Home > Maxitec Technology Drives Australia’s First Unmanned Sheetmetal Fabrication

Maxitec Technology Drives Australia’s First Unmanned Sheetmetal Fabrication

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article image Finn-Power Night Train FMS

Maxitec  is the distributor of the Finn-Power Night Train FMS ‘lights out’ system in Australia and New Zealand.  

Often recognised as being the most likely Australian fabricator to invest in groundbreaking new technologies, Shamic Sheetmetal (Aust) Pty Ltd in Victoria has made a Stage One implementation of the Finn-Power Night Train FMS system.  

This manufacturer of wood and gas log fire heaters as well as general sheetmetal products acquired the technology and receives ongoing technical support from Maxitec Pty Ltd.  

Night train FMS is driven by powerful software and allows sheetmetal fabrication plants to run shifts that are practically unmanned.  

The system is completely automated from the point of taking a blank from a pallet to emerging as a finished component at the other end of the production system.  

So complete is the level of software-driven automation that a night shift can be run without any active personnel present.  

Although WorkCover authorities would recommend one person to oversee any ‘lights-out’ scenario, pre-set parameters on Night Train FMS system can oversee the shift through all manufacturing processes with high-tech safety barriers in place.  

Managing director of Shamic Sheetmetal (Aust) Pty Ltd, Mr Eric Woodgate says the implementation of this totally automated materials handling system ensures the company can meet its goal of expanding its markets.  

"We have long-standing success manufacturing heating appliances in a country where it is a major challenge to succeed with 100% domestic manufacturing," said Mr Woodgate.  

"But now with Night Train FMS system, not only do we have a highly efficient materials handling system we can also work unmanned overnight shifts with complete cost transparency. With these new assets we look to diversify the business and provide services that contract manufacturing to any company using sheetmetal, building kiosks, cabinets or any parts and components.  

“Night Train FMS system can work all night without being supervised and it consolidates fabrication onto fewer, high-performance machines.  

“We cut sheetmetal up to 6mm thick and eventually we want all product fabricated on just two Finn-Power machines – LP6 Laser Punch and our Shear Genius 6.  

“This investment has opened up an avenue to work around the clock without overtime. It makes sure we keep all our current staffing jobs, allows us to up skill them and gives us a night shift, which returns extremely good profit.  

“I believe this is the only way the Australian fabricators can remain competitive against low-cost labour economies in Asia.  

“For very high volumes, night train FMS is a must.”  

Finn-Power’s Night Train FMS offers practically unlimited possibilities for flexible, automated manufacturing of sheetmetal components. Its capacity for unattended operation means lower operating cost per hour and shorter pay-back period compared with one or two shift operations.  

Being modular, the Night Train FMS can be expanded or modified for meeting changing requirements. This applies to storage capacity as well as the number and type of integrated cells.  

Night Train FMS allows automatic order based small batch manufacturing, with a variety of materials used simultaneously and with maximum economy of material consumption achieved through use of different blank sheet sizes.  

The benefits of serial and single piece manufacturing are combined in a single flexible system solution.  

The versatility of the material handling solution is proven by the following three functions of Night Train FMS:

  • Raw sheet storage
  • Buffer storage between a series of fabrication processes
  • Skeleton handling system, including even a possibility of sorting according to material type

Finn-Power’s FMS control solution is essentially non-centralised, with independent operation of separate functions.  

The new PowerPlan software is used for production planning as well as for programming punching, shearing and laser cutting operations.  

The main task of an FMS control is data management of raw materials and components within the manufacturing system. Cassette-specific raw material data are stored, and the control automatically selects the appropriate cassette on receiving an order from the cells.

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