Getting excited for FABTECH? Well, we have some exciting metalworking news to help tide you over. We’ve talked about how to integrate a TigerStop automated positioner on an ironworker for accurate punching, but did you know you can also automate the shear section of your ironworker with a SawGear or other TigerStop systems? Keep reading, folks!
Before we delve too deeply into automation, here’s a little Ironworker Shearing 101 to get us started.
Shearing is simply the term used for cutting through sheet metal, whether it’s various types of steel, aluminum, or copper, for example. Sheet metal is used in an array of metalworking industries, including tube and pipe, aerospace, automotive, building, as well as fabrication shops and a surplus of other industries across the globe.
There are many different ways to shear sheet metal. In addition to a notching station and a punch press, a good ironworker will have options including an angle shear, flat shear, round bar shear, you name it. When shopping for an ironworker, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting a good clean, burr-free shear. It’s also important that you’re able to cut accurate part lengths on your shear. This is vital to your entire manufacturing operation.
Accuracy Above All
First and foremost, shearing accuracy is wildly important due to high raw material costs. Nothing drains your profits more than sending wasted materials out the door. Huge piles of scrap sheet metal waste mean you have serious problems in your manufacturing processes, due to operator errors or machining problems.
Measuring problems are likely the culprit. Using a tape measure or a manual stop is slow and often inaccurate. Finding skilled operators who can adeptly measure and mark parts on the fly is no easy feat. Even using manual stop blocks/gauges have their problems. Manual blocks are frequently bumped during the shearing process, which can result in fractional errors. If your operator is cutting thousands of parts a day, that fractional error leads to huge inaccuracies.
There are other areas that can cost your metal shearing operation a great deal of money. And that’s in operator/labor time. It requires a significant amount of time to set and reset manual stops, as mentioned above. Sometimes, setup can take up anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. Multiply that by hundreds of setups a day, and you’re talking about hours of lost time.
But the area where the most amount of list time occurs is when parts are cut inaccurately and the operator has to fix his error. We call this “rework,” or performing an unnecessary, added process.
The Dangers of Rework
Rework is so dangerous because it:
- Costs a lot in hourly wages
- Can cost even more in hourly wages if parts are being reworked after hours (think time-and-a-half salary)
- Slows down the entire production process, which results in all of the processes down the line being slowed
But what’s even more dangerous to your business than rework is overlooking a part that needed to be reworked and finding out that a customer received it. This can be incredibly damaging to your and your company’s reputation, which is why cutting sheet metal parts quickly and accurately the first time around is so vital.
What’s an Operator To Do?
Don’t fear! It is easier than you think to combat the above issues in sheet metal processing. Automating your shear with a simple stop can save you a tremendous amount of money in all of the above areas—it dramatically cuts down on shearing time and set-up time. Thus, reduces operator labor/fatigue as well as hours, reduces and even eliminates the need to rework parts, reduces scrap waste, and more.
Having flexible and customizable ironworker automation is an even bigger plus. TigerStop offers a wide range of products that you can attach to the shear section of your ironworker, whether it’s brand-spanking-new or a 15-year-old, barely recognizable version of its old self. At TigerStop, we love automating older machines—we don’t judge a book by its cover.
Add-On Automation & Your Ironworker
That being said. TigerStop offers a basic stop called a SawGear which easily attaches to your shear. Below is a video of SawGear in action on an ironworker. Simply type in the part length you need to cut and press start. SawGear is the simplest, most cost-effective solution for increased speed and dead-on accuracy.
Push Your Shear to the Limits
Now if your operation requires heavy materials to be pushed through your shear, TigerStop has a wide range of solutions including the TigerTurbo and HeavyDuty 2, which can push up to 840 and 2,100 pounds, respectively.
Additionally, a great way to save money on your raw materials is nesting parts. Instead of shearing the longest parts first, then shortest, and tossing the leftover scrap in the garbage, use software that tells you how to nest your parts to get the least amount of scrap waste at the end.
Optimization Software Maximizes Your Yield
TigerStop’s Dynamic Optimization software is, easy to use nesting software available for your shearing application. It’s a great way to get the most out of your raw materials. Dynamic Optimization will nest parts for you, cut around defects in your material, and give you accurately sheared lengths all while maximizing your yield.
Dynamic Optimization also allows you to use all of the remnant parts (the large pieces of sheet metal remaining once parts have been cut from the sheet) that you’ve been wondering what to do with for all these months. Incorporate your remnants into your cut list, and Dynamic Optimization software allows you to use your “worst first” when shearing.