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Top 10 New Fabricating Technologies: The Final Five

Yesterday, we gave you the first five. Today, we round out that Top Ten with a Jeep made out of a single sheet of steel and a slag slaying show stopper.

Last week, IEN was in Las Vegas for Fabtech 2016, a big deal when it comes to metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing.

Yesterday, we gave you the first five. Today, we round out that Top Ten.

5. Wrapped Up in Your Favorite Jacket

The Yellow Jacket 110 pallet wrapper from Muller is pretty revolutionary. Muller has been manufacturing this tech since 2007, 10 years after a fabricator invented it specifically for the fabricating space. The semi-automatic wrapper straps down odd-shaped loads without scratching the parts.

Muller has had more than 100 installs in the industry, and the company says that it takes little more than four hours and a 110 outlet to have it up and running. It has a 77-inch travel, but can be built to custom specs and the company was debuting a patented new logo wrap, that allows you to print anything from material handling instructions to your logo on the wrap.

It only takes one person to operate, likely the person who pulls the load in with the fork truck.

4. Laser Welding: Cause it’s Faster

The skills gap. All I heard about last week was the skills gap, and a newfound excitement in the potential for greater capital investment in 2017. So, with that in mind, Miller Electric Manufacturing debuted the PerformArc laser welding systems, pre-engineered cells that combine the robotics, laser, optics and all essential accessories into one fully integrated unit. 

According to the company, laser welding is better because it’s up to 10 times faster than conventional welding processes, and has lower distortion and less consumable usage.

3. From Sheet to Jeep

Trumpf was the talk of the show, because the company showed off its TruConnect smart factory tech by offering attendees customized stainless steel Jeeps that were produced on the show floor, and man did they hit capacity quickly every day.

The entire booth was impressive, but I liked the TruBend 7036 press brake cell that was working in tandem with a robotic arm to manufacture the customized show swag.  According to the company, the cell is the world’s fastest system for automated bending of small parts and it did not disappoint in person.

2. Slag Slaying Show Stopper

Walter Surface Technologies had a bit of a coming out party at the show last week. The re-engineered Zip Wheel disc and redesigned Surfox weld cleaning systems were both a hit with attendees, but what really turned heads was the company’s E-Weld Plasma. Obviously, a big white bucket doesn’t quite have the appeal as other new tech on the list, but this stuff stands to make a huge difference for fabricators.

E-Weld coats the metal slats on laser and plasma cutting tables with a ceramic anti-spatter that prevents slag from adhering to the surface. After 14 months in development, this water-based solution is going to take a cleaning process that takes an hour with a chisel and hammer and make it a five-minute process with a broom.

1. Our BAAM is Better Than Your BAAM

Lincoln Electric had an impressive Fabtech 2016. With everything from welding training virtual reality to the new Air Vantage 600 SD that combines a generator, a hydraulic pump, an air compressor, and a welder; what I was most impressed with was the Robotic Big Area Additive Manufacturing, or fittingly, R-BAAM.

The flexible arc-based robotic metal wire additive manufacturing cell from Lincoln subsidiary, Wolf Robotics, prints in a wide variety of metals for rapid prototyping and tool making, part repair, and low volume production.

As you can see from the photos, some post processing is definitely required on the parts, but Lincoln’s BAAM, the R-BAAM, could make a big impact on the aerospace industry given it’s ability to work with titanium materials.

Keep an eye on Lincoln, particularly Wolf Robotics, which plans to make another big announcement at ConExpo in March.

This is IEN Now with David Mantey.

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