Kloeckner Metals upgrades to fiber laser and automation system to get out with the old and in with the new
Kloeckner Metals is one of the largest metals manufacturing, supply and service companies in North America with over 45 branches in the United States and 200 worldwide. They service anything from long products, flat rolled products, aluminum and stainless. The York, Pennsylvania location is one of the largest manufacturing warehouses.
The Kloeckner Pennsylvania location was running two 15-year old CO2 laser-cutting machines that were under power for 12 years. But they were ready to retire. “They were in need of some fairly costly repairs, and it didn’t make sense to repair them,” says David Schott, regional fabrication manager for Klockner Metals.
Not only does technology change, but so do customer needs. As laser-cutting technology has dramatically changed over the years, these 15-year-old laser-cutting machines did not have the cutting thickness capabilities and speed that Kloeckner required.
During the investigation process, Kloeckner looked at a couple different manufacturers but features and price point were what made Mazak stand out. The OPTIPLEX NEXUS FIBER offers great value with features normally only available on the highest-level machines such as Mazak’s intelligent functions. These features include automated setup functions, intelligent monitoring functions and intelligent cutting functions.
“Because of some of these automated cutting-related options, it creates a good cut with little operator intervention,” Schott continues, “This lets us quickly change from different material and different thicknesses. It also allows the operator to focus on keeping the machine cutting parts instead of adjusting the machine to cut efficiently.”
The new OPTIPLEX NEXUS FIBER machine cuts faster, pierces faster, it has an overall better edge quality and overall increased thickness capacity as compared to the previous laser-cutting machines. Schott explains, “It is also faster than a newer CO2 we have. The fiber also has many fewer moving parts and maintenance concerns versus a CO2.
“We also have increased our cutting capabilities over our older CO2 lasers. We are able to cut thinner-gauge material much faster and process some heavier gauges we previously could not cut on our small-format lasers.” Kloeckner has expanded their cutting capabilities to include both stainless steel and aluminum with the new Mazak laser. The OPTIPLEX NEXUS FIBER allows them to cut mild steel and stainless steel up to 1 inch thick now.
Kloeckner knew going into this next laser upgrade they wanted automation for the laser. What stood out about the Mazak EXTENSIBLE MANUFACTURING CELL (EMC) was the ability to expand with Kloeckner over time. The EMC system allows for additions of multiple laser machines and multiple towers. The automation’s modular approach allows for Kloeckner to expand over time as their laser-cutting needs change. The rugged design and construction of EMC systems deliver high material storage/transfer capacities and a long production life. They are available in a variety of 2412, 3015 and 4020 configurations.
“Because of the cutting speed improvement and material handling, we have been able to get more done with less,” said Schott.
Article published in the March issue of Modern Metals.