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Fabrication overnight without staff

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Round the clock operation for manufacturers in the sheet metal working industry has become as affordable for SMEs as it is for multinationals due to modular technology developed by machine and software developer, Finn-Power.  

The company’s Night Train FMS integrates various Finn-Power cells of right angle shears, laser cutters, turret punch/presses and bending units to form a seamless system able to carry out a full shift overnight – and virtually unmanned.  

Hence, sheetmetal working companies can operate with full staff on a day shift, which would set up materials before leaving and programme the Night Train FMS to operate automatically and effectively keep the production line working around the clock without spiralling wage bills.  

The cells can load, scrap, remove, sort and stack, while the overall system can load and stack sheets, look after component stack buffering, provide cell to cell transfer, and remove bent components.  

Mr Andrew Bentrup, sales and marketing manager of Australian distributor of Night Train FMS, Maxitec Sheetmetal Technologies, says the technology is helping turn even the most modest of sheet metal working enterprises into fully blown, high-output manufacturers capable of maintaining sophisticated markets both in Australia and abroad.  

“The concept is simple: all floor staff is safe from redundancy as the system is programmed and operated by them during a regular day shift when Night Train FMS performs much of the manual handling and excludes people from this activity, which is more likely to injure them.  

“When the day’s work is over, the integrated system will have been programmed to perform overnight the many the duties which otherwise wouldn’t need human involvement and would merely be slowing productivity in that time slot.  

“Basically, the systems allows a high level of efficiency in work stage management, it provides sophisticated programming and control systems, the versatility of modern machine tools, flexible automation, and can be customised to suit specific requirements.”  

Night Train FMS can comprise any number of the following Finn-Power components in any combination/s, according to individual requirements:  

Shear Genius

The integrated punching/shearing cell integrates flexible manufacturing of sheet metal components, and some Night Train configurations are operating with five Shear Genius cells handling sheet sizes up to 3000mm x 1500mm.  

Shear Brilliance

This integrated solution for shearing operates on linear motors and can therefore achieve an extremely high positioning speed. X traverse is an immense 6400mm to allow punching, forming, tapping, bar coding and shearing to be performed on a single machine and without re-clamping. The system can house up to 200 tools simultaneously through its Multi-Tools 30 station turret.  


Combining high performance hydraulic punching with up to 2.5kW integrated laser cutting, LP6 can handle sheet size maximums of 3000mm x 1500mm and has options including integrated upforming and tapping for increased versatility.  


This servo electric multi-function performance centre provides 20kN punching, a six-station tapping unit, versatile forming and a bending capacity in a single, compact machine tool. The unit is integrated with a laser cutting machine (Rofin-Sinar’s Triagon or Rofin-Sinar DC025)) to provide a multi purpose cell with cutting efficiency up to 2.5kW.  


This 3.5kW flying optics laser has a linear motor drive for cutting head positioning. Maximum positioning speed is 300m/min simultaneously, and acceleration exceeds 2G. FINN_POWER FPL has a working area of 3000mm on the X axis, 1500mm Y axis, and 100mm on the Z axis.  

FPB (FINN-POWER press brake)

This press brake line is now available with Delem controls and requires only a standard industrial robot to integrate with the fully automated Night Train system. With a 6-axis back gauge construction can perform precision sheet metal bending round the clock. Increases have been made to the approaching speed of the ram as well as the speed of the back gauges.  

Using programmable safety logic, FPB has flat component dimensions up to 1250mm x 2500mm. Models are available for 50 tonnes to 160 tonnes and working lengths from 2550mm to 4100mm. Maximum sheet weight is 65kg, so even cases requiring two operators would be solved.  

Automated bending cell EB

Normally instituted at the final work stage in a Night Train FMS system, the EB is a suitable alternative to the common press brake cell especially when handling large panels. Maximum bending length is 1,650mm-3250mm and maximum material thickness is 3mm.  

“Moving onto an integrated machine solution such as Night Train FMS represents a major step for any Australian sheet metal working company, so to ensure optimum performance not only does our company provide extensive local support, Finn-Power engineers can monitor an installation by live video of internet link up as an extra level of support,” said Mr Bentrup.

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