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Gi Li Steel Enhances Capabilities With Definition Plasma System

Gi Li Steel Enhances Capabilities with Definition Plasma System

In a search for a better solution to improve its production processes, Gi Li Steel found a cutting system that proves to be the answers to the company’s strict requirements. A case study by Hypertherm.

BODYTechnological advancement is changing the manufacturing industry, bringing along challenges that businesses need to overcome. Maximising productivity while improving cost efficiency is key for businesses seeking to thrive in today’s business environment. In fact, some companies take it one step further by looking into retaining its competitive edge for the long-term by looking into solutions that offers automation on top of productivity and profitability. One such company is Gi Li Steel, which prides itself on the conscious effort it takes to enhance its production capabilities and to serve its customers better.

Based in Sanchong City, Taiwan, Gi Li Steel was established in 1978 and has more than 40 years of experience in manufacturing parts for machinery and welding products. The company’s solid reputation in the steel processing industry is attributed to its core value, ‘Quality first, Credit first, Customer first’ and the way it is constantly looking to improve their products and services.

Finding the Perfect Solution to Elevate Product Quality

In the past, oxyfuel cutting technology and other plasma systems were used to cut metal sheets. Due to the limitations of these cutting processes, the production team had to carry out several follow-up procedures to inspect and refine the products in order to meet Gi Li Steel’s stringent quality requirements. This resulted in additional costs and time required for production.

True to the company’s core values, Gi Li Steel embarked on a search for a better solution to improve its production processes, enhance the quality of its products, and retain the trust of its customers. After an extensive search, Hypertherm’s XPR300 plasma cutting system proved to be the answer to the company’s requirements.

Chen Chien Yu, Factory Manager at Gi Li Steel, explained, “Once we had a better understanding of the functionalities of Hypertherm’s XPR300, we realised the XPR300 is the perfect solution to address Gi Li Steel’s current and future business needs. Not only will it help our company to improve the quality of our products, it will also provide us with the boost we need to overcome our competition.”

Featuring the latest X-Definition plasma technology which improves the cutting system’s ability to tackle high-precision applications, the XPR300 surpasses the expectations of modern plasma cutting systems to produce high-quality cuts in the most cost-efficient manner on a myriad of metal types and thicknesses. These advanced features of the XPR300 system addressed the company’s requirements of a cutting solution that could handle a variety of plate thickness at a dimensional tolerance of 1mm and angularity tolerance of 0.5mm. Additionally, the system boasts of the True Hole technology that provides Gi Li Steel with the ability to easily fabricate small round holes with good cross-section quality.

Reaping the Benefits of X-Definition Technology

With the new XPR300 plasma cutting system, the company can now automate production processes which translates to an increase in its capacity by almost twice and a 50 percent reduction in production time on various tasks.

The adoption of the XPR300 allowed Gi Li Steel to save on materials and consumables, as well as improve on cut quality and precision. In addition, it also allowed the company to undertake projects in new areas, such as construction and landscape engineering, further expanding its business portfolio.

The improved features offer augmented consumable life, and reduces production times and wastage in materials — allowing the company to achieve significant cost-savings. As such, Gi Li Steel was able to differentiate itself from its competitors while saving internal costs.

Mr. Chen concludes, “We look forward to satisfying our customers with more consistent and quality products. And we’ll definitely recommend the X-Definition plasma cutting systems to others looking for a cutting solution that provides improved cut quality, cut speed, and system run time.”

 

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Moving Towards A Smart Machinery Eco-System

Moving Towards A Smart Machinery Eco-System

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Wagner Turri, Sales Leader Southeast Asia & Taiwan at Hypertherm, regarding current trends in the metal cutting industry.

  1. Could you provide us with an overview of the trends that are shaping industrial cutting in the metalworking industry?

Initial industrial trends could foresee more challenging times for the regional metalworking industry, in which competitiveness will be driven by customer’s needs and prompt feedback for opportunities and improvements. In this scenario, industrial automation and digitalisation will be the key drivers of change, and it would be more demanding in Asia Pacific due to the future economic growth and competitive landscape. It will push the metalworking industry to new arenas, where product quality is considered a ‘standard’ feature and customers’ requests are influenced by positive experiences in their interaction with these products, services, or solutions.

In this full perspective, industrial automation and digitalisation will help the metalworking industry understand and improve the performance of any equipment throughout its life cycle. This includes production effectiveness leverage based on new sets of equipment and technologies—which can provide real-time feedback on performance and propose necessary adjustments.

Over the last few years, we have seen a growing number of solutions that encourage the introduction of automation and digitalisation to the metalworking industry. Technologies that are related to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are enabling companies to build up smarter job shops, and allowing the industry to establish a smart machinery eco-system.

  1. What are the latest technologies developed by Hypertherm to keep up with these trends?

Automation and digitalisation embedded on the IIoT platform have given manufacturers enhanced equipment and process capabilities, while staff aim to improve production effectiveness with additional cost management. In the last three years, Hypertherm has been addressing these industrial demands and trends with the development of a new set of plasma source and controllers, and by improving on-time operations support to customers. Our new solution — the X-Definition plasma source and NC industrial controller—provides real-time feedback on performance to job shops via a WiFi connection. This WiFi connectivity enables metalworking job shops to connect to these machines with a single device (e.g. smart phone or computer) to collect data on machine performance and maintenance. In addition, our new set of NC industrial controllers can receive cutting nesting jobs through WiFi. Furthermore, Hypertherm employs the most advanced communication protocol (i.e. EtherCAT) to provide faster information flow when our products are integrated with an automated solution, such as a NC plasma machine, for straight or bevel cutting, or a plasma robotic arm for 3D cutting or pipe cutting.

These continual technological advances elevated Hypertherm’s plasma cutting capabilities. Furthermore, our wide range of solutions for automation and portability include new sets of our robotic cutting tools and applications, delivered by our new rotary sleeve mechanical solution and the introduction of our off-line robotic software. It is relevant to highlight that all these new technologies rely on plasma source architecture. In this way, Hypertherm offers unmatched cut quality and precision (up to ISO 9013 Range 2) through our latest X-Definition class plasma system. This solution offers users reduced operation costs with its new electronic feature that extends consumable life, avoiding premature damage or misuse. With its new process technologies that deliver high cutting performance at optimal costs, the X-Definition plasma system is a stellar example of how we are able to address the changes ahead for manufacturers.

  1. What are some challenges faced by this industry?

The traditional metalworking industry is in the throes of digital transformation, which is accelerated by exponentially growing technologies on a smarter machinery eco-system. These new eco-systems are covered by offerings or needs such as smarter robots, predictive analytics, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, predictive maintenance feedback, and collaborative manufacturing. These companies and their industrial processes must adapt to this rapid consolidation that has been happening the last few years. The industry needs to unleash new possibilities offered by the IIoT platform. This usage will transform operations and processes into new ways of conducting business, such that it becomes more scalable, profitable, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly.

The rising expectations and demand for better customer experience is also another challenge that the metal cutting industry must face. More and more, product quality is becoming a given, or a ‘standard’ feature. Customers’ expectations are shifting and they are beginning to value the experience delivered over their project life cycle.  Soon enough, this will become a crucial priority and businesses will redirect their focus from merely selling products and services to creating an exceptional overall customer experience.

  1. How can they be overcome?

To achieve their growth targets in a more complex and competitive environment, the metalworking industry will increasingly see the need to prioritise their capital expenditures, to spend on technology that will enable their businesses to be more agile — by increasing productivity, speed, responsiveness, and connectivity.

These capital expenditures must be followed-up with a compelling analysis of operational expenditures, which needs to bring operational costs reduction to justify investments on automation and digitalisation. In this perspective, Hypertherm is totally aligned to metalworking industry trends. We are a company focused on helping our customers reduce operating costs with additional cutting performance improvements. That way, they can enhance their profitability and business sustainability. Our continued investment in research and development is part of our mission to bring more breakthrough technologies to the market, so that we will keep delivering with new launches in coming years.

  1. Moving forward, what do you think is the outlook of the metal cutting industry in the next five to 10 years?

Automation and digitalisation will definitely still play a big part in bringing the metal cutting industry to new heights. An increasing number of manufacturers will develop, adopt, and implement technologies in their industrial processes, where their equipment can effectively interact in a collaborative and smart eco-system. Customers will see more usage of software solutions in order to keep their hardware in a high-performance state. To achieve growth, manufacturers need to become digitally savvy and develop new, successful innovations in the ever-changing landscape of the metal cutting industry.

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Hypertherm Introduces XPR Rotational Torch Sleeves For Bevel And Robotic Cutting Applications

Hypertherm Introduces XPR Rotational Torch Sleeves For Bevel and Robotic Cutting Applications

Hypertherm, a U.S. based manufacturer of industrial cutting systems and software, is introducing three new torch sleeves for XPR plasma cutting torches and lead sets. The sleeves allow the torch and lead sets to remain axially fixed while the torch holding device rotates 360 degrees in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. This capability greatly enhances torch lead life in high-flex applications.

The new sleeves—available in short, medium, and extended lengths—are ideal for bevel or 3D/robotic cutting applications when using either an XPR170 or XPR300 X-Definition Plasma system. The sleeves include several engineering advances. An outside diameter of 76 mm (3”), allows for an increased wall thickness and eliminates compression caused by clamping. Pre-sealed, high precision bearings reduce axial play by 90 percent and radial play by 81 percent. This keeps out dirt and other particulates associated with plasma cutting and greatly extends the life of the sleeve and lead system.

When used with Hypertherm’s specialised robotic/bevel lead sets, the rotational sleeve will afford customers an especially robust industrial solution in applications requiring frequent rotational flexing when cutting with an XPR170 and XPR300, the only two X-Definition capable systems in the world. A combination of engineering advances and refined high definition plasma processes help X-Definition class plasma deliver unmatched plasma cut quality on mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. Laboratory testing shows ISO-9013 Range 2 cut quality on thin mild steel and extended ISO Range 3 cuts on thicker metals.

Both X-Definition systems contain patent-pending processes like Vented Water Injection (VWI), plasma dampening, and Cool Nozzle technologies for squarer cut edges, markedly less angularity, and excellent surface finish on non-ferrous metals like aluminum and stainless steel. At the same time, the systems cut faster and use power more efficiently than earlier Hypertherm systems like the HyPerformance HPR260XD.

“Hypertherm is constantly working to advance the capability of our products by devoting extensive resources to research and development. By listening and incorporating feedback from our partners and customers, we are able to deliver products like our X-Definition Plasma and these new torch sleeves that help customers increase the efficiency of their cutting operation,” said Phil Parker, product manager for Hypertherm’s heavy industrial plasma products.

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Insights On Why Plasma Is A Potential Viable Alternative To Laser Technologies

Insights On Why Plasma Is A Potential Viable Alternative To Laser Technologies

Laser is renowned for delivering excellent fine feature and hole cutting thanks to its narrow kerf – roughly 0.2 mm to 0.4 mm (008″–.015″) on mild steel with oxygen and even narrower when using nitrogen to cut mild steel up to 25 mm (1″) in thickness. Fibre laser also produces excellent cut angularity and can cut to very tight tolerances, in the range of 0.007″ (0.2 mm).

HYPERTHERM’S invention of high definition class cutting, along with continued advances in torch and consumable technology and the introduction of XD technology in 2008 are responsible for markedly improving the cut capabilities of plasma over the past two decades. And now a new class of plasma cutting, called X-Definition, is further enhancing plasma’s ability to tackle high precision applications. When installed on a high quality cutting machine and equipped with linear ways and elliptical racks, Hypertherm’s new XPR300 plasma system, featuring X-Definition cutting, is capable of maintaining ISO 9013 Class 1 and 2 tolerances and ISO 9013 Range 2 and 3 cut quality.

Furthermore, an XPR300 plasma system can deliver an edge surface finish that is generally smoother than fibre laser in the thicker ranges and has extremely consistent edge quality over the full life of a consumable set.

As plasma kerfs can range from 1.5 mm (0.05″) thickness on very thin metal and up to about 5 mm (0.225″) on 25 mm (1″) thick material at 300 amps, a laser system can actually be the best option if extremely fine feature cutting or small holes (with a less than 1:1 thickness to diameter ratio) are required. But, if high quality perimeter cuts are called for, and tolerances in the range of 0.020″ are acceptable, the higher cut speeds associated with plasma, especially when cutting material thicker than 10 mm (3/8″), could make plasma a better option. At this thickness, for example, a 170-amp plasma X-Definition process would deliver high quality cuts at speeds two times faster than a 4kW fibre laser using oxygen.

In addition, Hypertherm’s invention of the True Hole process for mild steel in 2008 and further refined with the launch of the XPR300 provides users with the ability to easily fabricate bolt ready holes down to a diameter-to-thickness ratio of 1:1.

Another application which may favour plasma is bevel cutting. Especially with the advent of True Bevel technology, it has become much more feasible to cost-effectively bevel cut right on the cutting machine and eliminate secondary operations. And, because cutting bevel angles increases the effective thickness of the plate being cut, plasma can have a significant advantage.

In addition, it is important to consider the initial investment cost associated with an X-Definition plasma system as compared to laser. A complete XPR300 plasma system mounted on a high quality cutting machine and capable of cutting 25 mm (1″) at speeds of more than 1,900 mm/min (75 ipm) would likely cost somewhere between US$175,000 and US$225,000. A comparable laser system can easily cost three to four times more depending on the power level.

Beyond this, plasma is a much more forgiving process when it comes to cutting so called “dirty” steel such as plate with oxidation and other imperfections. It really makes no difference to the plasma arc. This is not true, however, with fibre laser. Lastly, while plasma does require personal safety devices for noise and glare protection, fibre laser systems require the construction of a safety enclosure around the entire system to protect from the potential harm of the fibre laser beam.

Article contributed by Hypertherm.

Increasing Speed And Productivity With The X-Definition Plasma Cutting System

Increasing Speed And Productivity With The X-Definition Plasma Cutting System

If you have not looked at plasma in the past few years, you should. Manufacturers have made huge strides in terms of cut quality, cut speed, operating cost, and ease of use leading to better productivity and profitability. Contributed by Hypertherm

Due to the high speed and precision cuts combined with low cost, plasma cutting sees widespread use, and is often used in fabrication shops, automotive repair and restoration, and industrial construction. With the capability to work faster and more precisely than older machinery, it is easy to see why the popularity of plasma cutting is on the rise, and why machine shops are opting for plasma cutters instead of traditional CNC milling and turning machines.

Another advantage of CNC plasma cutting is that it can be used for a wide range of metals of varying thicknesses. The cutter can be used for cutting both ferrous as well as non-ferrous metals. Whether a metal is 3 inches (7.6 cm) thick or it is of gauge thickness, plasma systems can cut through them effectively and effortlessly.

Smooth Surface Edges

When looking for cutting systems, machine shops need a cutting system which produces smooth surface edges. One example is the X-Definition plasma cutting system by Hypertherm which is capable of cutting material thicker than 10 mm, and it produces parts with edges that are smoother than fibre laser cut parts.

In addition to smoother cut edges, when the plasma cutting system is used on a high-quality cutting machine, is capable of ISO 9013 Class 1 and 2 tolerances and ISO 9013 Range 2 and 3 cut quality for tolerances of around 0.5 mm.

Additionally, there isn’t a need for needing a separate marking system. Plasma systems have become much more adept at marking workpieces with bend marks, hole locations, or part numbers. Users can even mark with the same consumables used to cut. By varying the torch speed and current level, shallow and deep marks can be alternated.

Cut Speeds That Beat Laser Cutting Systems

At 170 amps, the X-Definition plasma system can cut 10 mm material two times faster than a 4 kW fibre laser. Increase the amperage and material thickness and this gap gets even wider.

The system is also capable of cutting mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium, brass, copper and additionally, it easily cuts rusty or “dirty” metal, of which fibre laser cutting systems could have issues with. The system mounted on a high-quality cutting machine is capable of cutting 25 mm at speeds of more than 1,900 mm/min.

Bolt Ready Holes

Hole quality is one of the most frequently discussed topics in regards to CNC plasma cutting. When it comes to hole cutting, plasma systems has always had two big issues. It has always created a severe taper in which the bottom of the hole was much smaller than the top.

In addition, plasma systems leave notches inside the hole that has been cut called a ding or divot. Both issues arise when dropping a bolt through a plasma cut hole becomes impossible. However, these issues can be rectified with “True Hole” technology for mild steel which produces significantly better hole quality than what has been previously possible, for use in conjunction with Hypertherm’s auto gas plasma systems. The technology allows today’s plasma to cut bolt-ready holes with 1:1 and 2:1 diameter‑to‑thickness ratios.

Smart Features

With the X-Definition plasma system, machine shops are able to rely on its Wi-Fi capability, which enables connectivity to desktops, tablets, or smartphones for convenient system monitoring, process set up, and multiple system tracking.

Sensors in the power supply deliver refined diagnostic codes and significantly enhanced system information to reduce troubleshooting time and provide proactive data to improve overall optimisation.

Moreover, better integration between the software and plasma makes the days of trial and error during bevel set-up a thing of the past. Plasma systems now do all the work, allowing users to both cut and make the most common bevel types right from the plasma table.

Improve Profitability With Plasma

A common thread in the technological advancement of plasma cutting since its invention is the continuous reduction in the cost per metre (or foot) of metal cut. This phenomenon is greatly accelerated with X-Definition plasma thanks to a combination of faster cut speeds, longer consumable life, improved cut quality, and greater cutting consistency.

Due to the great precision and efficiency that can be achieved by using plasma cutting, it is little wonder that it has become popular and is being widely used in the manufacturing sectors.

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