a new Fibre Laser Cutting division because we were seeing a noticeable increase in enquiries more suited to the laser process.
“For example, 3 mm stainless or 8 mm brass takes too long to machine by water jet for some applications, so we could not quote a competitive price.
“Water Jet Cutting is still the first choice for producing high quality edges, especially in thicker materials, and for components where a heat-affected zone has to be avoided. For more cost-sensitive work, our new laser will enable us to take on new work and continue to expand our business.”
The company chose a machine powered by a fibre laser, as it is three to four times faster than a CO2 laser at cutting thin-gauge sheets and approximately equivalent in its ability to process 12 mm plate. As to Mr Bennett’s choice of Bystronic, he advised that they have used the supplier’s water jet machines for more than two decades and that they have always found the equipment reliable and the after-sales service exemplary.
A reprise of EuroBlech
Much of what was on show in Coventry had been launched at EuroBlech 2014. Two of the new innovations were on Water Jet Cutting’s fibre laser machine, namely the 6 kW source, 50 per cent up on the previous maximum power, and Power Cut Fiber, which increases cutting performance. The machine comes as standard with the Cut Control safety function for automatically monitoring the cut and stopping the laser if the cut fails.
Another new fibre laser upgrade announced was Detection Eye, which speeds detection of the position of a metal sheet before cutting the nest of components begins. It allows a user to reduce set-up times to four seconds and exactly adapt cutting plans to the material size, leading to precise cutting right to the outermost edges of the sheet, optimising material usage.
On show for the first time in the UK was the Xpert 40 press brake, the smallest currently manufactured by Bystronic. It is designed to be moveable by fork lift truck to anywhere within a factory, so it can be relocated easily next to other machinery that it serves, maximising productivity.
The innovative design results in highly dynamic movements at bending speeds up to 25 mm per second, allowing small parts to be processed three times faster than on larger press brake models. On component lengths of up to one metre, Xpert 40 generates a bending capacity of 40 tonnes.
Bystronic’s latest ByMotion drive control system ensures finely tuned interplay between speed, precision and power. By coordinating the acceleration of the upper beam and the backgauges, it delivers bending results with a high degree of repeatability.
Finally, in the field of water jet cutting, a twin-head ByJet Flex was on show, which has the ability to accept up to two newly developed, 3D cutting heads for producing bevelled edges on components. Upgrading from 2D to 3D technology takes less than an hour.
ByMotion enables safe integration of 3D technology. The control software supports all cutting functions on a ByJet Flex, regardless of whether it is using 2D or 3D technology. It coordinates simultaneous 5-axis cutting with two heads and employs continuous height sensing on both.