Why Manufacturing Is Thriving in the USA

The year of 2009 saw a resurgence of growth in the manufacturing industry after decades of decline. The industry is revitalizing itself, but not all manufacturer fields saw an equal amount of growth. Sectors that create or rely on metal bending and metalworking machinery are thriving more than others. Construction and other heavy industries are still relevant, but the biggest growth is in the automotive industry and various high-tech fields.

Manufacturing Is Thriving in the USA

Vehicles Are Still Popular

The automotive industry is perhaps the greatest beneficiary of this growth. Many were worried about the concept of “peak cars” years ago. This fear was due to the perception that Americans owned too many vehicles. Industries believed the populace had reached a saturation level where it was no longer profitable to mass produce cars as they had been before. Americans are, in fact, approaching this level, but we’re not there yet. There are also other factors at work to keep America invested in car ownership.

The reduction and stability of oil prices in recent years spurred investment into the vehicle industry. Population density is less concentrated in urban areas, too, and is spreading outwards into the suburbs and rural areas. These outward expansion trends increase travel time between points of interests and make owning a car almost mandatory. The continued demand for transportation and low prices of oil give value to purchasing a newer vehicle.

Massive Growth in the Midwest

Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan’s automotive producers are growing their workforce sizes and plummeting the local unemployment rate at the same time. Growth rates over the last decade range anywhere from 25 percent to 37 percent.

Detroit holds the record for the largest growth in sheer numbers. Its automotive workforce grew just shy of 31 percent, which is about the median of all growth rates, but it’s the sheer number of people that makes this figure impressive. The Louisville area in Kentucky, which saw the highest growth rate at 37 percent, is home to roughly 60,000 jobs. Detroit now has 240,000 from a prior 149,000.

Technology Is the Future

Silicon Valley is currently experiencing a small boom despite the high cost of living and the burst of the dot-com bubble. Traditional computer processors have a theoretical limit to the power they can provide; we’re quickly reaching that limit now. The solution to this problem directs the focus of research and development to computer companies. The challenges these companies face, concerning packing more processing power into smaller spaces, require innovative solutions.

Current research that attempts to overcome obstacles comes from cutting-edge developments in theoretical physics. Companies are hiring young and bright minds to solve these problems and many others that arise from dealing with the digital world. Technological developments from this research will play a significant role in the evolution of computers and the “internet of things.”

Aerospace and innovative companies, like Tesla, are also seeing plenty of growth with the manufacturing revival. The bulk of the growth remains in the automotive industry and others that rely on technology to manipulate metal. Quantum Machinery Group specializes in metalworking machinery that enables manufacturing industries to thrive and prosper.

Technology Is the Future

Commonly Used Industrial Metals and Their Properties

Nine Inch Nails is the first thing that pops into the minds of non-industry people when they think of industrial metal. While that band is an example of industrial metal music, it’s not the stuff that makes up buildings, appliances, and nearly everything else on which we depend.

Almost everyone knows they want a stainless-steel cooking pot, but they most likely don’t know what materials their refrigerators consist of, and that’s unfortunate. The science behind industrial metals is very interesting, especially if you’re in the industry already.

Here, we’ll discuss some of the most common metals used by metalworking machinery today.

Commonly Used Industrial Metals

Aluminum

Aluminum is a popular metal that’s also known for its light weight. It is highly resistant to corrosion and weathering, making it ideal for indoor and outdoor applications. Aluminum also boasts conductivity and is ductile enough to hammer into sheets and shape into wires.

Aluminum can be used in many ways. Weather-resistance makes it suitable for windows, doors, and other externally facing building components. Outdoor signs and street lights consist mostly of aluminum for the same reason. This metal is also a favorite in automobile parts and bicycles due to its light weight.

Copper

Copper isn’t as glamorous as other metals, but it does remain useful nonetheless. It is highly ductile and malleable, which makes it easy to shape into many different useful forms. Copper is also incredibly easy to solder, and, when used in electronics or plumbing, can create strong bonds and junctions. The orange-tinged metal is resistant to corrosion, especially from water and soil, and features overall flexibility that allows it to handle changes in temperature better than most metals.

Copper comes in soft and rigid variants, depending on its use. Soft copper tubing is present in HVAC systems, refrigeration lines, and heat pumps. Rigid copper is present in water pipes for hot and cold tap water. It’s also the main material found within plumbing pipes, tubes, and household wiring because it’s relatively cheap in comparison to most metals.

Carbon Steel

This variation of steel sees most of its use in heavy-duty applications. Carbon steel gets its name from the fact that it contains very high levels of carbon; this is what gives the metal its strength, durability, and weight. It is tougher and more durable than most other standard metals, giving it great strength, but isn’t as ductile, and, thus, doesn’t always suit small projects.

Carbon steel is the primary material used in massive immobile structures due to its heavy weight. Most applications for this metal exist. It’s what makes up the framework of highways, bridges, and tall or broad buildings, and is an ideal material for support beams and structural framework pieces. Most trailer beds for semis are also made of carbon steel.

Stainless Steel

One of the most common metals is stainless steel. This often-shiny silver metal contains a mixture of steel and at least 10 percent chromium and other alloys. The ratios and types of alloys used depend on the intended function of the object.

Industrial metals

Protecting Yourself from Flying Metal Particles

Working with metalworking machinery requires taking certain precautions to protect yourself from flying metal particles. Specific areas of the body should be protected including the hands, arms, face, and eyes, as well as other areas of the body. Before discussing various bodily risks, your work wear is just as important as personal protection equipment (PPE).

Metalworking Machinery

You should never wear loose-fitting clothes around machinery and equipment that could potentially get caught in moving parts and components and which would result in serious bodily injuries. This also includes employee identification lanyards and neck ties, as these items can swing freely and could accidentally get caught in the machine.

Metal particles of all sizes can contain sharp points and edges. When they become airborne, the amount of force can cause the particles to puncture into different parts of the body without the proper PPE.

Eye Protection

One of the most common types of workplace injuries that could occur without any protection is an injury to one or both eyes. Metal particles can puncture the outer eye as well as get trapped in between the eyelid, resulting in scratched and damaged retinas. Always make sure to wear the right type of safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes.

Face and Head Protection

There are different types of face masks, hard hats, and other PPE which can reduce the risks associated with flying metal particles.

Hand Protection

When working close to moving parts and components, you want to ensure the hands are protected from metal particles. It is important to choose the right type of work gloves that provide the right protection based upon the type of work being performed. Some gloves are not recommended because they make operating the machinery and handling materials difficult.

Metal Cutting Band Saw

Arm and Upper Body Protection

It is a good idea to wear long-sleeved shirts to protect the arms from accidentally cuts and scrapes from flying metal particles. Coveralls or shop coats would be suitable PPE alternatives to ensure the arms and upper body were sufficiently protected.

Lower Body and Legs

Thick jeans or industrial pants should provide protection from most types of flying metal particles. However, in environments where there is a large number of particles being created, coveralls should also be worn to provide an added layer of protection.

Feet

Let’s not overlook the feet because they also need protection, depending on the angle and direction the particles are being emitted from the machinery. Quite frequently, the particles are ejected downward toward the feet. Thick steel-toed work boots are recommended in many working environments as they provide the necessary protection.

Last, prior to starting work on any type of metalworking equipment or machinery, review the safety precautions and required PPE needed to operate the machine. Never, under any circumstances, enter a production or work area without the proper PPE.

For information on the latest metal fabrication and machine shop machinery and equipment, feel free to contact us, here at Quantum Machinery by calling (909) 476-8007 to speak with one of our sales engineers today!

What Should I Look for in an Angle Roll?

Angle rolls, also known as profile rolls, section rolls, or simply “rollers,” are all names used for the machines metal fabricators use to make round bends in metal profiles. These rolling machines play a very important role in metal fabrication, and knowing what to look for when selecting an angle roller is essential to the success of a given task.

Let’s take a look at how these machines work, what makes the different varieties of rollers different, and how one should select the appropriate roller for the job they have in mind.

Angle roll size

Angle Roll Overview

Angle rolls are very common machines in environments where metal profiles need to be formed to a specific radius or diameter. Angle iron, solid square, solid rectangle, round tubing, and pipe are the most common type of profiles used with this type of equipment.

Because of the wide variety of metals needing to be shaped, and the even wider variety of tasks requiring shaped metal, the fabrication market is full of different varieties of rolling machines, each with its own strengths, weaknesses, and particular uses.

One example of the differences between different angle rolls is capacity. Each rolling machine will be rated according to its strength yield. As an example, rolling machines used to shape plate metal will typically have a yield strength of between 36,000 and 38,000 pounds per square inch (PSI).

Steel mills, on the other hand, often handle metal profiles that require between 48,000 and 58,000 psi. An angle roll that works perfectly well in one environment may not meet the requirements of another.

Another difference between rolling machines is the number of rolls it has. The rolls are the round, spinning parts of the angle roll that allow it to do its job. Every angle roll comes with at least one pinching roll, which is the roll that holds the metal in place and allows it to be fed through the machine. Plate rolling machines come in one or two varieties: single-pinch and double-pinch, referring to how many pinching rolls it has.

Pressing roles, on the other hand, are the part of the machine that does the actual bending. Here there are even more varieties than with pinching roles. Examples of different types of rolling machines based on the number of pressing roles include three-roll double-pinch, four roll double-pinch, three-roll initial pinch, and more.

Angle Roll Overview

When determining which rolling machine is best suited for the task one has at hand, it is important to research what each rolling machine is designed to do, and to understand the materials that one will be working with. Manufacturers can usually provide detailed information about their machines, such as capacity and yield.

Compare the manufacturer’s information about how much force a machine can produce and what kind of metals (sheet, roll, etc.) it is designed to handle, and compare this to your site’s mill certificates or other relevant information to see which angle roll best fits your needs.

Want to find out more information about angle rolls and their uses? Contact Quantum Machinery today at 909-476-8007.

 

Why You Need to Keep Your Metalworking Machine Manuals

Most of us throw away the instruction manual when we buy a new product. Sometimes, we like the challenge of doing it ourselves; other times, we already know how the item works and don’t need to read the same book twice. This works fine for simpler things like vacuum cleaners and bookshelves, but not for more complex machinery. When it comes to advanced equipment, like press brakes and metal benders, it’s very important to keep the manuals somewhere safe and accessible for future reference.

Metalworking Machine Manuals

Specifics

Saving manuals is especially crucial for high-tech industrial equipment like machines and devices used in metalworking. In many ways, it’s just as important as saving a vehicle’s manual written by and for mechanics. There’s too many specifics that vary from car to car to keep track of in your head. If you’re doing that, then you may as well memorize an encyclopedia.

These manuals show you the specifics on how to operate the machine in question. They will include the specific numbers needed for settings, ranges, thresholds, and limitations, how to program it, and how to troubleshoot it if it breaks. It’s nearly impossible to remember and quickly recall this information on your own. This is especially true for metal bending because most bending machinery is heavily reliant on brand-specified numbers.

Diagrams

Machine manuals also contain detailed diagrams that explain the inner workings of the machine itself. Most shops just don’t have the time to reverse engineer or perform an autopsy on a machine when it breaks, especially if the shop didn’t create the machine in the first place. Having access to these diagrams solves problems so much faster.

Breakdowns and Troubleshooting

Every machine suffers from wear and tear. Eventually, the parts inside of it will break down. The parts that go into most metalworking machinery are highly specific and calculated in design, so it isn’t as easy as ordering them from Amazon. You won’t find them at your local hardware store, and you need to know the reference numbers for the manufacturer parts you’re looking for. Your machine manual contains all of this information, and much more, saving you time and reducing the headache of guessing what parts you need.

Compatibilities

Your machine manual will also tell you what type of materials your equipment can handle and to what extent it can be pushed. Metalworking requires precise calculations by its nature, so winging it and experimenting with non-compatible equipment is incredibly unsafe. Simply put: It’s safer for your entire shop to consult the manual before using equipment dangerously and causing an accident.

Show, Don’t Tell

Sometimes, it’s easier to show something than it is to describe it. This is especially true when talking to someone over the phone or writing an email where you can only use words. You can use the manual and make a scan of the specific page in the manual that you need and fax or email it the person you’re working with. This also allows you to draw or circle something on the copy without damaging the original, making it easier to communicate broken press brakes or machine failures to repair specialists from a distance.

Missing a machine manual? Need to find press brakes for sale? Quantum Machinery can help. Contact us today for all of your most important metalworking needs.

Metalworking machinery

Lance Lamberton joins the Quantum Machinery Group team!

lance-lamberton

Lance Lamberton has been in the metal fabrication equipment sales industry for nearly a decade, during that time he brought in a large number in sales and became a recognized top producer with a well-known machinery importer from Europe.

As a top producing Regional Sales Manager, Lance Lamberton worked as a leader training several junior sales staff members during his time with his previous employer. In addition, Lance Lamberton had the largest and highest producing dealer network in the United States for his previous employer. 

As a press brake and plate roll expert Mr. Lamberton has assisted in hundreds, if not thousands of projects domestically. On top of his vast domestic project experience, for many years Lance worked shoulder-to-shoulder with many factories internationally on some of the largest and most difficult jobs. Some of the machine factories around the globe that Lance has spent time in and worked with are located in Turkey, Holland, Germany, China, Taiwan, and Canada. Also working on large international machine sales projects in Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, Dubai, UAE, Guatemala and Bolivia.

In addition, to his professional achievements, Lance Lamberton is active in his community, supporting local fundraising efforts and volunteering in a private community that is important to Lance. 

At this point in Lance's career he couldn't be more excited to join the sales team at Quantum Machinery Group. He looks forward to many years of continued industry success with Quantum.  

How to Achieve a Perfect Press Brake Bend

Bending metal requires high-tech equipment and a very methodical approach. The steps are linear in nature and cannot be skipped without resulting in failure. Each step of using a press brake depends on the ones before it to achieve success. Use these steps to help you get the metal bend you’re looking for when using press brakes.

Press brake operator

Know Your Materials

Different metals have different properties that determine how they react to stress. Metals will naturally bend back closer to their original shape when force is applied to them. Some metals need to be bent more than others to achieve the same end result. Metal also stretches when bent and at different rates, depending on the material. The measurements of the bend are typically determined by the type of metal being used, its thickness, and the shape of the die it is being pressed against.

Create a Drawing

Create a drawing of your desired bend by determining the shape of the bend you want and the materials being used. You can reference drawings from previous runs, if needed, but make sure the new bend is factually correct and consistent.

Select the Bending Method

Choosing the right bending method that’s most appropriate for the bend you want is vital. Most bending methods are very similar to each other, but they do have slight differences. Be sure the details of your plans will work with the method you choose.

Calculate Tonnage

Once you know your bend, calculate the tonnage needed for the bend based on the material, the bend you want, and the bending method being used. There are tonnage charts readily available to search for if there isn’t already one nearby the equipment you’re using.

Assess Tooling Position

Assess the tooling position of your material on the bend. If you find you need more tonnage than the machines concentrated load limit, then you can still do the bend, but it will have to be off-center. Check the press machine being used to see if it allows off-center loading and the limitations it can handle. It’s possible to finish the job by using these off-center guidelines, but it’s not safe to exceed them.

Install the Right Tooling

Install the correct tooling for the job. Once you’ve made the calculations, it’s time to set up the machine itself. This is typically the most time-consuming part of the process, so it’s important to make sure your numbers and processes are accurate. Manually setting up the various parts will vary slightly from machine to machine. Ask a press brake operator or consult the manual if you aren’t sure how to properly set up the machine.

Enter Your Calculations

Input the calculations into the press brake machine. This step highly depends on the machine you are using. Older machines may require some manual programming while newer ones have many things pre-configured.

Test Your Bend

Do a test run! Make sure everything’s good to go before doing a mass production run. If something doesn’t line up, go back to the previous steps and find the problem.

Keep in mind that some parts will have imperfections when you start your mass production. This is expected, and you should do some post-run testing to make sure the products meet your standards. If you need help choosing press brakes, feel free to contact the team at Quantum Machinery today.

Press brake for sale

Tips for Choosing Welding Tables

Getting the right welding table is a significant component of having a successful shop. You don’t want a table that is difficult to use and understand, nor do you want one that’s filled with poor materials of subpar quality. Quantum Machinery Group offers welding tables that are far above the competition in durability, quality, reliability, and ease of use. Choose from options like steel saw blades, circular saws, table band saws and more to ensure that you have a table that lets you work smarter, not harder.

 

Choosing Welding Tables

Not sure where to start? We’ve put together a handy guide that will help you identify your needs and find the best solution for your shop. It’s that easy!

Why Not Build One Yourself?

Some welders think they can just build a table for themselves. While this isn’t technically impossible, and experienced welders may very well be able to accomplish the task, many others do not have the time or right state of mind to get the job done.

So much work goes into creating a sturdy welding table. You’ll need to consider high load capacity, level surface, and high resistance against stroke impact. Self-builders spend a considerable amount of time working to get the table right, and that time investment can end up being sub-par when compared with purchasing a new table outright.

Why Not Go with a Different Manufacturer?

Plenty of manufacturers are available to make welding tables, so why not go with one of them? Quantum Machinery focuses on the customer. We want to provide high-quality, professional welding tables to you so you can have premium steel options for a high workload. Other manufacturers focus on creating colorful tables that catch people’s eyes. These are fun to look at, but they may not hold as much weight or be as level as they need to be.

The Quantum Machinery Group’s Welding Table Options

All of our tables are made of premium steel. They are plasma-nitrided and coated for maximum durability and longevity. This results in a wear-free, corrosion-resistant surface that resists stroke impact or damage. We also offer a diagonal grid with bored holes for further flexibility or additional clamping options—something many other tables just don’t have. You can choose a 16mm welding table or 28mm welding table, depending on your size requirements.

Need enhanced options? Table kits may be the answer. The System 16 and System 28 welding table sets come with all of the most common accessories you need to use the table to the best of your ability. Clamps, squares, stops, and bolts—it’s all packed in when you purchase for an easy setup.

In addition, we have various kits that feature a variety of items that will make your daily job tasks much easier.

Work smarter (not harder) with a Quantum Machinery welding table. These tables have everything you need to meet your welding requirements and can handle a high capacity on your busiest workdays. Find the best table for your needs by contacting us today for a quote.

 

Quantum Machinery Group’s Welding Table Options

Technology Spotlight: Modular design meets the press brake

"Multi-frame" approach reduces the mass of high-tonnage machines

Originally published in The Fabricator in March 2017. Written by Tim Heston.

A press brake manufacturer uncovers an alternative to the conventional C-frame design. According to the company, the modular design eliminates the need for a conventional crowning system and makes machine installation easier.

The HD Greenbender has a modular design that accounts for deflection using supplementary hydraulics instead of a conventional crowning system.

The HD Greenbender has a modular design that accounts for deflection using supplementary hydraulics instead of a conventional crowning system.

It’s a big leap for a heavy or an industrial fabricator to invest in a massive press brake. It can give a shop some bragging rights, for sure, but installing such massive machines can be arduous affairs. They require foundation work (pit installation), and they aren’t the easiest to transport.

Big press brakes are big for a reason. Such monster machines exert tremendous force, so engineers add mass to the machine frame to deal with that force. The machine frame deflects, hence the need for crowning devices integrated into the brake’s lower beam.

But recently engineers at Portuguese machine tool manufacturer Adira Metal Forming Solutions S.A. developed a way to deal with such force in a different way. According to the company, the approach, designed into its HD Greenbender line, eliminates the need for pit installations by lowering the overall mass of the machine and making the design modular. And as the company explained, the machine has no need for a conventional crowning system.

Most press brakes are built using a C-frame, with two side housings and two beams, one fixed (usually the bottom beam) and one moving. The new approach uses a T-frame, not just on either side of the brake but also spaced evenly across the press brake’s width. The company calls this its “dematerialized” approach.

As Rui César, project applications manager, explained, “On a normal press brake, the bending is supported by the C-frame, which deflects upward when the cylinders are actuating. In this system, since the frame was dematerialized, we cannot use the same strategy, which could compromise structural integrity.

“Since we use different structural modules,” César continued, “we have several support points. Instead of having two lateral C-shaped frames and a central beam, we place intermediate supports. This allows us to minimize deformation. And the distance between frames, which can be critical on long machines, doesn’t present a problem.”

Adira calls this a “multi-frame” design. The space behind the tooling isn’t open. Instead, the T-frames across the machine introduce a throat depth across the bed, like a tandem or triplet machine. Still, sources emphasized that this is not a tandem or triplet system, but instead one machine with one upper and lower beam. Regardless, sources said that the T-frame allows machines to be designed with a very deep throat depth between the tooling and the pillar of the T-frame behind it (see photo).

“The modules are topographically optimized to their size and required loads,” César said. “If a different [open] height or [throat] depth is needed, the same compensation concept may be used, but it would require a new structure.” Using software, engineers can run simulations and tailor the design around a specified throat depth, as well as open height and stroke depth.

On each T-frame are two hydraulic cylinders, one in front and one at the rear of the machine. The two cylinders work in concert and, by doing so, can exert bending force while also compensating for deflection. This, sources said, eliminates the need for a conventional crowning system.

“The rear hydraulic actuator applies an upward force, hence compensating for the normal deflection of the structure,” César said.

“When the main cylinder exerts force, the rear cylinder compensates for deflection and keeps the system balanced. There is also dynamic control between the two [cylinders], using electronic control with sensors.”

Each T-frame is part of a module that includes a hydraulic cylinder in the front and (as shown in blue) in the back.

Each T-frame is part of a module that includes a hydraulic cylinder in the front and (as shown in blue) in the back.

Last year the company introduced a 750-ton prototype, with each of the machine’s three cylinders applying 250 tons of forming force. “The total force will be proportional to the number of modules that you use,” said Filipe Coutinho, product development engineer.

“We can go up to 500 tons with each frame,” César said. Each T-frame is part of a module, and if a machine uses six modules, each exerting 500 tons, the machine would have a total tonnage of 3,000 tons. César added that the limitations would involve the dimensions and weight for transport.

Regardless, they said that the approach may open up the potential for heavy forming to more fabrication facilities, with smaller, manageable modules arriving on-site and then assembled together into a machine that, ultimately, can bend seriously thick plate.

Signs You Need to Sharpen Your Blade

Band saw blades don’t stay sharp forever. After a while, the sharpness dulls, and the table band saw or other equipment you use no longer works as well as it once did. The best way to ward off poor performance or injuries is to keep your tools sharpened. In this short guide, we’ll teach you how to recognize the signs of a dull band saw blade so you can fix issues before they become a problem.

 

Sharpen Your Blade

Material Gets Chipped

Is your material chipping when you use your blade? That’s a sign that your blade may be dull. Pieces chip off and become jagged, leaving an uneven cut and unsightly marks behind. When this happens, you need to be sure your blade is on track and get it sharpened immediately. Letting it continue to make chips will only wear out the blade completely, forcing you to purchase a replacement. Worse yet, you could even be struck or cut by a piece of material.

Excessively Loud Saw Noises

A saw with a sharpened and working blade handles its job much more quietly. Louder machine noises translate into evidence that your machine requires more work to handle the cuts. The amperage increases, and the loud buzz of the machine catches your ear. Listen to your machine to determine if it’s working right or in need of a tune-up.

The Blade Has Rounded Edges or Chipped Teeth

Saw blades have sharp edges without any chips. Each of the teeth is uniform in shape. When your blade looks like this, you know it is in good working order. As soon as you notice one tooth with a rounded edge or a chip, you know the blade is becoming dull and unusable. Check your saw blade over carefully each time you use it. Examine the teeth closely to determine if it is in proper working condition or if you need to sharpen it instead.

Burn Marks Appear on the Material

When the blade has to work overtime to make its cuts, it can overheat and burn the material. Burn marks that appear on your material indicate a dull blade that needs to get re-centered and re-sharpened. Never continue with your cuts if you notice these marks. It is important that you stop what you are doing immediately and make the necessary changes so no further damage is done.

Before you sharpen any blade, be sure to clean it first. Getting rid of the dust and grime could help make your steel saw sharper than ever. Look for these signs before each use, and after you clean, to see if the blade needs any maintenance. Need assistance with a machine or blade? Contact Quantum Machinery Group today for a one-on-one consultation.

 

Band saw blade

Should You Buy a Hydraulic, Hybrid, or All-Electric Press Brake?

Press brake machines have made remarkable advances due to changes in technologies over the past decade. If your current machine is more than a decade old—which is understandable, given the sturdiness of most models—and you are in the market for a new machine, you need to determine which type of modern machine will work best for your machine shop or metal fabrication business.

Press Brake

Heavy-Duty Hydraulic Press Brakes

The hydraulic machines you might be the most familiar with offer a variety of new features and energy-saving options. Modern machines are built using energy-saving timers and more advanced pump mechanisms. Modern hydraulic models are well-suited for shops that work with a wide range of metric tons for producing both small and large parts.

In addition, they are better for businesses that tend to work mostly with manufacturing bigger parts requiring over 250 metric tons of power. The only drawback is in cases where the machine does not have energy-saving features because that means the machine is always on, even when it is not being used.

All-Electric Press Brakes

With all-electric models, the key difference is they do not use hydraulics to bend the metal but, rather, rely upon electric motors that drive the bending mechanisms. The motors only turn on during bending processes and automatically shut off whenever the machine is not being used. Some of the advantages of all-electric machines include:

•    Improved Accuracy
•    Faster Output Speeds
•    Electricity Savings

However, one of the drawbacks of electric-only machines is they require about twice the amount of electricity to create the same amount of metric tons as a hydraulic machine. Another disadvantage is they can only handle smaller parts and can only generate up to 80 metric tons of bending power.

 

CNC Press Brake

Hybrid Press Brakes

Hybrids can offer the best of both hydraulic and all-electric models. Hybrids do not have gear pumps, like hydraulic models, but do use hydraulics to assist with bending processes. Rather, a servo-drive system is used to direct the flow of hydraulic fluid into the machine’s cylinders.
Just like all-electric machines, they shut off whenever they are not performing bending functions, to help save electricity and energy. Hybrids are perfectly suited for shops that create parts requiring up to 250 metric tons bending power.

Which Press Brake Machine Is Best?

It really comes down to what types of parts you are creating and the number of metric tons you need to generate to manufacture those parts. If you specialize in small parts, then an all-electric model could be perfect for your business needs. On the other hand, if you work with a more diverse range of parts that require greater metric tons to create, then either a hydraulic or hybrid would be the better choice.

For assistance in determining which type of press brake machine is the best choice for your shop, call the experts at Quantum Machinery Group by phoning (909) 476-8007 today!

 

Differences Between 2 Roll, 3 Roll, 4 Roll and Geometry Plate Benders

Choosing the right roll plate bender for your machine shop or metal fabrication business requires understanding the differences between each one, and their unique characteristics, uses, and advantages. It is important to understand what types of output each machine is able to create, along with what finishing processes you need to perform manually.

2 Roll Plate Benders

A 2 roll plate bender is capable of creating cylinder shapes, semi-circles, and other basic curved shapes. Machines consist of two rollers between which the sheet metal is passed, and then the force of the rolling causes the metal to bend into the desired circular shape. Some models do provide the ability to create flanges, but they do not support cones or other detailed geometric shapes.

Plate Benders

3 Roll Plate Benders

3 roll plate benders can perform the same functions as 2 roll bending machines. The key difference is that, with 3 roll bending, you have greater control over the desired output shape. The most common ones support single-pinch bending functions, which require inserting the sheet metal twice to pre-bend both ends. However, there are also double-pinch models available to make pre-bending processes on both ends easier, faster, and more precise.

4 Roll Plate Benders

The biggest benefit a 4 roll plate bender has over 2 roll and 3 roll bending machines is it makes bending processes easier and simpler. These machines are fully capable of performing the same functions as a 2 or 3 roll machines. Some models also can perform similar functions as a press brake. Furthermore, 4 roll benders make it possible to create rectangular and square-shaped output by carefully bending the metal in specific areas as it passes through the machine.

 

4 Roll Plate Benders

Geometry Plate Benders

This type of plate bender provides flexibility by allowing the operator to work with a wider array of metal thicknesses and achieve more precise results. Geometry plate benders are also capable of creating a variety of geometric shapes, like cones, and can be used to create 2 roll and 3 roll bending output.  

Which Bending Machine Is the Best?

One of the key decision-making factors you should consider is not only what type of plate bender will meet your current needs, but which could also satisfy future business needs. For instance, if you currently need a machine that can crank out large volumes of cylinder shaped materials, all four types of benders can perform this task.

If this is the only type of output you create, then a 2 roll bending machine could easily satisfy your shop’s needs. On the other hand, if you also are considering expanding your operation to offer a greater variety of shapes or are looking to increase the precision of the output, then a 3, 4, or geometry bender might be the better choice.

For assistance in selecting the best plate roll bending machine for your business, please feel free to contact Quantum Machinery Group at (909) 476-8007 to speak with a representative today!

Ferrous Cold Saws vs. Non-Ferrous Cold Saws

Machinery

In the world of metal fabrication, one of the most convenient pieces of equipment is a cold saw—a circular saw that doesn’t create any heat, sparks, or dust. When sheet metal needs to be cut quickly and at a high rate of production, cold saws are especially valuable for their safety and ease of handling.

Cold saws can be made from a variety of metals, some ferrous and some non-ferrous. In this post, we’ll explore the differences between the two types of blades and what kinds of materials are best used with each type.

What’s the Difference?

Non ferrous cold saws

The terms “ferrous” and “non-ferrous” refer to the iron content in the saw blade. A ferrous saw is one that contains iron, while a non-ferrous saw does not contain iron.

Commonly-used ferrous materials include metals like carbon steel, alloy steel, and (of course) cast or wrought iron. Because of the iron content, ferrous metals are generally vulnerable to rust, with the exception of wrought iron and stainless steel.

Common non-ferrous metals include aluminum, lead, zinc, tin, gold, silver, and copper. Because there is no iron in non-ferrous metals, they are particularly resistant to rust and often used for outdoor objects like signs, gutters, roofing, etc. They are also non-magnetic as a result of their lack of iron, which makes them valuable for various electrical/electronic uses.

Ferrous vs. Non-Ferrous Cold Saws: Uses and Benefits

 

Ferrous cold saws

When it comes to the use of the cold saw, the primary difference between the two blade types is the kinds of metal it can cut. Ferrous cold saws are capable of cutting both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, while non-ferrous saws can only cut non-ferrous metals. Because non-ferrous metal is softer than ferrous metal, non-ferrous blades are typically used for soft metal applications like cutting aluminum.

The benefit of both types of cold saws, of course, is that the cutting can be done without transferring heat energy into the metal, allowing for safer, easier handling. Plus, cold saws don’t create dangerous sparks or a metal burr. Cold saws also create less discoloration on the metal itself. If the saw uses a flood coolant system to cool and lubricate the blade teeth, it may even prevent discoloration entirely.

Get High-Quality Metalworking Equipment from Quantum Machinery Group
With over 150 years of combined experience and more than 760 models of machinery available, Quantum Machinery Group is your source for top-quality metalworking equipment at great prices. Whether you’re looking for a cold saw, band saw, roll bender, or another machine, our expert staff can help you find exactly what you need to get the job done right.

As a leading supplier of metalworking equipment in the United States, Quantum Machinery Group is ready to help your business take its production to the next level. To learn more about our machinery models and convenient financing options, call one of our sales engineers today at (909) 476-8007.

 

Increase Work Efficiency in Your Company with These Master Tips

Does your company perform like a well-oiled machine? If the answer is occasionally no, you may have changes to make. Work efficiency is a must in the manufacturing industry; each lost second is equivalent to lost money, and each weak link will reduce the efficiency of your overall chain.

From pipe bender machines to the employees who monitor them, every single facet of your machine line matters. These six tips will provide you with the guidance you need to make your manufacturing processes shine.

Automated Plasma Cutting System

Continuously Review and Retrain How Employees Work

Mandatory training is one of the most beneficial ways to hone your processes, at least when it comes to manpower on the floor. As most manufacturing jobs can be a bit monotonous, it’s easy for workers to start taking shortcuts or forget simple efficiency and safety protocols. They develop their own methods, some of which may or may not be as efficient as your detailed processes.

To be clear, this isn’t necessarily out of laziness; it’s just natural human nature to give processes your own unique “spin.” Everyone works best in their own way. You should strive to balance the need for time-tested efficient processes while still encouraging creativity and ideas from your employees.

Occasional training serves a double-sided role in that it encourages employees to review what you already know works while also sharing their ideas for evolution with you. If you evaluate and find that an employee-specified approach works better, you can work on adjusting your processes to become safer and more efficient based on this new information.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

If you’re still relying on 20-year-old machinery to help run your floor, you aren’t doing yourself a favor. Older methods were advanced, for their time, but have long since been made obsolete. Some may even be dangerous, especially if and when they’re used by poorly trained employees.

Be sure that you constantly evaluate your equipment and identify where upgrades are possible. Computer-guided die cutters, for example, will provide a much more efficient cutting process than laser cutters guided manually by a human hand.

Likewise, today’s computer assembly robots offer greater precision and speed than their predecessors. If you skip upgrades to save money, you could potentially be costing yourself efficiency in the long run.

Evaluate Your Floor Layout

When was the last time you had a birds-eye view of your floor layout? Are your lines set up in a way that makes the most sense, encouraging work to flow from point A to B in a fluid, efficient manner? If not, it may be time to re-evaluate.

Using an overhead view of your floor plan, look for weak points that shave a couple of seconds off of your efficiency here and there. Potential issues could be as simple as machinery locked behind closed doors unnecessarily or as complex as having the right machines located close to one another rather than at opposite ends of the floor.

Even the location of your washrooms can impact efficiency; the further away they are, the longer employees will take to make it back to the floor each time. There’s plenty of room to enact safe practices when using machines like lasers or band saws while still ensuring that floor staff can use them efficiently.

Reach out to Quantum Machinery Group today for more information about the tips mentioned in this blog or to discuss your needs for upgraded manufacturing equipment to eliminate bottlenecks and boost productivity in your facility.

Increase-Work-Efficiency

The Future of Manufacturing in the U.S.A

The manufacturing industry in the United States is growing by leaps and bounds. As technology changes and allows us to produce items more rapidly, so, too, does the manufacturing industry itself. Comparing today’s industry to the industry of the 1950s demonstrates this clearly; more often than ever, we’re relying on machines like laser cutters and cold saws to help us work with difficult materials.

Although the industry continues to struggle slightly in the face of an uncertain economy, there is hope on the horizon. The future of manufacturing in the U.S.A. is bright; discover why, right here.

 

Manufacturing-in-the-U.S.A

A Burgeoning Automotive Industry

Walk through downtown Detroit, and you’ll see the post-bankruptcy effects of a lost automotive industry. The loss of Detroit’s beloved vehicle manufacturing plants hit hard; in fact, it was almost the death of the city altogether.

However, America’s automotive industry is staging a comeback, and it looks like Detroit could very well become part of that comeback, too. Automotive manufacturing lines aren’t decelerating like they were 10 years ago; instead, they’re growing and expanding significantly.

More Manufacturers Staying on Home Soil

Recent assertions by political influencers like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have driven home the impacts of companies outsourcing manufacturing jobs to places like China and Mexico. The vast majority of manufacturing companies do this because labor and materials are both far more affordable outside of the country, but a current movement to keep work on home soil via tariffs could change that.

If the POTUS moves forward with his plan, it may become more affordable to open factories here in the United States rather than overseas. This is likely to influence the American manufacturing market significantly, reducing competition for the local market and spurring on job creation, too.

Incentivized Exports

The POTUS and other influencers want to keep manufacturing jobs here on home soil, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be encouraged and incentivized to work in tandem with other countries.

On the contrary; some people suggest the implementation of a certificate system that would incentivize and encourage exports to other countries. These certificates would effectively come in denominations equal to the value of the export.

Importers would need to purchase these certificates, evening out the trade deficits and creating an environment where the U.S. manufacturing industry is competitive. It would effectively give plants the power to offer lower-cost (and therefore more competitive) products to places like the United Kingdom, Canada, South America, Malaysia, and China.

More Technology in Manufacturing Plants

Despite the fact that more manufacturing will likely occur on home soil, plants are likely to rely on technology more than ever. Cold lasers, pipe benders, and even robotic assembly are all becoming more common, reducing costs in the process and eliminating the need for multiple staff members in the process.

Don’t assume you can rely on machines entirely; nothing could be further from the truth. You’ll still need to hire monitoring and management staff to oversee operations, but the type of employees you hire will shift from blue collar to tech savvy.

For more information about the wide array of innovations in the U.S. manufacturing space, reach out to the team at Quantum Machinery Group today.

manufacturing-industry

Safety Tips for Working with Heavy Machinery

Working with heavy machinery is incredibly rewarding, but it does require a healthy dose of safety and caution. Large machines increase the risk of serious injury when safety measures are ignored. Most workers understand basic machine safety tips like “don’t drink and operate heavy machinery,” but it is often far too easy to overlook other more subtle guidelines.

Whether you’re using a band saw or a forklift, we want to help you reduce the risk of accidents with the following important safety tips.

Safety-Tips-for-Worker

Always Inspect Your Equipment

When was the last time your equipment was fully and properly inspected? For most manufacturing hubs, the answer should be within the last few days. Some machinery may even require daily monitoring for efficiency and safety issues. You should train your workers to briefly inspect any equipment they use for issues prior to beginning their shift; follow this up with a daily, weekly, or monthly full inspection by an experienced repair or maintenance specialist.

Maintain Machines Properly

This tip falls under the previous tip, at least to some degree, but takes the concept just a bit further. Proper maintenance (whether oiling, replacing bearings, or even replacing old equipment completely) is crucial for overall worksite safety. Schedule in maintenance tasks and have at least one person in management oversee them. If they aren’t getting completed in a timely manner, find out why; it takes just one broken blade or bearing to cause a serious or fatal injury on the floor.

Watch for Blind Spots

Whether you’re using a large saw or a forklift, every piece of machinery requires you to work from a certain angle and position. This increases the chance of blind spots that can block your view and increase the danger. Before using machinery, determine where your blind spots are and do your best to keep them in mind at all times.

Have Communication Rules in Place

Nearly as important as proper maintenance is the need to communicate effectively when handling machines. If your floor is excessively loud, consider granting machine operators hands-free CB radios or smartphones for communication. Enact protocols for communication that support everyone knowing where everyone else is on the floor at all times.

For example, if someone is driving a forklift loaded with pallets, everyone around them should know that the forklift is active and driving around the floor. Safety lights, signs, and announcements can all assist you in achieving this goal.

Safety-Equipment-Mandatory

Make Safety Equipment Mandatory

Last, but most certainly not least, is the need to make safety equipment mandatory. Depending on where you operate, this may not just be an optional tip, it could be mandatory, too. Items like protective goggles when using cold laser equipment or hard hats in fall zones keep your employees safe and reduce the incidence of accidents. Slacking off and letting your staff leave their safety equipment off could put their lives at risk.

If an accident happens and the courts can prove you neglected to enforce safety equipment rules, you could even be held responsible for compensation, too. Don’t take this risk; post rules clearly around the floor and enforce them whenever you see slips.

At Quantum Machinery Group, safety is always on our minds. For more information on enacting safety protocols, or to learn how we stress safety on our manufacturing lines, feel free to reach out to us today.

Main Characteristics of Sheetmetal That You Need to Understand

When you hear the word “sheetmetal,” you likely picture the type of metal used to make heating and AC ducts. That is a very common use of sheetmetal, but there are many other types of sheetmetal that fabricators may use in a variety of different applications. Whether there will be section bending or welding to create specific functionality, choosing the right type of sheetmetal is important.

Manufacturing Plant

Sheetmetal Is Steel

While there are times when sheetmetal is very thin and flexible, it is not an aluminum product; sheetmetal is made from steel. This steel is unpredictable and has a great deal of variability, depending on the yield, impurities, and perfections.

The label A36, for example, has a yield strength of more than 36,000 psi. and a thickness of 0.0075 in. This helps fabricators choose the right sheetmetal for their jobs and to provide strong structures. This is also a drawback because the A36 label means at least 36,000 psi, but a 41,000 psi sheet will also be labeled A36, and the increased strength can lead to remarkable differences.  

The more knowledgeable a fabricator is about the characteristics of sheetmetal, the more likely they will produce uniform pieces without a lot of variations and weaknesses.

Measuring and Cutting

Everyone has heard that for precision and to avoid mistakes you should always measure twice and cut once. This is especially true when working with sheetmetal because there is no forecasting software that can predict how sheetmetal will react to various conditions.

Simply put, cutting sheetmetal may lead to a variety of reactions based on temperature, cutting method, and, of course, the steel composition. Taking the time to measure twice and cut once will save materials and working hours.

Math Is a Major Part of Working with Sheetmetal

Not only do you need to know what yield your sheet metal is and the dimensions required for the finished pieces, you also need to know the temperature required for heat cutting and the angles needed for the strongest bends based on the thickness variations. It can be a complex matter to put all of these numbers together to create a functional completed piece.

Working with sheetmetal requires a bit more than a sharp pair of tin snips and pliers. Press-brake operation is a major part of fabrication with sheet metal, whether the end goal is ductwork, car parts, tool boxes or appliances. Data tables and algorithms can only go so far; it requires a metal worker who knows sheetmetal to ensure that the bends and cuts are made in a way that strengthens rather than weakens the piece.

When you’re in the market for sheetmetal tools, a trip to the nearest hardware store won’t meet your needs. Visit Quantum Machinery for all you need to work with metal, from cutting implements to mandrel benders. Whether automation and mass production is your goal or whether you prefer to be involved in every step of the process, there are machines and tools available to help you make the most of every piece of metal.

Manufacturing

What to Look for When Selecting a New Plasma Cutting System

Choosing a new plasma-cutting system can be somewhat overwhelming. First, you must decide whether automation is truly the way to go for your business. Then, find the right machinery to meet your needs. There is a chance that a laser cutter will be better for your fabrication needs but, then again, when it comes to versatility and per-part cost, it is often found that an automated plasma cutting system will be the best bet.

When Is Automation Best?

If you are a fabricator, you may find that you need a set and regular parameter of cuts and pieces. This makes automation a great saver of man hours and money. In what instances should a fabricator consider automation?

·         If you find that you are repeatedly making the same cuts and not having to change dimensions, then automation would be a time-saving benefit.

·         If you find that manual cuts require a lot of rework, then a more stable and faster cutting system could be the answer.

·         Having issues with fit-up after manual cuts could mean that you need a more cookie-cutter type production.

·         Having a limited labor budget may slow your productivity, as you have to pay employees to manually cut. Using an automated cutter will reduce your payroll and increase productivity.

·         If your final goal is that of weld-ready parts, then manual cutting is not the way to go. Automated plasma cutting produces parts that are ready to weld.

Automation addresses all of these issues while improving productivity and lowering the cost per part. Speed seems to be the most touted feature of plasma cutting. Compared to waterjet and laser cutters, the quality may be a bit less, with rougher edges and less precision, but, for mass production, the automated plasma cutting system is more cost-effective and efficient.

What to Ask Before Purchasing

Once you make the decision to start looking into automated plasma cutting systems, there are several things that you will want to consider and ask about before you decide on a machine. Will you need a standard machine or a high-precision setup? A knowledgeable salesperson will be able to answer your questions and even provide samples for you to compare. Cut quality should be a major consideration when deciding on a plasma cutter.

You will need to find out about:

·         Smooth cut surface

·         Minimal top edge rounding

·         Top spatter problems

·         Bottom dross evaluation

·         Kerf width options

·         Cut bevel angle

·         Nitride contamination

When you compare a variety of samples, you will be able to choose the best automated plasma cutter for your fabrication needs.

Investment

The initial layout for an automated plasma cutting machine is not small. Basically, you are looking at between $80,000 and $120,000 for a high-precision plasma cutter and up to $80,000 for a standard plasma cutter.  This is one reason why it is very important to decide whether automation is truly a feature that your business needs. If you are considering an automated plasma cutting system versus a laser cutter, then you also have to weigh the cut cost per piece and increased productivity, as well as the amount paid for the system to determine your benefit.  

Contact Quantum Machinery today to find out what cutting system will best meet your fabrication needs.

Cutting System

How to Properly Maintain Your Waterjet System

There are many reasons why people may choose to use a waterjet cutting system. In some instances, the materials to be cut are temperature sensitive and wouldn’t do well with a standard laser cutter. The use of nothing more than a high-pressure jet of water allows for accuracy and temperature control as well as minimizing dust and fumes.

Waterjet systems are used to cut glass, rubber, copper, titanium, stainless steel, and stone, among other materials. A waterjet system is a piece of equipment that requires proper maintenance in order to remain functional.

Manufacturing

Unmaintained System Problems

If your waterjet system is not properly maintained, you may end up with some of the following problems:

·         Inaccurate cutting

·         Increased use of consumables

·         Excess water usage

·         Replacement part costs

·         Operational downtime

·         Loss of business

·         Total machine failure

If you’ve invested in a waterjet system, it is important to also invest in preventive maintenance software and plan for scheduled maintenance.

Basic Maintenance

Each manufacturer issues their recommended maintenance procedures differently. Owners and operators need to be familiar with the manual and the procedures for maintenance. Even failing to clean the equipment can cause major problems. All shop workers should be competent in three areas of waterjet systems. The first would be software programming, the second, operating the equipment, and the third, maintenance. There are some waterjet systems that are more complex than others and may require more training in different aspects of maintenance.

Pump and Table

The pump and table have several components, such as seals, valves, swivels, and hoses. Some tables may require lubricant while others do not perform well when lubed. This is where knowing your system and the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance program is important.

Nozzle and Tank

In order to avoid uneven wear, minimize tapering, and extend the life of the mixing tube, it is important to make sure that the jewel orifice and nozzle body are correctly aligned, and that the mixing tube is rotated after 8 hours of cutting. Water quality, filters, and the solids removal system are all part of maintaining a well-running waterjet system. Temperature control is also important in maintaining the high-pressure seals and nozzle assemblies, as water that is consistently run through at high temperatures can damage rubber components.

No matter what company manufactures your waterjet system, it is important that every operator knows how to perform basic maintenance and to configure the settings for longevity and machine accuracy. If you’re counting on your investment in a waterjet cutting system to pay off and allow your business to grow, you have to maintain it to ensure the best performance.

The benefit of using a waterjet system over a cold saw or laser cutter may be negligible, depending upon what materials and accuracy you will be cutting, but, in some cases, it may be impossible to achieve accurate and non-damaging cutting with other tools. Understanding both the machinery and your industry as a whole will help you decide whether a waterjet system is beneficial.  

If you are looking for the best in waterjet systems, visit Quantum Machinery and see what we have to offer to help your company offer the highest possible quality cutting services.

Waterjet System

The Pros and Cons of Shop Floor Automation

Automation and manufacturing can seem like a great pairing, which has been around for well over three decades, thanks in part to the rise of the computer and related computing technologies, like robotics. While there are several advantages of automating a shop floor, there are some key considerations and reasons why certain tasks, like working with a press brake or plate roll, are better performed by human beings.

If you are considering updating your production environment, we invite you to review the following pros and cons to help determine the most appropriate investment of your resources.

Shop Floor Automation

Shop Floor Automation Pros

·         Improved Quality Control and Product Accuracy – Machines can perform precision work and increase overall quality.

·         Reduced Materials Waste – Automation helps reduce waste and associated costs.

·         Improved Production Times and Output – You are able to generate higher volumes in a shorter period of time.

·         Easy to Repeat Processes Numerous Times – Machines are able to replicate processes for an endless amount of time and deliver the same quality.

·         Better Safety – Machine can perform more dangerous tasks and reduce risks to employees.

·         Reduces the Number of Employees Needed – You need fewer employees to perform the same tasks.

·         Reduction in Production Costs – Total materials costs are reduced with automation.

·         Frees Up Employees to Work on Other Vital Tasks – You can have employees work on more detailed work machines cannot duplicate or on other such tasks.

Shop Floor Automation

Shop Floor Automation Cons

Just like there are advantages to automating certain processes on your shop floor, there are also disadvantages, depending on the size of your operation and available resources, as follows:

1.      Automating your shop floor could require a large initial upfront investment to purchase machines and equipment. In some cases, there are other options that can help lower the amount needed upfront, such as exploring leasing options or taking out a loan and making smaller monthly payments. Just remember, with leases and loans, the total cost of ownership will be more, in the long run, due to interest payments.

2.      Machines are limited in the types of tasks they can perform. With human employees, you can have them perform multiple and different types of work, as needed. In addition, certain processes could require more versatility than the machine is capable of performing.

3.      You could increase your carbon footprint. Some types of machines translate to using more energy and generating more pollution than using human workers. If you are concerned about your impact on the environment, spend some time researching and asking questions about how the new machine would impact your business’s carbon footprint.

4.      The total costs to purchase a new piece of equipment could cost more than you budgeted. You may have to pay to have your employees trained to use and operate the machine. There are maintenance costs associated with each piece of machinery you purchase. Furthermore, you have to also include the costs to automate your shop floor and update your production costs.

As you can see, there are pros and cons for automating your shop floor. For more information about equipment and machinery for automation and precision work output, please feel free to contact Quantum Machinery at (909) 476-8007 today!