Automated laser cutting machine helps metal service center chain expand internal processing

Boyd Metals installed one of three Prima Power Laser Genius machines in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Boyd Metals is a metal service center that provides metal processing and metal distribution services in Fort Smith, Arkansas; Joplin, Missouri; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.Little Rock, Ark; and Taylor, Texas.The company’s inventory line includes carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, red metal and fiberglass.Boyd Metals deals in a variety of products, including structural profiles, plates, pipes, valves and fittings, as well as expanded metals and grilles.
“In the past, the service center was expected to only sell raw materials such as carbon steel, aluminum, and stainless steel,” explained Audie Dennis, vice president and general manager of the Joplin plant.”Traditional machines in the service center are fixed length wires, slitting wires, saws, etc. However, in the past 25 years, customers in the service center have requested more turnkey operations, they can obtain finished products, and even more and more Into the assembly. Nowadays, it can almost be expected that the service center can provide the first step processing capabilities such as burn-in, sawing, laser cutting and bending machine bending. The trend is to shift to more value-added services. We hope to be the problem solver for our customers. We identify their bottlenecks and solve the problem.”
In 2019, Boyd Metals formed a committee to explore the products available in the 2D fiber laser market.”We met to define what we think of our laser needs today and in the future,” said Steve Harvey, vice president and general manager of the Fort Smith plant.”We investigated the products available on the market and visited laser users in our geographic area.
“I happened to read an article about Prima Power laser machine in The FABRICATOR magazine, and happened to receive a call from a Prima Power salesperson to introduce myself, so I invited him to visit,” Harvey continued.”After the committee meeting, we invited five laser manufacturers to our Fort Smith office to listen to their opinions.”
After narrowing the options and comparing the systems, the committee decided to choose Prima Power.
“They not only introduce us, but also want to be present as our partners. They are really interested in helping us enter this market. Through training and everything Prima Power provides, there is never any pressure-only good information,” Ha Wei said.
Boyd Metals purchased three Prima Power Laser Genius machines for facilities in Fort Smith, Joplin, and Oklahoma City, which were installed in late 2019 and early 2020.
These high-range 2D lasers can cut a variety of materials, including highly reflective metals such as aluminum alloys, copper, and brass.Various thicknesses can be cut effectively, although productivity will increase especially when thin and medium gauge sheet metal is used.The automation module makes the machine suitable for small batch and large-scale production.
According to the manufacturer, the highly dynamic linear motors on the X and Y axes help to ensure a 15% increase in productivity compared to traditional drive systems.CNC proprietary management helps to ensure the accuracy of cutting and head positioning.
The laser machine has a high-brightness 6 kW fiber laser.The fiber cutting head adopts a single lens strategy, a safe impact protection system, a high dynamic focal axis with 35 mm travel, a lens drawer with a quick alignment system, and a protective glass drawer for simple inspection.
The Compact Server material handling system includes two storage units: one for the blanks and the other for the processed plates.
The machine’s NC Express e³ software is an expandable CAD/CAM application that can be used for single piece processing or fully automated batch processing.Regardless of the production method, the software supports any programming of lasers and turrets, and handles everything from importing and unfolding 3D models to processing daily ERP data.
Boyd Metals purchased Compact Server for each of the three laser machines, a loading/unloading device with a small footprint for processing blanks and processed plates.It includes two storage units: one for the blanks and the other for the processed plates.
“We knew we wanted to use fiber lasers,” said Richard Schultz, vice president and general manager of the Oklahoma City plant.”What I really like about Laser Genius is its small footprint. We also want some kind of automation, and Compact Server provides us with the automation we need without adding too much total footprint.
“Some of the work we did on the high-definition plasma equipment took several hours to complete. Today, Laser Genius with Compact Server has greatly accelerated this process,” Schultz explained.”The time we can cut the same part with the Laser Genius is 10% of the plasma cutting machine.”
“Between ordering the laser and installing it, we started to serve customers who needed a lot of laser cutting,” Dennis said.”Customers have entered a cost-cutting mode. If we don’t have Laser Genius, we may lose customers. But by being able to perform laser cutting in-house instead of outsourcing, we can reduce costs and pass on the cost savings to customers. It is now a repeat The top customers of the business have hundreds of thousands of dollars in laser cutting jobs every year.”
“If you can’t produce in-house, you usually don’t sit at the table,” Harvey said.”We have been able to expand to OEM products. You must have strict tolerances, repeatability and accuracy to obtain supplier certification.”
“Laser Genius has opened up a new source of business for us…a new source of income,” Dennis concluded.”We are now able to cut thinner materials with tighter tolerances than ever before. We can produce higher quality and tighter tolerance parts that can be directly put into production. This is becoming even more important today because we are helping our customers Taking on more and more manufacturing operations. We are processing some customers who send laser works to other places. When we installed Laser Genius, they were very excited. We got a lot of laser cutting business from existing customers. ”
FABRICATOR is the leading magazine for the North American metal forming and manufacturing industry.The magazine provides news, technical articles and case histories to enable manufacturers to complete their work more efficiently.FABRICATOR has been serving the industry since 1970.
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Post time: Jan-05-2022