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LVD Introduces Low-Cost Laser Cutting Machine—YSD LaserONE

LVD Introduces Low-Cost Laser Cutting Machine—YSD LaserONE

LVD YSD LaserONE is a new cost-effective laser cutting machine designed to put the advantages of fiber laser technology within easy reach of sheet metal fabricators by eliminating the extras that increase machine cost and complexity. LaserONE is offered with a 2- or 4-kW laser power source in a 3000 x 1500mm table size and with optional Load-Assist automation.

Developed to address the market need for a low-cost, ultra-practical fiber laser cutting machine, LaserONE is designed, manufactured, sold and serviced by LVD. It cuts a variety of materials and thicknesses with the flexibility of fiber laser, has low operating and maintenance costs, and provides a quick return on investment.

The machine features a Precitec cutting head with NC-focus, automatic focal adjustment and crash protection, Raycus laser source, Siemens control, servo motors and drives.

The YSD LaserONE is equipped with an automatic pallet changer for fast interchanging of the shuttle tables in a cycle time of approximately 30 seconds.  An optional Load-Assist automation system offers easy loading/unloading.

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LVD Introduces Strippit PL Punch-Laser Combination Machine

LVD Introduces Strippit PL Punch-Laser Combination Machine

LVD Company nv introduces the Strippit PL Punch-Laser combination, a machine that combines the punching and forming advantages of the Strippit PX or V Series punch press with the speed and versatility of fiber laser cutting to complete multiple processes on a single machine, answering the need for flexible manufacturing. Three punch-laser models are available: the single-head style Strippit PX 1530-L and Strippit V 1530-L in thick- and thin-turret configurations.

Combined Advantages

Small batches, short lead times, increasingly complex parts drive the need for flexible manufacturing. Strippit PL offers two technologies in one machine for more versatility than single-process equipment. Strippit PL can laser cut intricate shapes and process materials up to 10 mm, efficiently punch holes up to 6.35 mm, produce forms and bends up to 90 mm in length and up to 75 mm high on the Strippit PX 1530-L.

Combination technology offers complete part processing. The punch press handles high-speed punching and forming operations. The fiber laser delivers high-quality cutting of outer contours, intricate inner contours and can be used for material etching.

The combination of technologies eliminates processes, can improve part quality, reduces production time and material handling, and lowers the cost per part in both small lot sizes and high production runs.

Technology Partner

In 1978, Strippit brought punch-laser technology to sheet metal fabrication. Today, a combination machine is more practical than ever because of advances in laser cutting and punching technology.

The solid-state fiber laser has minimal components, offers high cutting speed, and low-maintenance costs making cutting operations faster, more accurate and cost-effective. Strippit PL is offered with a 3 kW or 4 kW fiber laser source.

The Strippit PX single-head 20-ton punch press can punch, form, bend and tap, forming flanges up to 75 mm high, countersinking and scribing with top productivity. Twenty indexable tool stations hold any size tool, up to a maximum tool diameter of 90 mm.

The Strippit V thick-turret model features a versatile 48-station turret. The Strippit V thin-turret configuration has a 40-station turret. Both 30-ton machines are equipped with four programmable 88.9 mm indexable stations and are designed to handle high tonnage applications.

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LVD Showcases New Products In Virtual Technology Events

LVD Showcases New Products In Virtual Technology Events

Following the postponement of EuroBLECH 2020, LVD announces plans for a series of Virtual Technology Events and Technology Days to be held September through November 2020 to launch and showcase new laser cutting, bending and punch press products for the sheet metalworking market.

LVD Technology Events will spotlight products originally planned to debut at EuroBLECH and will offer a combination of virtual events and in-person Technology Days at its Experience Center in Gullegem, Belgium.

Both the virtual and onsite events will give attendees an in-depth look at LVD’s latest advancements. The Virtual Tech Events will provide full product demonstrations, informational sessions on various metal fabricating technology and industry trends, and offer a platform for information sharing, as you would expect at a physical trade show. Technology Days at the LVD XP Center will take place with significantly smaller groups and with increased safety measures in place.

EuroBLECH, the world’s largest sheet metalworking exhibition, has been postponed to March 2021 in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“Without strong confidence that health and safety guidelines can be maintained in a large tradeshow setting such as EuroBLECH, we need new ways to connect with fabricators to help them discover new technologies,” said LVD CCO, Francis De Bie.

“As we adapt to the ‘new normal,’ it’s more important than ever to help companies build more flexible and resilient businesses.”

Dates and additional details for LVD Technology Events will be announced in early August.

 

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LVD Introduces Movit Line Of Automation Systems For Lasers

LVD Introduces Movit Line Of Automation Systems For Lasers

LVD introduces MOVit, a comprehensive range of automation systems, including new TAS (Tower Automation System) and WAS (Warehouse Automation System) options for LVD Phoenix and Electra laser cutting machines. MOVit systems also include LVD’s Compact Tower (CT-L), Flexible Automation (FA-L) and Load-Assist (LA).

New tower & warehouse systems

MOVit TAS is a single or double tower storage system that can be integrated with up to two laser cutting machines. This tower system offers 16 different configurations available for 3015, 4020 and 6020 laser machine formats.

MOVit WAS offers a custom number of towers beginning at a minimum of three towers, in single or double row configurations. Each pallet has a capacity of three or five tons and a stack height of 90 mm. Multiple laser cutting machines can be connected to the system using integrated load/unload devices. Output stations can be added to WAS to deliver cut sheets to a sorting area or sorted parts to other machines such as press brakes. WAS is available for 3015 and 4020 laser machine formats.

Both TAS and WAS offer the option for unloading directly on the machine/s. Cut sheets are unloaded on a third table where parts can be sorted and made available for additional processing.

The automation systems feature highly customisable configurations. They are designed to keep material flow continuous, production uninterrupted, and sheets and parts organised efficiently. The standard TAS and WAS configurations allow for full lights-out production as finished sheets are returned to available storage.

 

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Fibre Lasers: Making Their Mark

Fibre Lasers: Making their Mark

As fibre laser technology continues to advance and as the installation base of systems grows across the globe, there is more on the horizon as manufacturers continue to strengthen its capabilities. Article by LVD.

Machine gantry plays a role in high cutting dynamics.

In the past 10 years, fibre lasers have made a significant impact on the sheet metal fabrication industry. Today, the fibre laser is the most sought-after solid-state laser and is where most laser development work is happening. In global industrial revenues for 2019, sales of fibre lasers far surpassed those of CO2, disc, diode and other lasers. Fibre laser revenues (51 percent) represented about half the total industrial laser revenues in 2019 (Industrial Laser Solutions, January 2020)

No doubt, fibre laser technology has experienced widespread acceptance in the sheet metal cutting sector and a number of factors have powered its growth. Initially best suited for cutting thin sheet metal at high speeds, today the scope and capability of fibre lasers is so much more. 

More power and control

Features like an automatic nozzle changer adds to the efficiency of fibre lasers.

High-powered fibre lasers—6-, 8-, 10-kW—have changed the playing field. While high-powered lasers have existed for more than a decade, it is only within the last four years that laser head technology has caught up, allowing manufacturers to expand the scope of materials and thicknesses that can be cut. As a result, a fibre laser cutting machine with 10-kW source can cut 6 mm mild steel at 12,000 mm/min. Even more impressive is the increase in speed when cutting stainless steel and aluminium.

Advancements in cutting head design have made it possible to change the spot size of the laser giving greater flexibility and optimised cutting speeds over a wider variety of material thicknesses. Modern fibre lasers use a variable beam collimator or “zoom focus” cutting head, which allows the focal point to be expanded when cutting thicker materials and decreased for cutting thinner materials. In this way the density of energy, cutting speeds and piercing times are optimised for each material thickness. A significant challenge when cutting thick mild steel is to create a fast and stable piercing process. The machine-controlled focus adjustment (zoom focus) optimises the piercing process by enhancing piercing stability and quality.

High cutting dynamics

Modern cutting head.

With the use of higher power sources and zoom focus technology, cutting speeds have increased dramatically. A fibre laser can achieve up to 5G acceleration. But leveraging more power and high cutting dynamics is only possible in a machine designed for the job. Basically, if the machine can’t maintain the exact position of the tip of the cutting head at maximum speed and acceleration, the cutting process must be slowed down for parts to keep their desired shape. 

The machine frame plays a key role in keeping the cutting head in position at maximum speeds and so is critical to a fibre laser’s cutting dynamics. An extremely rigid frame can ‘contain’ the inertia of the high-speed movement of the cutting head and gantry making it possible to take advantage of higher levels of power. In a machine without such a solid structure, the frame is not able to ‘contain’ the deflection of the frame, which can cause problems with accuracy and shorten machine life. 

The machine gantry which holds the cutting head carriage should also be a rigid construction to prevent flexing. 

A fibre laser cutting machine that combines both an extremely rigid frame and gantry can maintain high acceleration even while cutting.

Improved efficiencies

Reduced maintenance and operating costs are attractive features of fibre laser technology. The wall-plug efficiency (WPE) of the laser source, which is the ratio of power into the source versus power out at the head for cutting, is a core part of these costs. Latest generation fibre laser sources have pushed WPE from 25 percent to over 40 percent. In comparison, the WPE for CO2 lasers is 10 percent and the WPE for disc lasers stands at approximately 25 percent.

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LVD Launches Virtual Tech Summit For Metal Fabricators

LVD Launches Virtual Tech Summit For Metal Fabricators

LVD introduces its Virtual Tech Summit webinars for metal fabricators. The Virtual Tech Summit provides a platform for LVD technology experts, sheet metalworking companies, technology users and industry professionals to connect in a live, interactive, online setting to learn about the latest technologies, share experiences, discuss trends and solutions. The first Virtual Tech Summit will launch in June 2020 for sheet metalworking companies in The Netherlands and Belgium. Virtual Tech Summits in other regions will follow shortly thereafter.

The Virtual Tech Summit is an educational event and is offered at no cost. For more information, contact LVD at [email protected].

Making a Difference: Metalworking Companies Help the World Fight COVID-19

Every day, manufacturing impacts our lives and our world economy. In these unprecedented times, in the face of a global pandemic, manufacturing is as critical as ever. Sheet metal fabricators around the world – OEMs and subcontractors, firms large and small – are using their resources, skills and manufacturing know-how to help in the fight against COVID-19.

Manufacturing companies, including our industry of sheet metalworking fabricators, are hard at work producing products so urgently needed now.  We recognise and support LVD customers who are making a difference in this effort, and we’re proud to share some of their stories.

The German-Malaysian Institute (GMI) in Selangor, Malaysia, is a hub for advanced skills training. GMI has been quick to respond to its country’s need for personal protective equipment, producing PPE face shields which it distributed to the Ministry of Health in Malaysia for front-line workers fighting the pandemic. GMI also used its ingenuity and onsite fabrication equipment to manufacture special “aerosol booths” used to disinfect hands, cutting transparent plexiglass panels on their LVD laser cutting machinery. This video highlights their work.

Also from Malaysia comes an innovative disinfection tunnel. Toyomi Engineering Sdn Bhd, a part of the MSM Group of companies, designed and produced the Disinfection V-Tunnel which is suitable for factories, schools, offices, hotels, health facilities and retail spaces. The tunnel offers head-to-toe disinfection in a contactless process. As you walk through the tunnel, a chemical-free sodium hypochlorite solution, which is safe to the skin, is administered as a disinfectant mist and ultraviolet lamps provide additional disinfection against harmful microbes. The tunnel also features an optional hand sanitizer.  Watch the video of this product at use in a supermarket.

 

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LVD Discusses Challenges And Opportunities In Thailand

LVD Discusses Challenges And Opportunities In Thailand

Joshua Tan of LVD talks about the company’s Thailand market, the challenges and opportunities they are seeing in the region, and how they are helping customers move to Industry 4.0. Article by Stephen Las Marias.

LVD Discusses Challenges And Opportunities In Thailand

Joshua Tan

Established in 1952, LVD Group is a sheet metal machinery company, producing laser cutting, punching, and bending machines, as well as software. Founded by Jacques Lefebvre, Marc Vanneste and Robert Dewulf, the family owned company is now being managed by the second generation of the three founding families. Based in Gullegem, Belgium, the company has production facilities in Belgium, United States, France, Slovakia, and China, and is active in more than 46 countries around the world.

In Thailand, LVD has been present for around 35 years now. The company currently has about 12 employees covering sales and marketing, as well as service support for customers in the region.

At the recent METALEX 2019 trade exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News spoke with Joshua Tan, general manager of LVD (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, about the company’s Thailand market, the challenges and opportunities they are seeing in the region, their latest innovations, and how they are helping customers move to Industry 4.0.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR OPERATIONS IN THAILAND.

Joshua Tan (JT): We have sold around 1,100 machines now in Thailand, for which we continue to provide service and support. Right now, Thailand is a bit flat because of certain situations such as the US-China trade war, and then the government infrastructure projects have not been really benefitting the local fabricators or local companies. Our customers are not seeing a lot of projects that are needed for them to invest in more machines.

Nevertheless, Thailand remains a huge market, and a very competitive one. Apart from the European brands, we are now also competing with a lot of Chinese manufacturers who are coming in. Although some are touch-and-go, others are being represented by a lot of different agents.

So, in terms of the competitiveness of the market, I would say it is quite challenging in Thailand. But LVD has been present here for a long time, and we will are still seeing the market on a stable growth mode.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU SEEING IN THE REGION?

JT: In terms of opportunities, the government is still putting investments in infrastructures: ports, airport expansions, highways, and others all over Thailand. With all these investments, we are seeing there’s a demand for machineries to support these kinds of projects. These are opportunities—but we hope this will not be only for a specific country or a specific contractor to benefit from; it should benefit the local players in Thailand.

Secondly, I would say automation. Even though automation in Thailand has already matured, especially in the automotive sector, it is still rather new when it comes to sheet metal machinery. There are still a lot of opportunities for us to get into the automation area—this is also in line with Industry 4.0, where customers actually want to upgrade themselves to this vision. But they don’t know where to start and what to do, so we need to actually go in and make some proposals, and offer them our solutions into Industry 4.0 machines and software. 

The third is probably in the telecommunications area. We are now moving from 4G to 5G. When it comes to telecommunications, you need towers and communications boxes—these have to be made by sheet metal machines. With this migration to 5G, I would say there’s an opportunity for the local players to get these kinds of projects, and this will help increase the production for this type of products in the market.

WHAT ABOUT CHALLENGES?

JT: We often encounter customers looking into their budget to invest. Most of the time, they probably do not understand fully what machines can do for them—they would rather look into how much they have and how much they can afford to buy.

In reality, at that kind of budget, they probably won’t get the production capacities that they really need—so they will end up spending more money than if they bought a more-expensive machine that can actually commit to the productivity or efficiency they require. So, this is more about the education of customers, how much information we can provide them, and of course, how much they are willing to invest. And it is understandable—many customers are buying cheaper machines so that they can charge lower for their parts, because it is also a competition between customers. Therefore, when it comes to initial capital investment in machines, it is a very critical decision, and critical cost calculation for them.

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LVD: Metalworking Companies Help The World Fight COVID-19

LVD: Metalworking Companies Help The World Fight COVID-19

Every day, manufacturing impacts our lives and our world economy. In these unprecedented times, in the face of a worldwide pandemic, manufacturing is as critical as ever.

Manufacturing companies, including our industry of sheet metalworking fabricators, are hard at work producing products so urgently needed now.  Here are some stories from LVD customers:

Germany: Having the capacity to produce a high volume of parts with a quick turnaround is especially important these days. Germany’s WaCo Gerätetechnik GmbH took early delivery of a new Dyna-Press electric-drive press brake so that they could ramp up production of parts for medical devices and equipment.

India: In India, where 1.3 billion residents have been on lockdown, metal fabricators are racing to produce lifesaving products for their nation’s fight against the pandemic. Jyoti CNC used their equipment and resources to design, develop, test and manufacture its new DHAMAN I ICU ventilator to treat severely sick coronavirus patients—delivering the first batch of 1,000 units to the Indian government for use in hospitals.

Indonesia: A lack of hospital supplies is a problem faced in a number of areas, including Indonesia, which has the fourth largest population in the world. Two Indonesian firms are stepping up production of beds needed for overburdened hospitals. Mega Andalan Komponen Logam and PT Matahari Leisure, both specialise in the manufacture of hospital beds and, though competitors, are aligned in this common cause.

Malaysia: The German-Malaysian Institute (GMI) in Selangor, Malaysia, is a hub for advanced skills training. GMI has been quick to respond to its country’s need for personal protective equipment, producing PPE face shields which it distributed to the Ministry of Health in Malaysia for front-line workers fighting the pandemic. GMI also used its ingenuity and onsite fabrication equipment to manufacture special “aerosol booths” used to disinfect hands, cutting transparent plexiglass panels on their LVD laser cutting machinery.

Also from Malaysia, Toyomi Engineering Sdn Bhd designed and produced the Disinfection V-Tunnel which offers head-to-toe disinfection in a contactless process. As you walk through the tunnel, a chemical-free sodium hypochlorite solution, which is safe to the skin, is administered as a disinfectant mist and ultraviolet lamps provide additional disinfection against harmful microbes.

UK: LVD customer Universal Wolf is manufacturing hospital beds for the country’s National Health Service (NHS) Nightingale Hospitals in Birmingham and Glasgow, temporary hospitals set up for the coronavirus pandemic. The Birmingham NHS Nightingale Hospital, erected inside the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), is the second of seven planned to open.

 

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Six Factors That Have Changed Bending Automation

Six Factors That Have Changed Bending Automation

In this article, Steven Lucas of LVD highlights the key factors that have changed bending automation.

Today’s bending automation software has considerable intelligence built in. Depending on the software, the operator can create and simulate 3D-designs.

The landscape has changed for robotic press brake bending. Advances in machine, software and robot technology have made bending automation more practical for a broader range of fabricators across Asia Pacific as they look for ways to optimize workflow, shorten turnaround time and lower their per-piece cost.

Just a decade ago, bending automation meant a significant investment—in the cost of the automation and in the support required to realize an efficient and consistent bending process. Six key factors have changed bending automation:

  1. Offline Programming

Today’s programming software for robotic bending is more powerful and much easier to use than the software of 10 years ago. This has resulted in simplified CAM program preparation, creating robot trajectories, machine setup and operation. Programming a robotic press brake can be handled completely offline with no need to physically teach the machine setup or bending of the first part.  In contrast, in some automated press brake operations, robot teaching required approximately one hour per bend. This eliminates considerable downtime and ensures that the throughput of the bending cell is not interrupted. The software automatically generates the robot’s movement, directing it from one bend to the next to form the part and then to offload or stack the part. The software is able to calculate a complete collision-free path – generating the robot’s trajectory through all positions.

More than programming the robot, software with CAM 3D virtual production simulation capability provides a complete walk through of the robot and press brake functions so the user can check and visually confirm the bending sequence before bending begins. Before a piece of metal is formed, the process is verified, avoiding costly mistakes and material waste.

  1. Flexible Robot Gripper

An example of a bending cell that permits both robot and manual operation for greater flexibility.

The robot gripper is a critical component of a robotic system. Gripper designs of the past did not have the flexibility to accommodate the many part geometries of bending. That meant investing in a number of different grippers to handle different part geometries and taking the time for gripper changeover, which could involve multiple changeovers per part.  New gripper designs are much more adaptable. The gripper in Figure 1 is a patent-pending universal design that fits part sizes from 30×100 mm up to 350×500 mm and handles a maximum part weight of 3 kg. This adaptive design enables the user to process a series of different geometries without having to change the gripper. It’s possible to make bends on three different sides of a part without regripping. Use of a universal gripper not only saves on investment cost but also saves costly change over times between grippers, keeping production continuous and uninterrupted.

  1. Capable Industrial Robot

The use of industrial robots worldwide is on the rise. The International Federation of Robotics estimates the supply of robots to be 521,000 units in 2020, more than doubled in just five years. While the automotive and electronics industries are the leading users of robots, the metals industry is a growing application.

Robots themselves have also improved in terms of capacity and reliability. One of the world’s leading robot manufacturers offers more than 100 industrial robots with a payload from 3 kg up to 2.3 tons and maximum reaches up to 4.7 m.

  1. Fast “Art to Part”

This universal gripper (patent-pending design) makes it possible to bend on three different sides of a part without regripping.

Another advance in robotic bending is a faster design to part process. The press brake bending cell in Figure 3 takes 10 min for CAM generation of the bending and robot program, and 10 min for set-up and first part generation—a total of 20 min from “art” to “part.” That’s a result of the tight integration between the press brake and robot, and easy to use, intuitive software.

  1. Better Process Control

Real-time in-process angle measurement technology adds advanced process consistency to robotic press brake bending. An angle monitoring system can adapt the punch position to ensure precise, consistent bending. In the system pictured,

digital information is transmitted in real time to the CNC control unit, which

processes it and immediately adjusts the position of the punch to achieve the

correct angle. The bending process is not interrupted and no production time is lost. This technology allows the machine to adapt to material variations, including sheet thickness, strain hardening and grain direction, automatically compensating for any changes.

  1. More Affordability

In the past, fabricators have tended to “over automate.” Despite advances in function and flexibility, a robotic bending cell still represents a sizable investment. In order to generate a healthy ROI, it’s important to ensure that the ratio of the cost of the automation is not more than twice the cost of the stand-alone machine. Getting this ratio right keeps the direct cost of the part at a sensible level—the direct part cost is not “loaded”—and the user does not need large volumes to make the process cost-effective.

Also, worth considering is the versatility of the system. A bending cell that has the flexibility to operate in stand-alone mode when batch sizes are too small to benefit from robot automation will be more productive and profitable and, therefore, easier to justify. In this scenario, the user can operate the robotic bending cell lights-out overnight or after-hours and during normal business hours, can choose to work in either mode (with the robot or with the robot parked). In the bending cell shown (Figures 5 and 6), programming is handled with 3D bending software so that the same program can be used for bending with the robot or for manual bending.

 

Is Bending Automation Right for You?

What jobs are best for a robot? Surprisingly, it’s a fairly broad range of applications, including high-volume repeat jobs, low-volume jobs that are reoccurring, and jobs that are heavy duty. The flexibility of today’s bending automation technology makes it possible to run a variety of bending jobs profitably.

New bending automation products, such as LVD’s Dyna-Cell, eliminate the need to teach the robot, which greatly simplifies robotic bending. Current bending cell designs are also much more affordable than past models, both in the cost of the press brake and robot and the cost of operation and maintenance of the cell.

In the Asia Pacific region, as manufacturers are encouraged to adopt automation and Industry 4.0 initiatives through government loans and grants, bending automation offers fabricators a way to address issues such as shortage of labour, higher cost of wages and quality control. If you think bending automation may be your solution, it’s best to consult with your equipment supplier.

 

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LVD Discusses Punching Technology Advancements

LVD Discusses Punching Technology Advancements

Unlike other sheet metal fabricating technologies that have advanced significantly in recent years, punching is a relatively mature technology. In this interview, Joshua Tan of LVD (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd talks about where the advancements are happening in this industry.

Established in 1952, LVD Group is a global supplier of sheet metal fabrication equipment and software. The family-owned company—named after its founding fathers Jacques Lefebvre, Marc Vanneste and Robert Dewulf—gained recognition as a precision press brake manufacturer. Significant growth in the 1990s, which included the acquisition of U.S. based Strippit Inc. in 1998, and the addition of laser cutting technology to its portfolio, helped position LVD as a global leader in laser, punching and bending technology. Based in Gullegem, Belgium, the company has production facilities in Belgium, United States, France, Slovakia, and China, and is active in more than 46 countries around the world.

In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), Joshua Tan, general manager of LVD (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, talks about the challenges in punching technologies, and how LVD is helping customers improve their processes.

WHAT ARE YOUR COMPANY’S KEY COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES?

Joshua Tan (JT): Our competitive advantages come in the way of innovation, products, and agility. Year over year, we invest in R&D projects handled independently, and also in partnership with KU Leuven University. Our commitment to R&D ensures that our products and technology are leading-edge, addressing the needs of our customers and helping shape the industry we serve. As a result, LVD is a technology leader. We offer one of the most comprehensive product portfolios on the market. We are also recognized globally for our leadership in the bending field and for award-winning products like our Synchro-Form press brake. As a family-owned business, we operate independently and are able to set our strategic direction. This is fundamental to our corporate culture and future. Our strategy emphasizes in-house design and development of new metal forming equipment and processes: laser, punching, bending, and integration; and also to provide customers with integrated sheet metalworking solutions based on a three-tiered price-performance balanced product line structure.

WHAT SORT OF CHALLENGES DO YOUR CUSTOMERS USUALLY EXPERIENCE?

JT: We are in an age of small batches, complex parts and tight margins, fuelled by the use of 3D CAD systems. Fab shops are forced to turn around jobs in days or hours as opposed to weeks. As a result, fabricators are driven to increase production efficiency in order to stay competitive. From a punching perspective, more fabricators are forming in the punch press, whether it’s to add value to a part or to eliminate secondary processing. Forming operations range from countersinks, tabs, and knockouts, to louvers and even continuous embosses. The right punching equipment can help eliminate secondary operations by completing multiple processes, including complex, three-dimensional parts, on a single machine.

WHERE DOES LVD COME IN? HOW ARE YOU HELPING YOUR CUSTOMERS ADDRESS THEIR MANUFACTURING ISSUES?

JT: Finding the right technology for the application is key. We guide our customers to the solution that best fits their need. The modern CNC punch press provides a high cost-per-part efficiency and productivity when it comes to batch runs and producing 3D or formed parts. But, as with any other technology, it’s critical to make the right choice. With today’s single-head, hydraulic and servo-electric-drive turret punch press offerings, fabricators need to choose wisely to make the best investment for their business. The advantage that LVD has is two-fold: we offer the broadest array of punching technologies available—single-head and turret style, hydraulic and servo-electric-drive machines. This gives us the objectivity to properly evaluate a fabricator’s requirements and match their needs to the right type of punch press; and, we have a legacy of punching innovation. Our Strippit brand of punching equipment is acknowledged as market leader, having introduced a number of industry firsts, such as the first fully guided, self-stripping, self-contained tools and the numerically controlled single-station punch press.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LATEST TECHNOLOGIES OR INNOVATIONS IN PUNCHING TECHNOLOGY?

JT: Unlike other sheet metal fabricating technologies that have advanced significantly in recent years, such as fibre laser, punching is a relatively mature technology. Advancements have come in the form of more flexible punching equipment—machines able to handle a broader range of applications primarily through tooling and software advancements and through the addition of automation. Case in point, we’ve recently introduced our Extended Tool Magazine (ETM) for the Strippit PX punch press. This external magazine houses 40 additional punch/die combinations in a wheel configuration for easy access. The ETM can be loaded/unloaded while the machine is punching. It also includes tool life monitoring by recording the number of hits for each tool. This feature allows the operator to monitor when it is time to sharpen the tool. Also new to our punching line is our Strippit E servo-electric press drive machine, which delivers more precise control of ram positioning, with the capability of handling a larger range of operations, high reliability and energy efficiency. This type of punch press is especially attractive for companies with high electricity usage needs (operating many machines), for those with a maximum amperage limit, or in countries where electricity is at a premium.

WHAT MAKES YOUR PUNCHING TECHNOLOGIES UNIQUE COMPARED TO THE REST IN THE MARKET?

JT: With a punching legacy that dates back to the 1928, our Strippit brand has led the industry in punching technology advancements. We patented the industry’s first fully guided self-stripping, self-contained tooling that changed the industry, as well as the first NC turret punch press, the process of contour nibbling and auto-indexing, and the industry’s first punch/laser combination machine in 1978. Because of this innovation history, our punching products include features like a high-efficiency ram that provides full tonnage throughout the complete stroke, indexable multi-tool, Energy Reduction System that reduces average power consumption, and programmable, relocatable clamps that automate clamp movement, to name a few.

With our acquisition of Pullmax in 2010, we became the only worldwide punch press builder that offers a complete range of punching technology—electric-drive, hydraulic, single-head punching equipment. This allows us to be fully objective when discussing a punch press solution with a fabricator. Because we offer all technologies, we can truly find the best solution for the application.

WHAT NEW TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS HAVE YOU SEEN EMERGING OVER THE PAST YEAR OR TWO?

JT: We’ve seen interest in electric-drive equipment, in automation, and in reducing the direct cost per part through value-added processes like forming and tapping. In response, we’ve introduced products to address application requirements.

Our electric drive punching machines use 20% to 40% less energy than their hydraulic counterparts. The variable charges are 20% lower than hydraulic systems. Noise is also reduced and is about 15% less than hydraulic punch presses. In addition, accuracy in forming is enhanced. The use of a planetary gearbox technology and direct drive to the ball screw makes the electro-mechanical system the counterforce of punching cycle more reliable and robust. This punch press has only 19 major components, and features shoulder bearing to absorb all forces.

WHAT CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU SEEING?

JT: In Southeast Asia, there is a demand for punch press equipment of high quality, flexibility and with unique features. Fabricators want a workhorse of a punching machine with the added flexibility of forming. In this region, a single-head punch press has a competitive advantage over a turret punching machine. The challenge comes in making the investment for this technology—shops don’t always have the margins to justify the investment. That’s why we work with fabricators to help them balance equipment price and performance and realize the true cost of ownership.

WHAT FORCES DO YOU SEE DRIVING THE INDUSTRY?

JT: In the Southeast Asian market, the sheet metal industry is primarily driven by infrastructure projects initiated by local government as well as some private companies. This region is still developing, so there is a continued demand for construction needed to build the area’s infrastructure.

WHICH INDUSTRY SEGMENTS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA ARE YOU SEEING STRONG GROWTH IN 2020?

JT: For ASEAN, we anticipate growth in the telecommunication-related market segment as companies will be upgrading from 4G to 5G technology. This will, in turn, contribute to all related industries, including those companies manufacturing enclosures, rack systems, cable trunking, etc. In addition, we see the oil and gas market making a comeback given the Brent crude oil pricing is gaining positive momentum. The automotive market should also experience growth, but it may not be strongly positioned due to a weaker market segment.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CUSTOMERS WHEN IT COMES TO CHOOSING THE PUNCHING TECHNOLOGIES FOR THEIR APPLICATIONS?

JT: For fabricators looking to punching technology, we say look outside of the box. Wheel tools, forming tools, and bending tools are more exact and precise with the monitoring equipment that’s now offered. Today’s punching machines can do so much more—they can tap, bend, down form, up form, coin—this versatility can help expand a fabricator’s business. It’s also important to recognize that the choice of punch press is as individual as the application. Now, with more machine designs on the market and greater capabilities across a range of punching machines, it’s important to take a closer look at what each punching technology offers and consider the system that can deliver the best all-around solution for the requirements. It may not be as clear-cut a choice as you think.

 

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