Field Notes: BySmart fiber laser/Xact Smart press brake
EPP Metal Inc., based in Plessisville, QC, has been cutting, bending and welding metal for more than 35 years, so it knows a thing or two about optimizing fabrication processes.
When the company decided it was time to invest in new equipment, it turned to Bystronic and purchased what Bystronic calls a “smart combination” of automated cutting and bending consisting of a BySmart 3 kW fiber laser cutting machine equipped with Bystronic’s ByTrans automatic loading/unloading system and the Xact Smart press brake.
Sylvain Piché, EPP Metal’s technical manager and a co-owner with partners Guy Coté and Karine Gouin, says the company selected Bystronic in part because of its history with the company. Before purchasing the recent equipment, the company operated two Bystronic Xpert press brakes, 180 and 320 ton models, a 100 ton Xact press brake and 4 kW fiber laser cutting machine.
“We recently purchased the 3 kW fiber laser because there is not much difference between a 4 kW and a 3 kW and with the typical thicknesses we cut, all under a quarter of an inch for stainless, aluminum and steel, it suited our needs. We purchased a second Xact press brake because we wanted to add flexibility to our bending services. With this new press brake we now have four press brakes with different tonnage for different work.”
Piché adds he and his team explored the options before selecting the Bystronic equipment, but in the end it went with Bystronic because it liked the technology and the price point.
“The machines are reliable and well built, and we like the BySoft 7 CAD CAM software because it is user friendly and we can program the press brakes from our office and transfer to the machines. We thought the machines were affordable for high quality equipment. We could have found less expensive machines, but if you select equipment based on the cheapest price you may compromise quality.”
The Bystronic BySmart Fiber 3015 laser cutting machine measures 10,900 mm in length by 6,200 mm wide by 2,600 high. The X, Y and Z cutting areas measure 3,150, 1,620 and 65 mm respectively. It offers positioning accuracy of +/- 0.1 mm and repeatability of +/- 0.05 mm. The fiber laser in EPP Metal’s shop works in conjunction with the ByTrans automated material handling system, which handles sheets measuring 3,000 x 1,500 mm with thicknesses ranging from 0.8 to 25 mm and weight up to 890 kg. The Xact Smart press brake, offered in 50 100, 160, 225 and 300 ton models, can bend products measuring 1,600 to 4,100 mm in length and has a maximum high speed of 140 mm/sec and a maximum working speed of 10 mm/sec.
Piché and his partners believe in investing for future growth and are looking at further investments down the road including purchasing more automation and adopting Industry 4.0 concepts.
“We plan to grow, but we don’t want to double in size; we want to control our growth and make sure that we balance investments while also making sure we take care of our employees. This is how my father operated the business because he believed keeping employees happy was important. The equipment we purchase is to help our employees become more efficient, but also to ensure they have a working environment where they want to stay.”
EPP Metal, formed by Piché’s father Paul, employs 47 people who work out of a 3,252 sq m (35,000 sq ft) facility. The general metal fabrication and welding shop services a diverse range of markets including agricultural, transportation and hydraulic product sectors.SMT