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Mauro Corno Vice President Technical Service National Product Manager Laser BLM Group


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ADVANCED MANUFACTURING NOW Keeping Time Short, Quality High in Tube Production


ube is everywhere. You may not realize how much tube is in your every day. It’s in the car you drive, the chair you sit in, the plane you fl y in, the playground struc- ture in your bac


ard, from recreation to


automotive, info structures, agriculture, aerospace— and more. With the increasing degree of automation in industry today, particularly in welding and as- sembly, extremely high tolerance and quality is required. However, in terms of tubing, customers do not always purchase high quality material, and the standard in the industry is set to accommodate material that may be bowed, twisted, rusty, oily, or with rough ends.


A key aspect of BLM’s philosophy and strategy is


overcoming those factors and producing excellent results without negatively affecting cycle time. In the last few years a revolutionary change has occurred in the management of irregularity in tubes. Thanks to technology like Active Scan, Active Focus, Active Speed, Pierce Edge Detection and more, users now have the ability to identify, manage and resolve tube quality issues in zero time. Active Scan is a measurement system that mea- sures the deformation of tube (twist and bow) along the tube’s axis. Small diameter tubes are more likely to be deformed during handling and transport, but with Active Scan such a deformation can be mea- sured in real-time and the cutting program can be automatically corrected. The user has the ability to customize the correction in order to be more forgiv- ing in some areas and to be restrictive in others. Active Piercing is particularly advantageous for oxygen cuts, specifi cally for piercing material of medium-to-high thickness. Piercing times are opti- mized with respect to that which can be obtained by reading a laser beam back-refl ection signal. This


in the car you dri e, the chair you sit in, the plane you fl y in, the playground struc- ture in your backyard, from recreation to


process not only ensures that piercing is as rapid as possible but it also prevents the possibility of having a defective piercing and possibly scrapping the part. Active Focus allows users to adjust the beam focus automatically, based on the material and thickness processed. Within the same cutting condi- tions, the technology will automatically adjust the focus with respect to radius thickness, two or three dimensional and other variables. Combining the Ac- tive Focus and Active Piercing, function times can be reduced even further allowing increased productivity. Active Speed allows independent modulation of cutting conditions in a coordinated way with one touch of a fi nger in order to adapt to whatever challenge the tube presents. With Active Speed, production is always optimized with minimal operator skills required. Accuracy and speed are two big selling points in the laser world, but accuracy and speed are not dependent on machine performance alone. They are also the result of the ability to estimate accurate production. Knowing precisely when the required numbers of bars needed for a specifi c job will be done, controlling and reducing material waste even before the material sees the machine, and accurately estimating production time are major advantages to any production facility. All this can now be done with Protube Express.


If a user has multiple machines and wants to collect information concerning current status from a single machine or multiple machines, and provide progress reports of individual orders or batches, it can be done by upgrading to Protube Enterprise. The focus on a customer’s needs is critical to


upgrading industry standards—and it is not just about part quality. The goal is to give users a degree of fl ex- ibility which empowers them to take greater control over their processes.


AdvancedManufacturing.org LF23


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