How Laser Cutting Takes On A New Role In Shop Floors

For fabricators, the best way to adapt with the introduction of fiber laser is to integrate it with automation. This means that it is automated in every step of the way from loading and unloading, handling of the material, storing them and then retrieving them from the system. Automation is also responsible for monitoring the active inventory found around the shop floor. Automation also keeps up with the growth of the fabrication shop since managers are adamant that the operations are always consistent for various processes including bending with pressbrake, welding and deburring.

The output of the fabricator is determined by the constraint present and if the work is not consistent then the production is not at optimum level. It can be argued that the order mix for the particular day controls the output yet the constraint has a lot of room for improvement.

Thinking back to the sheet metal fabrication facility in Iowa owned by Percival Scientific, one can say that it is proof of the impact of technology and the factors that affect it including external, internal and customer demands. Customer demand is not the same for every facility.

According to Percival, their operation includes building incubators either big or small and other equipment. During the analysis they have conducted at the fabrication floor, they found out that their cutting department is slowly becoming a constraint and if they don’t do something about it then it will most likely stop growth in the future.

Instead of purchasing new pressbrake, they opted for a holistic solution by taking a closer look into their order release, order sequencing for parts offloading as well as sorting and the programming of the system. Unless the part is ready to undergo bending, laser cutting is not yet accomplished. Because of certain limitation, Percival was able to develop its own fabrication operation with a complimenting assembly line by utilizing part flow that is of single-unit. Since what they offer to customer is custom jobs, they make use of laser cutting to make the job easier. This takes away the need to do manual cutting which is exposed to human error.