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Laser cutting zintec sheet metal chassis VIDEO

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Laser cutting zintec sheet metal chassis

Please click on this short video to see how quick our Trumpf 3030 3kW fibre laser can laser cut through 1.2mm zintec sheet metal.
The laser cutter really does go that fast when cutting a profile and considering we do not need to deburr these parts after they have been cut it makes for a very efficient manufacturing process. There was also another gain in that these parts were laser cut using compressed air rather than nitrogen or oxygen which saved more money as well.


Fast Tube by Casper

For more information on programming, laser cutting and CNC bending these chassis components please take a look at our full blog post Laser cutting and CNC bending sheet metal work


CNC punching stainless steel with bent tabs

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

CNC punching stainless steel sheet metal work with small bends including in the CNC punch cycle with Trumpf multi-bend tooling

Here’s a clever idea. We can CNC punch out sheet metal work with small bends formed at the CNC punching stage. These components were both manufactured from stainless steel and had a variety of folded features built into them. The advantage is the speed of bending compares to even the fastest CNC bending operation and the reliability of the bends. While the CNC punch press is getting on with punching out these parts and bending them up the operator can be organising the next sheet, setting up tooling for the next job or de-burring components making the whole operation more cost effective.

If you want to know more about CNC punching sheet metal work there are plenty of pages on the website that can be of help or if you have something more specific please give us a call or e-mail a drawing.


Laser cutting and CNC bending sheet metal work

Monday, November 17th, 2014

3D Sheet metal software modelling

3D Sheet metal software modelling

When working with any complex sheet metal component we tend to start with a 3D model in our Radan CAD/CAM software system. The 3D model is created with reference to the material type, material thickness, profiles sizes, hole sizes and hole positions. Once the 3D model is complete it can be used to check hole alignment with other sheet metal parts that we may be manufacturing for our customers. At this stage it’s easy to see if there is a problem with the 3D model or our customer’s drawings and report back to them before committing to laser cutting or CNC punching any sheet metal material. We can either send the 3D model as CAD data in a *.SAT or *.STEP format. For customers who don’t have a 3D facility themselves we can offer 3D images and 2D CAD data in a *.DXF or *.DWG format. Once the model has been approved it is used to create the flat pattern needed for manufacturing.

Laser cutting part layout nest

Laser cutting part layout nest

Having created the 3D model in our Radan CAD/CAM software, unfolded it and tooled it up ready for cutting we have to obtain the best fit of the flat blanks within a standard metal sheet size. The most popular commercially available sheet sizes are 2m x 1m, 2.5m x 1.25m and 3m x 1.5m but we can always use small off cuts from other jobs of buy in special blank sizes for production jobs to reduce material waste on awkward shapes. The CAD/CAM software automatically finds the best fit taking into account the grain direction on the sheet. We can always intervene if we want to change a position of a component or can see a more efficient nest layout. Once the component layout has been completed, which normally takes just seconds, we can create a compiled file which is used to drive the actual laser cutting machine to cut the components required.

Laser cutting the chassis brackets

Laser cutting the chassis brackets

The laser cutting program that is generated from the CAD/CAM software instructs the machine setter in what material type is needed for the job, it’s thickness, the laser cutting assist gas that will be used and the nozzle size needed to produce a clean laser cut edge. The software takes most of the decisions and makes the Trumpf 3030 3KW fibre laser cutting machine set up from one job to another a simple task, often being just a matter of minutes. Once the material is loaded onto the pallet changing bed of the machine the operator can cut a component, stop the machine, check the part for size and edge cut quality and then run the production batch needed to satisfy the order. The whole laser cutting process is automatic and carried out inside the machine with the machine operator only able to view the laser cutting process through a special filter glass window.

Another advantage of using a laser cutter to produce sheet metal blanks is that there is no tool clamping zone on the sheet so the laser cutting head can cut over the whole sheet leaving very little waste material, which all adds up to more competitive piece part prices for our customers.

If at the end of a production run more sheet metal work is needed to complete an order the laser machine setter can create his own program at the machine for a small quality of parts with the need to create more full programs.


Fast Tube by Casper

Please click of the video to see our Trumpf 3030 in action laser cutting the sheet metal nest illustrated above. The video has not been speeded up this is the speed that it cuts 1.2mm zintec with compressed air.

Laser cut chassis blanks ready for bending

Laser cut chassis blanks ready for bending

The laser cut blanks are produced from 1.2mm thick zintec sheet with 20 being cut from a standard 2mx1m sheet. With the Trumpf 3030 3KW fibre laser we have the option of laser cutting using either Nitrogen, Oxygen or compressed air. The Nitrogen gas is used to produce a clean cut edge as it’s inert and prevents oxidization while the material is cut. It’s perfect for aluminium, stainless steel and mild steel along with its zinc coated derivatives. The Oxygen gas is used when thicker steels need to be cut e.g. 5mm and upwards or when parts are zinc plated and the surface oxide is removed on the plating process. Compressed air is perfect for thinner sheet metal parts out of aluminium, mild steel or stainless steel. These zintec coated mild steel components were cut with compressed air which was perfect and the cheapest option of the 3 cutting gas types.

CNC press brake set ready for bending

CNC press brake set ready for bending

Here is the tooling set up on one of our Trumpf 7036 CNC press brakes. The component is taken from flat blank to the final folded part is a series of bends across all 3 of the tools shown here. Once generated, the program to control the machine is saved away on our system server and is available for both CNC press brakes with interchangeable tooling making a flexible option when repeating batches. The CNC press brake control has a 3D graphical interface making it easy for the machine programmer to see if the component will be achievable with the tooling selected and also acts as a teaching aid to new operators when first folding a new job.

Finished sheet metal chassis brackets

Finished sheet metal chassis brackets

After 3D software modelling, developed blank part generation, part nesting, laser cutting and CNC bending we have the final parts. In this case the parts were left un-finished in a zintec coated mild steel material which was more than adequate for our customer’s needs. If you want to see more videos of our laser cutting machine working or sheet metal manufacturing in general please visit our YouTube channel.

If you have a sheet metal work project that requires laser cutting or CNC bending please give us a call on 01489 577786 or send us an e-mail with your details and we will be happy to provide some quotes for you.


Sheet metal projects in November 2014

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Stainless steel sheet metal work

Stainless steel sheet metal work

This sheet metal work project going through our factory in November 2014 is typical of the work that we are doing everyday for our customers. These parts were made in batches of 50,100 and 200 across a range of styles and sizes. These 304 bright annealed stainless steel sheet metal ventilation panels have been CNC punched out and CNC bent up all on Trumpf manufacturing equipment. The white colour is the peelable plastic protective film that we leave in place during manufacturing to help protect the cosmetic surface of the stainless steel from scratched and dirty marks while being CNC punched and bent up We are very proud of the investment that we have put into high tech equipment and the advantages it brings to our customers.

Mild steel brackets

Mild steel brackets

If you have a sheet metal work project that requires simple or complex bracket then we are the people to help you. These mild steel bracket were laser cut in house and then folded up on our Trumpf 3030 3Kw fiber laser cutter. The brackets were then folded up on our Trumpf 7036 CNC press brakes. They could have just as easily been CNC punched out on one of our Trumpf CNC punch presses and bent on our larger Edwards Pearson CNC press brakes. We like to have a range of machines for each process giving us the flexibility to swap jobs about if a customer has an urgent order of if we have a large demand for capacity on any one machine.

Zintec sheet metal covers

Zintec sheet metal covers

Sheet metal covers, boxes, lids, housings and enclosures are our everyday work. These zintec coated mild steel covers have been CNC punched and bent up in the first few days of November 2014. They will go off and be powder coated and then shipped to our customer.

If you have a sheet metal work project you want us to take a look at for you pleas simple call us or send and email with your drawings, 3D data or photograph and we will be happy to produce a quote for you or give you some tips to help reduce the cost of your design where we can.


Sheet metal work, Hampshire

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Some recent sheet metal work projects manufactured in our factory in Fareham, Hampshire

CNC punched stainless steel

Bending sheet metal with a CNC punch press

CNC punching sheet metal in Fareham, Hampshire

Here’s a great example of the flexibility that can be achieved when manufacturing sheet metal work on a CNC punch press. These stainless steel chassis panels have been CNC punched from 304 1.5mm thick sheet using standard CNC tools but with some tabs being bent up with a special tool called a multi-bend tool. We have been using this tool for many years to enable us to speed up the production of sheet metal work with small bends by producing them on the CNC punch press rather than by hand on a press brake.

Sheet metal plates

Laser cutting used to produce sheet metal plates

CNC laser cutting sheet metal in Fareham, Hampshire

These mild steel plates have been manufactured by laser cutting with our Trumpf 3030 3KW fibre laser. They could have been CNC punched out but we didn’t have a suitable tool for the end radii. With a laser cutter you don’t have to worry about having the correct tool as the laser can cut any square, slot, circle or sheet metal profile with a continual laser beam making it the perfect process for small batch work and prototypes. The speed of the laser is also more than able to process larger volumes as well with it’s automatic pallet loading system.

CNC punched stainless steel grilles

CNC punched stainless steel grilles

CNC punching sheet metal in Fareham, Hampshire

We have just started manufacturing stainless steel sheet metal ventilation grilles on our Trumpf 3000 CNC punch press here in Hampshire. The pattern of ventilation slots has been created by using 3 new custom tools and repeating a punched pattern to produce a pleasing and efficient air flow pattern. The ventilation panels come in a range of sizes and materials with the ones shown here being bright annealed stainless steel and others being manufactured from zintec and having a powder coated finish. All the bends have been completed on our Trumpf 7036 CNC press brakes with minimum tool set up time.

If you want to know more about CNC punching or CNC bending please follow these links to one of our web pages.

If you are based in Hampshire or further afield and want some prices for your sheet metal work projects or technical design advice please give us a call or e-mail your drawings and we will be happy to help you.