Industry News

Why Custom Manufacturing is The Future

The whole world is going custom. More and more people are looking for that personalized touch in both products and experiences. Everyone is different – different tastes, preferences, and needs. And businesses have been taking notice.

That’s not to say that customization is new to the world of manufacturing. Engineer-to-order, made-to-order, and assemble-to-order manufacturing modes have been part of the business-to-business (B2B) manufacturing sector for a long time. A certain level of customization is needed to allow the production of specialized products or slightly customized vehicles, for example. However, traditionally, the approach of general manufacturing has always been to produce large quantities of identical goods to make them affordable and accessible to the global market.

Of course, as we’ve mentioned, consumers are no longer satisfied with buying products that everyone else is enjoying. They want something that calls to their individuality. Products that have been made to their specifications to meet their specific needs. This demand for customization has greatly impacted manufacturers in the business-to-customer (B2C) space in more ways than one.

Traditional Manufacturing is Risky

As we’ve already mentioned, the traditional approach to manufacturing is the mass production of identical consumer goods. This allows the company to lower the cost of production which makes the product more appealing to customers while allowing the company to still profit. 

Of course, this approach carries with it some risk since you’re basing your production on a prediction of future demand. If the demand for the product is less than that of the supply, the business may have to sell the products without making a profit at all. Or worse, have to scrap the product altogether which means a lot of waste that will impact the environment. This kind of situation is nothing new. A lot of businesses have created millions of products that were unsuccessful upon their launch in the market (hello, Google Glass) which meant a great deal of money lost and material wastage created. 

What is Custom Manufacturing?

Custom manufacturing is quite different from traditional or general manufacturing. It is a process of designing and producing a unique product that has been tailored specifically for a single customer. Unlike the traditional approach, the production of goods is based on current, genuine demand instead of a nebulous idea of future demand. 

This process allows for short production runs, creating build-to-order parts or one-offs when ordered. And because only small quantities are produced, customers can receive their orders in the shortest amount of time possible. 

What does this mean for the business? Several things actually. 

  • First of all, it helps ensure that all manufactured products have a buyer. The business won’t be manufacturing goods that nobody wants to buy. There will be less of a financial risk and it will help lower material wastage. 
  • Second, custom manufacturing eliminates the need for aggressive marketing, trying to get everyone to buy your product and make a profit. This kind of practice can easily cost a business large amounts of money.
  • Third, consumers are now part creators. Because of the rising demand for personalization and customization, consumers are becoming more engaged in the creation of products. They are no longer passive recipients of a product; they are active participants. By allowing them to customize your product, you add more value to it. And when customers receive good value, they’re more likely to feel loyal to your brand. Their loyalty will ensure that they keep coming back. It will also help generate more customers. Moreover, it will help your business stand out in a highly competitive market.
  • Fourth, custom manufacturing gives businesses insight into their customers. Letting customers get involved in product design will allow manufacturers to gather critical information regarding their requirements, preferences, and purchasing behavior. This data will help give them valuable insight on how they can improve their existing products as well as what future products would appeal to their market.

The Future of Manufacturing

Over the years, there has been a fundamental shift from traditional manufacturing to custom manufacturing. And it’s easy to see why. The benefits are many, leading many manufacturers to build to order instead of building to stock. Plus, the continued advancements in technology such as custom 3D printing has lowered the barriers to entry, enabling more small-scale local manufacturing companies to become more competitive. The factory of the future will no longer be made of assembly lines. It will be filled with smart, automated assembly workstations capable of flexibility in production.  

About the author: Louisa is a content marketing professional and editor creating her successful career past 2 years at D3D Printing. She is a goal-oriented, creative individual with a unique voice in writing, editing, and optimizing content for various projects. She’s a devoted mom and an excellent piano player.

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FlytWare eBook & Webinar on Emerging Technologies in Supply Chain

California, USA, January 21, 2021 — The supply chain industry is rapidly evolving when it comes to adopting technology for enhancing their operations. In fact, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected almost every industry globally, supply chain managers are adopting new technologies at a faster rate. This is based on observations during the pandemic of the limitations of manual operations during public health crises.

From blockchain-driven data storage to AI-powered inventory drones, the world of logistics is undergoing a rapid transformation towards Warehouse 4.0, or ‘Smart Warehousing.’

The transition from traditional procedures to smarter procedures can be as game-changing as our transition from feature phones to smartphones. Innovation in the supply chain sector has become the ‘new normal’ and is not just a buzzword.In order to share insights on emerging technologies for supply chains, the FlytWare team is hosting a free webinar on “Emerging Technologies in Supply Chain”. An eBook will also be launched alongside the webinar, as a resource for stakeholders in the logistics industry.

The webinar will share insights in making supply chains smarter, with sophisticated technologies such as blockchain, IoT, circular supply chains, artificial intelligence, etc. along with a brief demo of autonomous inventory drones for distribution centers.

Join us to learn more about technology trends for supply chains and how they can make warehousing and logistics operations more efficient. 

Book your seat for the webinar by registering at https://flytware.com/webinars/emerging-technologies-in-supply-chain/

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Kivnon presents its latest three innovations in mobile robotics

Kivnon, specialists in innovative mobile robotics solutions, presents its new three models of autonomous vehicles: the K03 Twister, the K50 Pallet Truck and the K55 Pallet Stacker, capable of circulating around the environment using magnetic guidance or mapping navigation, based on SLAM technology. 

The new K03 Twister is a rotational mobile platform with dimensions of 700 x 500 x 280 mm, making it the smallest AGV of Kivnon mobile robot portfolio. With a load capacity of up to 400 kg, this vehicle has a rotational lifting platform that allows it to rotate itself while maintaining the absolute position of the load. Thanks to its small size and great maneuverability, this mobile robot facilitates the design of more compact and flexible solutions, as well as the optimization of intralogistics processes, thus reducing operating times.

The new Forklift mobile robots autonomously transport palletized loads of up 1,000 kg and lift heights of up to 1 meter. The new K50 Pallet Truck and the new K55 Pallet Stacker have the ability to move in both directions of travel and are equipped with lifting forks to transport and handle loads vertically and horizontally. Both products have been specially designed for the optimization of processes and tasks within a warehouse.

The three new models reflect the manufacturer’s new design line, with new shapes and new colors, which mark the beginning of the new look of the future mobile robots (AGVs/AMRs) from Kivnon. 

Kivnon products are characterized by their robustness, safety, precision, and high quality, and have been designed following the user-friendly philosophy, that is, designed to create a pleasant, simple to install and intuitive work experience.

With this new launch, Kivnon consolidates its commitment to technological innovation and continuous improvement of its products to provide a response to the needs’ of its current and future customers. Today, the company offers a wide range of mobile robotics solutions for the automation of different applications within the automotive, food and beverage, Logistics and warehousing, aeronautics industries, among others. 

For more information on the Kivnon mobile robots (AGVs/AMRs), please contact the Kivnon group via email: info@kivnon.com or visit the following page: mobilerobots.kivnon.com

About Kivnon

Kivnon designs, develops, manufactures, and distributes Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs/AMRs) and systems to improve the productivity of internal logistics of its customers. Kivnon which has over 10 years of experience in AGV/AMR production is committed to global excellence with a complete range of AGVs/AMRs and related products to support its customers in the current transformation in the world of manufacturing (Industry 4.0). Kivnon.com   

Besides the head office in Barcelona, Kivnon also has offices in Valladolid, Zaragoza, Vitoria (Spain), Großostheim (Germany), Coventry (U.K.), Puebla (Mexico), Detroit (USA), São Paulo (Brazil), Nitra, Žilina (Slovakia), Paris (France).

 

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Stäubli Group Appoints Gerald Vogt to CEO

Stäubli Group, a Pfäffikon, Switzerland-headquartered provider of industrial and mechatronic solutions, said it is starting the New Year with a new CEO. Gerald Vogt, previously responsible for the global business of the Robotics Division, will take over as CEO from Rolf Strebel on Jan. 1, 2021.

Vogt, an experienced manager from within the company’s own ranks, will take over the management of the diversified and growing family-owned company. The 50-year-old Franco-German engineer and business economist has been responsible for the global robotics business as group division manager since mid-2016, Stäubli said.

According to Stäubli, when Vogt joined the company almost 20 years ago, he initially moved from the development and production site in Faverges, France, to the United States for several years. As division manager he significantly expanded business for Stäubli Robotics North America. Afterward, he returned to Faverges as head of development before taking over responsibility for the German business as head of Stäubli Robotics in Bayreuth.

To ensure a smooth transition, Stäubli said its board of directors nominated Vogt as the designated successor to Strebel at the beginning of 2020. Since then, Vogt has accompanied the current CEO and is responsible for the introduction and implementation of the new business strategy for Stäubli through 2030.

“We are delighted to have found in Gerald Vogt a forward-looking manager with extensive international experience and a clear entrepreneurial spirit who is already very well connected within the group. He has our full confidence to further advance the business of the entire Stäubli Group worldwide,” said Yves Serra, chairman of the board of directors.

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James Kim Named CEO of Doosan Machine Tools America

Pine Brook, NJ – January 12, 2021 – Doosan Machine Tools, a global manufacturer of CNC machine tools and automation, has named James Kim the new CEO of its North American operations. Mr. Kim has spent the past 37 years at Doosan in a variety of roles.

“I am honored to be recognized for nearly four decades of faithful service, and I greatly look forward to promoting the incredible technology Doosan has to offer,” he said.

Mr. Kim has served Doosan Machine Tools America for the past 18 years. Prior to that, he was based in Doosan’s South Korea headquarters as Marketing Team Leader for the Machine Tool Business Group of Daewoo Heavy Industries. In his time in the United States, he has taken on many roles, including Sales Management Director, Vice President of Strategy & Planning and Corporate Secretary (also a VP role). 

“We’re very excited to see James in this new role,” said Jim Shiner, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Doosan Machine Tools America. “He has always been an open communicator who works to establish trust and build authentic relationships.”

For more information on Doosan Machine Tools America, visit them online at www.doosanmachinetools.com.

About Doosan Machine Tools

Since 1980, Doosan has been a global leader in the machine tool industry. The company’s vast and versatile line of turning centers, machining centers, multitasking machines and automation solutions provide value to manufacturers in the automobile, aerospace, energy and medical industries, among many others. Headquartered in South Korea, Doosan has branches in the United States, Germany, China and India, as well as dealers and service centers worldwide. 

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Meet Athena, the First Voice Assistant for the Manufacturing Industry

Cincinnati, Ohio — January 8, 2021 — Voice-enabled technology has transformed the way humans communicate. It’s here to stay, and now the manufacturing industry has an assistant of its own. Her name is Athena, and she was created to help machine tool builders provide more productive and efficient equipment to manufacturing companies who are always looking for ways to increase productivity.

Athena was initially launched by iTSpeeX, LLC in the spring of 2018. Since then, the voice assistant—who interacts with machine tool operators via a machine’s existing control screen or a separate display—has expanded to include over 500 commands designed to make machine operators more independent and more productive. She is able to listen to voice commands, provide instructional content, perform complex machine functions quickly and walk through vital checklists. 

“For years, the manufacturing industry has had to deal with a lack of skilled workers,” said Stephen Kappers, Principal at iTSpeeX. “That shortage is only exacerbated as you get into machine tools, where machine and control complexity continues to increase. We built Athena to help solve that skilled labor problem.”

Machine tool OEMs have lost sales simply because the shop owner has no one capable of operating the machine. Athena immediately solves that problem, helping builders sell more machines—even in situations where skilled labor is a need.

“Athena is an ideal solution for both machine tool OEMs and machine shop owners,” said Jerry Rex, Chief Revenue Officer at iTSpeeX. “OEMs simplify machine operation and reduce training costs, and end-users get a friendly assistant that makes them more efficient and productive.”

To learn more about Athena or to request a demo, visit www.athenaworkshere.com.

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Absolute Machine Tools Wins 2020 PMPA Technical Member Participation Award

Machine tool importer and distributor Absolute Machine Tools, Inc. received the Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) Technical Member Participation award at the association’s annual meeting recently in Ridgedale, MO. Absolute Machine Tools has been presented with this award for the last three years for its outstanding contributions and service to the PMPA. Just six of the association’s 170 Technical Member companies received the award in 2020.

Technical Members of PMPA supply the machinery, tools, materials and other items used by manufacturers of precision products. The award recognizes suppliers who share their expertise and latest developments at national technical conferences, exhibit at the association’s Precision Machining Technology show, speak at chapter and national meetings and serve as PMPA leaders. In announcing award winners, the PMPA said, “Absolute Machine Tools values its membership in the PMPA and is committed to growing and educating fellow PMPA members and the manufacturing industry in the United States.”

l-r) Greg Knight, Vice President of Sales-Production Turning, and Courtney Ortner, CMO, Absolute Machine Tools

Absolute Machine Tools sells and supports a comprehensive selection of machine tools, including its Nexturn Swiss-type lathes and Lico multi-slide CNC screw machines and twin spindle multi-slide mill/turn centers that are of particular interest to PMPA’s precision part making membership.

Absolute Machine Tools Vice President of Sales-Production Turning Greg Knight said the award “Demonstrates the knowledge, skill and commitment of the Absolute Machine Tools team to helping its customers maximize their productivity in any way possible.”

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Keeping Up with the EV Changes: Industry 4.0 key to manufacturing tougher transmissions for EVs

Tesla and Porsche have each developed multi-gear electric vehicles (EVs). If these models prove successful, how can other manufacturers follow-suit while also keeping their production lines optimized and cost-effective? Here, Claudia Jarrett, US country manager of industrial parts supplier EU Automation, explains the benefits of two-speed gearboxes, and how these will change manufacturing processes.

EVs don’t need transmissions — or do they? The conventional thought is that, because they don’t need a clutch, electric cars don’t require gears. So, unlike conventional petrol or diesel cars with multi-speed gearboxes, EVs have just one gear.

However, this view is changing as leading EV manufacturers, like Porsche and Tesla, unveil multi-gear designs. Tesla’s Dual-motor Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles each have two gears, one in the front and one in the rear; Porsche’s Taycan also has a two-speed gearbox; and Volkswagen and Volvo are following suit.

So, manufacturers must prepare themselves for a future where EVs do, in fact, have multiple gears — but, what are the advantages of multiple gear ratios in EVs? There are several relating to the fact that EVs produce a much higher ratio of torque, measured as revolutions per minute (rpm). 

Of course, internal combustion engines (ICEs) only produce power and efficiency in relatively-narrow rpm ranges. That’s why they have gears, to switch mechanically from one tight rpm range to the next without damaging the engine. With fewer moving parts than conventional ICEs, electric engines can go beyond 10,000 rpm — some even approach 20,000 rpm at top speed — without risks of damage.

However, one-gear EVs do have a performance weakness relating to the torque-to-rpm ratio: efficiency is not consistent across the whole range of rpms — from zero to 10,000 rpm, for example. EVs only produce full torque up until a certain speed, after which the levels start to drop off. According to this report by Clean Technica, the torque “sweet spot” for EVs is usually around 48 – 65 kilometers per hour. 

That’s why Tesla and Porsche have embraced the idea that EVs should have a lower gear for initial acceleration and a higher gear for  top speeds. This can ensure maximum efficiency throughout the range of rpms. 

Better machining 

The advent of multi-gear EVs presents challenges for manufacturers of transmission components, which adapt the levels of torque produced by the engine to the drive wheels. The higher rate of rpms in EVs places higher demands on the transmission, which makes it increasingly difficult to manufacture adequate transmission parts with conventional machining methods. EV transmissions also mainly use smaller, lighter planetary gear designs to reduce weight and space. 

Manufacturers will need to adapt their production processes to make these smaller, higher-quality transmission components — at all levels. At the machining level, for instance, hard-part turning (HPT) can be applied. HPT has overtaken grinding as a more accurate and efficient method for machining hardened steels, like 45-70 HRC superalloys — and it has been found to reduce machining time and costs by 70 per cent.

Power-skiving is another method that combines shaping and hobbing — a machining process for gear cutting — has also been attracting interest as a more efficient and precise method for machining internal gears. 

Transmission makers can adapt to these changes by investing in new machinery, and advanced tooling that’s fit for purpose. But, as in any case where machine shops must adapt to market changes — especially those requiring big investments — production planning must be a priority. The last thing they need is to be hindered by problems arising from poor coordination between different parts of the production line.

Issues of fragmented production planning are typically down to disjointed IT-systems. That’s why more transparent production planning, better data management and condition monitoring through sensors and the IIoT will be so critical.

Eyes everywhere 

Manufacturers of transmission components should look to how automakers including Bosch, BMW and others have adapted to change. Bosch’s automotive diesel system factory in Wuxi, China, faced a significant increase in customer orders caused by changes in Chinese regulations relating to emission control and loading. The Wuxi plant’s solution was to combine the IIoT with Big Data, connecting its machinery to better-monitor overall production using sensors embedded into the factory’s machines. 

The sensors collect data on the machines’ conditions and cycle times with advanced, real-time analytics. With its new, digitalized approach to production planning, Bosch can schedule maintenance operations before any failures occur and keep its machinery running and operating for longer. Bosch has reported a more-than 10 per cent output increase in some areas, with improved delivery and customer satisfaction.

The advantages of Industry 4.0 can tie directly back to machining. Take the example of two automotive plants in Austria, one run by BMW and the other by Opel, which each produce all major parts of the engine through drilling, milling and turning operations. Both plants applied SKF condition monitoring systems across their processes and, in doing so, were able to run their tooling operations at far-higher speeds — up to 24,000 rpm in some cases — with increased automation and minimal production stoppages. 

These are among the advantages that manufacturers of transmission components can unlock by embracing Industry 4.0. However, many are reluctant to do because of misconceptions that digitalization will be expensive or incompatible with their lines when, actually, it needn’t be. Rather, applying the latest specialist technologies, like sensors, can be achieved as part of a low-cost digital retrofitting strategy. 

This is where the consultancy of an expert industrial automation parts supplier can lend a hand. Through sensors and the IIoT, plus a solid retrofitting strategy, manufacturers of transmission parts can apply more transparent production planning and better data management across their production lines. Then, keeping up with the EV changes led by Tesla and Porsche shouldn’t seem so daunting, after all. 

Editor’s note: If you want to ensure you keep up to date with press material, opinion focused content and case studies from EU Automation, you can subscribe to receive the company’s updates by e-mail here www.euautomation.com/us 

 

For further information contact:

EU Automation Inc

871 Busse Road, Elk Grove Village, Chicago, IL 60007 USA

Telephone: +1 877-830-2021

www: www.euautomation.com/us 

E-mail: aisha.khalid@euautomation.com 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/euautomation

LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/EUAuto 

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/EuroAuto    

 

Press enquiries: Laura England or Alex Manford

Stone Junction Ltd, 1 St Mary’s Gate, St Mary’s Grove, Stafford, Staffordshire, United Kingdom, ST16 2AW

Telephone: +44 (0)1785 225416

e-mail: Laura@stonejunction.co.uk or alexm@stonejunction.co.uk 

www: www.stonejunction.co.uk  

Blog: www.stone-junction.blogspot.com 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StoneJunctionPR

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/technicalPR

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/stone-junction-ltd

About EU Automation: EU Automation stocks and sells new, used, refurbished and obsolete industrial automation spares. Its global network of preferred partner warehouses, and wholly owned distribution centres, enables it to offer a unique service within the automation industry, spanning the entire globe.  It provides worldwide express delivery on all products meaning it can supply any part, to any destination, at very short notice.

Ref: EUS274/11/20

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Methods Machine Tools Introduces Next Generation JobShop Cell PRO

Sudbury, MA, U.S.A. (January 5, 2021) Methods Machine Tools, Inc., North America’s foremost supplier of leading-edge precision machine tools and automation, has introduced the JobShop Cell PRO, a new standard automation solution featuring the RoboDrill D21SiBadv Vertical Machining Center Series. The JobShop Cell PRO incorporates a main enclosure with several different pre-engineered end-of-arm and infeed/ outfeed options for a range of part and capacity requirements.

“Building on nearly 15 years of experience with the widely popular JobShop Cell, we are pleased to provide a reimagined standard PRO version which accommodates multiple infeed and outfeed options for high mix, medium volume machining applications,” said Mr. John Lucier, FANUC Automation Manager, Methods Machine Tools, Inc. “Having an in-stock automation solution, featuring exceptional, proven technology, saves cost and speeds delivery to our customers.”

JobShop Cell PRO features an industrial grade, articulating FANUC 6-axis robot in a versatile aluminum enclosure which allows the RoboDrill to be placed on the left or right side, or in a twin cell with two machines. In the twin cell, two side-by-side RoboDrill machines with a FANUC robot entering from the side of each machine gives operators full, open access to the front of the RoboDrills for tool changes, off-sets and maintenance. Removable panels on the common enclosure allow for several different infeed and outfeed options including conveyors, drawers, lazy susan style pallet systems, as well as interfaces for vibratory and other bulk feeding solutions.

The Compact, High Speed RoboDrill D21SiBadv offers multi-axis simultaneous machining with a 10,000 or 24,000 RPM BBT-30 spindle. Customers may choose from a 3, 4 or 5-Axis configured RoboDrill, and an array of standard hydraulic or pneumatic workholding options. The RoboDrill features 1.3 second chip-to-chip tool change and 1.5g acceleration/ deceleration. A powerful FANUC 31i-B5 Nano CNC controller provides extremely fast FSSB high-speed processing.

To view a JobShop Cell PRO video, please click here

Methods’ automation group has more than 30 automation engineers nationwide and provides highly innovative machine tool automation solutions. The automation group includes design engineers, control engineers, fluid engineers, integration/assembly engineers, field service/installation engineers, electrical/mechanical engineers and machinists.

The department quotes, engineers, assembles, tests, installs, trains, runs-off and implements all of their automation solutions. The automation department continually looks for ways to reduce costs and increase production as well as maintaining the quality of the end products. Methods’ automation is a complete solution for customers throughout North America.

About Methods Machine Tools, Inc.

Methods Machine Tools, Inc., headquartered in Sudbury, Massachusetts USA and in operation since 1958, is North America’s foremost supplier of leading-edge precision machine tool and automation solutions – providing superior products, engineering, service, parts, training, and integration. With over 300 employees, nine sales and technology centers, and over 40,000 machines installed throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, Methods supplies high quality machine tools, automation equipment and more. For more information call 877-668-4262 or visit www.methodsmachine.com.

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Functions of Plasma Cutting Machines​​​​​​​

The thermal cutting method of plasma cutting uses ionized gas to cut through metal. It is widely used in the manufacturing industry to cut thick metal plates, but it is also used for cutting sheet metal.

Plasma cutting developed out of plasma welding in the 1960s. But it only became a productive metal-cutting process in the 1980s. The first plasma cutting machines were large, slow, and costly. Therefore, they were typically only used for repeatable cutting patterns in mass production. But when Computer Numerical Control technology was used in plasma cutting in the late 1980s and early 1990s, plasma cutting machines became much more flexible. They could cut different shapes based on the instructions programmed into the machine’s numerical control. In the last decade, plasma cutting machine manufacturers have devised completely new models that have a smaller nozzle and a thinner plasma arc, which allows for greater precision and does not produce metal chips.

How exactly does plasma cutting work?

In plasma cutting, electrically conductive materials are cut via an accelerated hot jet of plasma. The machines are used to cut steel, stainless steel, brass, copper, aluminum, and other conductive metals. The conductive gas used in plasma cutting reaches temperatures of up to 30,000° Celsius.

The basic process involves creating an electrical channel of superheated, electrically ionized gas from the plasma cutter to the workpiece that requires cutting. An earth terminal creates a finished circuit back to the plasma cutter. Compressed gas is blown through a nozzle to a workpiece at high speed. An arc then forms in the gas, between an electrode next to the gas nozzle and the workpiece. The arc ionizes part of the gas to create an electrically conductive plasma channel. When the current from the cutting tool flows through the plasma, it emits enough heat to melt a workpiece. At the same time, the hot molten metal is blown away, separating the workpiece.

Where to Buy Plasma Cutting Machines

If you are looking to use plasma cutting machines for manufacturing, you can find a variety of superb reconditioned plasma machines at Revelation Machinery. Reconditioned machines are less expensive than new machines, and the inventory at Revelation Machinery includes a wide variety of lengths, capacities, and brands. You will find machines by leading brands such as Messer, Hypertherm, and Hornet.

Applications of Plasma Cutting

The applications and functions of plasma cutting are widespread. In addition to being used in the general manufacturing industry, plasma cutting machines are used in sectors like industrial construction, agricultural maintenance, and automotive repair and restoration. The machines are also used by metal service centers, welding repair centers, the commercial shipbuilding sector, trailer production, and sculpture.

The Cutting Process

Not all plasma cutting works in the same way. One method is called high-frequency contact. However, it is a low-budget plasma cutting option and is not suitable for CNC plasma cutters because the high frequency can disrupt modern equipment and create issues. The method uses a high voltage and high-frequency spark, which is created when the plasma torch touches the metal.

Another method is called the pilot arc method. The spark is created inside the plasma torch by a low current circuit and a high voltage, creating the pilot arc. The cutting arc is created when the pilot arc makes contact with the workpiece.

Using a spring-loaded plasma torch head is another option. By pressing a plasma torch against a workpiece, a short circuit is created to make the current begin to flow. The pilot arc is created by releasing the pressure, bringing the arc into contact with the workpiece.

The Pros and Cons of Plasma Cutting Machines

There are many advantages to using plasma cutting machines in manufacturing, but there are some disadvantages too. For example, the quality of cutting thin sheets and plates is not as good as laser cutting, and the tolerances are not as precise as they are with laser cutting. Also, plasma cutting does not reach the thickness you can attain from using waterjet or flame cutting. On the other hand, the advantages include:

  •   Being able to cut all conductive materials.
  •   Being able to achieve excellent quality for thicknesses up to 150 mm.
  •   Being the best method for cutting thick aluminium and stainless steel.
  •   Being able to cut in water.
  • Having a quicker cutting speed than oxyfuel.

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