Conventional production-line steel processing dictates that one part is made at a time. Parts are processed sequentially and eventually become part of a larger whole. However, it has been shown that this system, being sequential, is inherently inefficient as, among other things, the production line has to cater for intermediate storage and retrieval of semi-finished goods.
The BLM Group presents a productivity enhancing solution in its 3-Runner, Smart, E-Shape and E-Form suite of machines. In South Africa, BLM equipment is distributed by First Cut, the country’s leading distributor of cutting consumables and capital equipment.
The 3-Runner straightens, forms and cuts tubes from a coil. It cuts these to parts of different lengths and feeds a Carm 7 loader linked to the Smart bending machine. The Carm 7 selects the tubes according to their length, feeding them into the Smart tube bender, notifying the bender of what type of tube it is feeding next.
The 3-Runner can be configured and used with an array of other BLM equipment to carry out either a single job or as a complete production process, being modular and customisable. It is possible to use the 3-Runner as the basis of a system and then add to it with functions such as forming and programmable unloading.
With the 3-Runner, all machine movements are managed by electric axis and all positions and parameters are saved in the part program. This guarantees fast set-up and accurate positioning while diminishing the need for highly skilled technicians to be constantly in attendance.
The Smart tube bender is capable of both right-hand and left-hand bending. Stack tooling provides multiple radius capability to bend tube, wire or hybrid tubes (with flanges or end forms). The Smart is particularly well suited for bending complicated shapes and multiple-radii tubes used in the automotive, air conditioning, heating and refrigeration industries.
Once the Smart has bent the tube, the robot loader unloads the part and feeds it to either the E-Shape or the E-Form end formers according to what type of part it needs to be. Once end-forming is complete, the loader unloads the part into a selected container.
The E-Shape and E-Form all-electric tube forming machines exert up to 10 tons force and employ a wide variety of forming tools for maximum production versatility. As the action of the machine is horizontal, there are no overhead hindrances to operation. The E-Shape can be set up for 10 processing stations (the E-Form has seven processing stations) and both can be easily equipped with ram stations, rotary tools or cutting tools. While the E-Shape performs CNC end-forming and facing, the E-Form performs the additional function of rolling. By combining these technologies, it is possible to obtain parts with repeatable end forms, finish and quality.
This enhanced efficiency has one immediate benefit in that it minimises part costs, as various operations can be overlapped. This eliminates intermediate steps and the reworking of parts. With this suite of BLM equipment, a factory can be in production 24/7. What is more, the entire process and suite of machines can be controlled from a single terminal.
The business ethos of both BLM and First Cut is very much aligned. For more than 60 years, BLM has developed advanced systems for processing tubes, special sections and bars to make production simpler, more innovative, enhancing its customers productivity, while First Cut has built its success on a base of unmatched customer service.
Note to Editors
With 63 years of industry experience, First Cut is a leading South African distributor of a range of cutting consumables and capital equipment.
Since producing its first band saw blade in 1960, First Cut has grown its offering substantially over the years and is able to meet the needs of a vast range of industries through the supply of band saw blades, circular saw blades, hacksaw blades, and other cutting consumables.
First Cut’s merger with Alexander and Poole in 2001, an exclusive agent for the Starrett range of cutting tools, was a significant milestone in the company’s history, as was its acquisition in 2002 of Band Sawing Services, which meant that the company could expand its services into capital equipment.
Since then, First Cut’s capital equipment division has grown exponentially, thanks to its partnerships with some of the best-known brands globally. The company’s capital equipment division specializes in metal cutting, sheet metal processing, structural (such as CNC bending and punching), and tube and pipe processing. First Cut has also invested substantially in its service programme enabling the company to provide repairs and maintenance services for a wide range of machines, from entry level band saws to state-of-the-art CNC-controlled drilling and cutting lines.
Employing 240 people, First Cut is based in Benrose, Gauteng but has a national footprint and distribution facilities across South Africa.
Quality is at the top of the agenda at First Cut and the company has achieved the ISO 9001:2015 certification and adheres to strict quality and safety regulations.
Kendal Hunt Communications
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