FF Journal Magazine: “E IS FOR EVEN”

01.21.2022

This article by Lynn Stanley originally appeared on FF Journal Magazine.

Servo-electronic bending technology gives service center fast, repeatable processing for sheet and plate

In the motion picture industry, a fixer provides a film crew with logistical support from permits, locations and equipment to transportation. In the steel industry, Dave Schott, regional fabrication manager for Kloeckner Metals York, is also a “fixer” who says he does “a little bit of everything.” The Kloeckner Metals Corp. Pennsylvania-based branch supplies and processes ferrous and nonferrous products. The service center also provides warehousing, logistics and materials management services.

ts O-frame design minimizes deformation
The SafanDarley 200-ton, 13-ft. E-Brake can process 3/16-in.-thick sheet up to ½-in.-thick plate. Its O-frame design minimizes deformation.

 

“If a customer has a custom concept or a prototype, we can work with them on the front end of the design and then process it,” Schott says. “We can buy custom sheet sizes to minimize scrap and deliver optimal forming and throughput or we can use a customer’s raw material.” Schott gets involved in value-added processing. “I assess the part, determine how it should be processed and use that data to establish time and cost estimates for the job. That includes raw material usage, whether or not we have the right tooling to support nesting requirements and deciding if downstream steps like welding or powder coating need to be performed.”

O-FRAME

Kloeckner Metals York is equipped to do the heavy lifting for customers that have one facility or multiple locations. It can laser cut, roll form, plate roll, bend, punch, stamp, weld, drill and finish, along with assembly and kitting. Carbon steel makes up the majority of the branch’s book of business with some requirements for galvanized, stainless and aluminum products.

A fiber laser upgrade in 2019 allowed Kloeckner Metals York to take on part work processed from light-gauge sheet. But forming the parts on its legacy 400-ton, 14-ft. press brake consumed too much time and consistent accuracy was difficult to achieve. Schott and his team started looking at press brakes that are fast and repeatable and which can also handle plate.

“We can get the same amount of work completed on the E-Brake that would have taken us two shifts to do on our old press brake.”

Dave Schott, Kloeckner Metals York

“We looked at SafanDarley and other press brake [manufacturers] but several things attracted us to the SafanDarley E-Brake,” Schott says. “The control, its O-frame design versus a C-frame, and the light curtain were some of the features that made it the best option for the type of work we wanted to do,” says Schott. “The value proposition really sold us.”

In 2020, the company installed a SafanDarley 220-ton, 13-ft. E-Brake Ultra with a 6-axis backgauge and E-Mate 2000 sheet follower. The flexible E-Brake can handle 3/16-in.-thick sheet up to ½-in.-thick plate.

“The unique construction of the E-Brake contributes to even absorption of large forces,” says Kyle Wenger, a sales engineer for Fox Machinery Associates. Fox is a distributor for SafanDarley. “Unlike a traditional C-frame, the O-frame acts as a single unit, keeping deformation to a minimum and creating a more stable, stronger environment for bending parts. It eliminates the need for a conventional crowning system.”

CYCLE TIMES

The E-Brake’s heavy-duty CNC-controlled backgauge system is fitted with recirculating ball screws and precision linear ball-bearing guides. The backgauge and the E-Brake’s servo-electronic technology contribute to cycle times that are up to 30 percent faster than conventional press brakes. An active safety light guard system aids bending speeds. Yet the machine consumes up to 50 percent less energy than competing models.

The E-Brake opens just wide enough to receive material, saving time and throughput
The E-Brake opens just wide enough to receive material, saving time and throughput.

 

“It’s a fast machine and repeatability is really good,” says Schott. “Parts are identical. We are able to switch from part to part quickly or tailor the E-Brake to a specific part. We can also control open height. The machine, the software, safety and speed make this equipment unique.”

“A rocker-style press brake opens the entire stroke length of a bending cycle,” he continues. “If you are running 3/8-in.-thick sheet, for example, the E-Brake opens just wide enough to receive the material. You save time and throughput. And it’s safer. We use the E-Mate sheet follower for some of the bigger box work. It’s easier than following the part by hand or with a crane. Our operator really likes it.”

Compared to its legacy equipment, Schott estimates the E-Brake has cut cycle time in half on its 3/16-in. through 3/8-in.-thick sheet. In the face of a labor shortfall, the E-Brake is picking up the slack. “We can get the same amount of work completed on the E-Brake that would have taken us two shifts to do on our old press brake,” Schott says. “While we do form heavier parts on our legacy press brake, we try to run all the work we can on the E-Brake.”

Kloeckner Metals York runs the E-Brake one 8-hour shift, bending parts that range from battery boxes and bumpers for the transportation market, frames for the HVAC market and frames for power generation to parts for heavy equipment and mining applications. The ability to eliminate rework has taken on new significance with the cost of steel hurtling to record-breaking heights.

With a significant amount of work booked for 2022, the SafanDarley E-Brake’s efficiency and ease of use allows Kloeckner Metals York to reassign employees to tasks with higher value. “We would love to get 40 additional hours of work to put across that press brake. We’re always looking for new opportunities.”

Lauren Wiggins
Lauren manages internal and external communications at Kloeckner Metals, spearheading different programs that facilitate conversation throughout the entire organization, while enhancing company reputation across digital mediums. Lauren has 7+ years of experience in social media management, as well as copywriting for big brands from an ad agency position. She’s a graduate of the University of South Carolina, an AmeriCorps alumna, and a published storyteller.

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