At the same time, advancements made in laser technology have led the automotive industry to adopt a more relevant position, both among OEMs and principal TIER1 companies in the sector.
At this time, we are going to focus on the typical cutting application in the automotive industry, such as the blanking procedure.
These lines consist of a decoiler which transfers the sheet from the coil to a flattener. Next, the sheet passes through feeding rollers to a press, which is typically mechanical and uses dies to cut the sheet into the desired shape. Once the blank is cut, it is automatically passed to a stacker.
These lines should normally cover a high number of shapes and materials (steel/aluminum) and, increasingly, series or circulations that must be adapted to various configurations of the same car model.
This increases the number of dies that need to be managed. In other words, plants must have a lot of space available for die storage.
There are already lines with the ability to cut blanks using laser cutting cells instead of a press and dies.
The advantages are clear:
- Lower investment
- Maintenance (print + dies versus laser head)
- In-plant lay out
The introduction of laser technology allows blanks to be cut in different geometries while also allowing contours to be modified during production using offline CAD/CAM programming systems. The use of a multi-head system has to be calculated by expert software.
This software will allow us to establish the relationship between better material utilization and the cycle time needed.
These two elements affect the process, which can be adapted to what is needed at any given time by prioritizing one element over the other, based upon what is needed at that moment. The system can calculate a point of equilibrium based upon a series of instructions that we can define at the beginning of the process, such as date of delivery.
Discussing cost, productivity, and flexibility in the management of this technology would not be possible if these processes were not controlled by the latest software. In this sense, Lantek solutions make it possible to integrate the best driver software for 2-D and 3-D cutting machines with the most up-to-date manufacturing management.
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