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Lean manufacturing in sheetmetal fabrication

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IN today's competitive market, manufacturers are looking for fabricating systems that can yield high productivity and flexibility with low operation and maintenance costs.

Strippit/LVD being a leading manufacturer of fabrication machinery, integrates the latest manufacturing principles to its facilities. Strippit/LVD also applies these principles when designing machinery.

The most recent manufacturing principle to be applied is 'Lean Manufacturing'. Lean Manufacturing encompasses the reduction of operator input, raw material stocks, set-up times, manual operations and costs while increasing production.

In Australia several manufactures have applied these principles in selecting machinery but surprisingly the larger the company doesn't always equate to the larger the automation.

Pierlite is a leading manufacturer of domestic and industrial light fittings and currently runs factories in Sydney, Adelaide, and Wellington. In response to increase competition from local and overseas companies Pierlite needed to increase production while decreasing costs.

Like most companies of this size the instant response was to look at investing in a system with a large degree of automation. After looking into several systems Pierlite decided such a specialised machine did not suit its production.

Instead, it was decided to design operations around 'Production Cells'. These production cells meant installing several machines, which could be run simultaneously by one operator. By doing this it gave Pierlite the flexibility to run both small and large production runs with quick changeovers, decrease labour costs, while at the same time increasing production.

For its machinery Pierlite decided to purchase three Global 20 1215 turret punch presses and three PPEB press brakes from Strippit/LVD's Australian distributor GWB Machine Tools .

The Global 20 provides some of the fastest production speeds, with hit rates of up to 510hpm on 25mm centres, while the PPEB press brakes have some of the most advanced features such as quick change tooling, high speed bending and the easy to use but powerful Cadman CNC control.

While the Cell Production concept works for Pierlite, other companies looked to different types of Lean Manufacturing, Strippit/LVD once again provides the solutions.

DVR Metal Industries is a small family run contract fabrication company in Brisbane employing about eight people. Company director Bob Viner’s business motto is 'Delivering Technology'. In keeping with this principle DVR has invested in the latest equipment from Strippit/LVD.

To help increase a competitive edge DVR has recently invested in a Global 20 1225 Turret punch press with full lights out automation, with the intention to run this system unattended during the night.

This allows the company to increase production without having to put on a second and third shift. The Global 20 will be installed with a fully automatic load/unload system and parts sorting.

The Global 20 is being complemented by a PPEB 80/25 press brake also purchased. These two machines will be installed alongside other equipment from Strippit/LVD a PPEB 135/30 press brake with laser angle measurement, an MVS guillotine and a Helius laser.

Bob Viner also realised that having the latest equipment was important but the latest software was needed to program the machines. That is why DVR is using the Cadman software from Strippit/LVD.

The Cadman software is designed around Strippit/LVD's principle of 'Art to Part' offering full integration from part drawing through to manufacture.

The Cadman software offers 3D part drawing or 3D importation. The software will automatically unfold the part to create an accurate flat pattern for punching and laser cutting.

This high level software means that only one programmer is needed to program four different types of machines simultaneously.

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