Fabricating Flexibility

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A Quebec mobile storage manufacturer’s investment in bending and punch/shear combo equipment pays off

Montel is recognized world-wide for its innovative mobile storage systems and an investment in fabricating equipment from Prima Power has expanded the company’s reach into even more markets.

In 2018, to meet its growing production needs, Montel management purchased a refurbished integrated punching/shearing system, the Prima Power Shear Brilliance SBe6. The addition was a complement to a new Prima Power bending centre purchased in 2014, the BCe process bending centre.

Based in Montmagny, QC, Montel was formed in 1924. The company has developed a reputation for manufacturing high quality, high density mobile storage systems designed to provide cost efficient storage solutions using less space. Today, the company has a global network of authorized Montel distributors and serves clients throughout North America, Central America, Europe and the Middle East.


Prior to becoming North America’s leading manufacturer of mobile storage systems, the company had acquired nearly 40 years of experience in the electrical industry, including extensive involvement in the construction of generating stations and power grids for world leading hydro electric plants. 

A manufacturer of products for office, institutional, museum, industrial, retail and even residential applications, Montel’s achievements include some of the most prestigious projects in North America and around the world. The product line includes mobile shelving systems, heavy duty mobile racking, static shelving and racking systems, vertical farming systems, art racks, workstations, workbenches, and cabinets.

Bending benefits
Montel has accumulated a wide array of fabrication equipment to manufacture its storage systems, including punching, bending, welding, laser cutting, roll forming, as well as systems for powder coating. In 2014, the management of Montel purchased the BCe Process Bending Centre from Prima Power.

The semi-automatic BCe is a productive solution for small batches as well as for serial manufacturing. Total manufacturing time is shortened as the loading operation is simultaneous with the unloading of the ready-bent component.

The BCe configuration consists of a basic unit (bending press and a programmable manipulator with rotator) plus loading table with a brush top, a programmable part feeder, and driven rolls in the unloading table which are the material handling modules.

Kevin Baker, technical manager for Montel, says the company purchased the BCe to obtain a bending machine that provides quick setups for medium run orders.  “We also wanted a servo-electric machine with more flexibility to make special bends. The BCe has saved us material and time in making the assemblies. It has also increased our productivity, quality and consistency.” 

Pierre Gagnon, methods and process technician, adds that “the loading and unloading features are just perfect for us. We have many parts that are last bend down, and the BCe is the best machine on the market for these kinds of bends. And it’s very ergonomic for our operators. It has dramatically reduced the number of shoulder and back injuries our employees had experienced with the conventional press brakes.”

Pierre Gagnon, methods and process technician, left, and Kevin Baker, technical manager, say their experience with Prima Power equipment has been "very positive."Baker says the BCe bending centre has performed well and he likes the flexibility it offers as it is good for high and low volume runs. 

Because of its efficiency, the bending centre has replaced two to three press brakes. On some parts, Baker says the BCe has saved the company more than 50 per cent in production costs.

“It has allowed us to be more competitive in some new markets, such as reinforced shelving. We have also improved our quality. The parts coming off the BCe are easier to assemble due to the consistent high quality of the bend.” 

Integrated fabrication
To meet the manufacturer’s growing production needs, Montel management purchased a refurbished Shear Brilliance SBe6 in 2018.

The integrated punching-shearing concept has been championed by Prima Power since 1987 and more than 2,000 integrated punching-shearing cells have been installed all over the world. Baker and Gagnon like the benefits they’ve achieved from the system. The automated flexible fabrication concept means less manual labour and high throughput. And with no skeletons and less punching scarp, Montel has realized raw material savings. The new machine offers high nesting utilization as more parts can be cut on one sheet and better quality with no nibble marks on part edges. Baker says Shear Brilliance offers fast, accurate and reliable shearing and part exit, resulting in overall better part quality. 

The new Shear Brilliance is based on the latest in composite materials, servo-electric technology and linear drives to achieve what Baker and Gagnon say is higher performance resulting in a new level of productivity in versatile, flexible fabrication.

“The SBe has replaced a CO2 laser and an older stand-alone turret punch press,” says Baker. “For a part with many holes, it is much faster than a laser. Punching is so fast on the SBe that it sounds like a machine gun. In addition, there are no skeletons, no shaker parts, and less scrap. And the loader and unloader make it much easier and ergonomic for the operator.”

Montel's investment in Prima Power fabricating equipment has helped the company to expand sales of its varied mobile storage units.The Shear Brilliance offers many benefits for fabricators, according to Prima Power, such as high positioning speed and precision. Since loading is in masked time,
it means more production time is available. It also offers a fast hit rate for full format sheets of up to 1,300 hpm.

The design of the machine means that Montel can do punching and shearing without repositioning a sheet in a 3,100 mm (122 in.)common working area. The higher force (35 ton) allows for processing of complicated contours with one hit. And high tooling capacity results in significant savings in setup times, in addition to flexibility in production.

The Prima Power bending centre is a semi-automatic solution for small batches as well as for serial manufacturing. It shortens total manufacturing time as the loading operation is simultaneous with the unloading of the ready-bent component.“The SBe’s large turret, combined with the Multi-Tools, gives us access the many punching tools,” says Gagnon. “We also have upforming available with the SBe that we will implement in the near future.”

Other benefits of modern servo-electric technology are operation economy due to low power consumption and low maintenance requirements, and excellent accuracy in all the versatile capabilities. Prima Power modularity allows the fast high precision manufacturing of components that require forming–even bending–tapping and marking in a single, flexible cell and in a fully automatic process. According to Prima Power, the integrated punching-shearing concept can result in raw material consumption savings of 10 to 20 per cent. And even more savings can be achieved using optional cut-to-length line.

“Both the SBe and the BCe have increased our efficiency and quality and helped us sell into new markets,” says Baker. “Our total experience with Prima Power has been very positive. They have been very reliable and provide a good solution to any question that may come up.  If we ever need help, Prima Power is there for us…they are all in.” SMT

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