18/02/14 - Advanced Robotic Technology (ART) introduces the Metaltek XB1200 10-axis structural steel fabrication cutting system designed to cut production times, material handling and manual labour.Tight budgets are driving customers of structural steel fabrication shops into becoming more cost-conscious, requiring these shops to look for ways to trim costs by leveraging the latest technology and lean manufacturing concepts. Reduced cost of labour and material handling through automation combined with increased output will take the productivity of fabrication shops to higher levels. ART Director David White explains the Metaltek XB series 10-axis structural steel fabrication system was developed to address the need for fully automated structural steel processing in one machine. Features such as full material handling, automated functions and simple operation were included to eliminate as much manual labour and double handling as possible while increasing productivity and profits.4-sided plasma processingWith a footprint of 3750 x 3600 mm, Metaltek XB offers full 4-sided plasma processing for the steel fabrication industry, and advanced CNC robotics, high-definition plasma cutting and in-house developed user-friendly software and control interface. Moreover, 3-axis material handling conveyor systems and cross-transfer conveyors for loading and unloading eliminate a large percentage of lifting, flipping and moving of steel members between machines. Suitable for hot and cold rolled structural steel profiles, including RHS, SHS, UB, UC, PFC, TFC, EA and UA, with maximum beam cross sections of 1260 x 600 mm, the machine cuts all copes, mitres, square cuts, slots and holes automatically. Full bevel weld preps can be applied to all surfaces including underneath. Plasma etch marking is also a standard feature for part numbers, welding instructions or alignment marks. ART’s ProfileShop V4 touchscreen controller combines ease of use with advanced features to automate all cutting settings, resulting in optimum cut quality. The advanced CNC reads industry standard DSTV and DXF drawing files, supporting software packages such as Tekla, StruCAD and AutoCAD. Laser-like cuts at high speedsART uses HyPerformance technology by Hypertherm, which, combined with ART’s machine motion control systems and software, takes plasma cutting to a whole new level. Hypertherm’s True Hole technology uses a specific combination of cutting parameters optimised for steel applications, with the end result showing up to 50% improvement in the shape of the hole with taper and dings virtually eliminated on holes with an equal diameter to thickness ratio. The Metaltek XB1200 features a Hypertherm HPR260XD plasma power system, which gives precision at unprecedented speed, while extending consumable life beyond competing plasma systems. Automatic surface tracking along with the ART 3D motion controller ensures accurate pierce and cut heights. The bevel torch head can achieve up to +/-50° on all faces, while ART recommends a maximum cutting bevel of 45°.Automation saves time and moneyART’s Metaltek XB features a CNC-controlled 3-axis in-feed and out-feed roller conveyor system, an integrated automatic hitch-feed mechanism, as well as CNC cross-transfer drag conveyors for loading and unloading. The drawbridge is able to extend 2.5 metres into the cutting envelope to support the material, clamp and draw for hitch feeding, and roll out the finished part. The drawbridge feed and synchronised rollers are both servo controlled to ensure highly-precise material feeding. The CNC controller can also automatically feed the next piece of material from the cross-feeds onto the in-feed roller conveyor for automatic cutting.