From automotive to structural tubes – FL 300 3D
Despite its name Sarzi Lamiere (Sarzi “Sheeting”) today works as a third party supplier of both sheet and tubular parts. Over the last ten years, the company, in response to orders from important German automotive suppliers, has rounded out its service offering with semi-finished parts made directly from tubular blanks. “We make products for Northern European companies, who in turn design and supply standard equipment for […]
Despite its name Sarzi Lamiere (Sarzi “Sheeting”) today works as a third party supplier of both sheet and tubular parts. Over the last ten years, the company, in response to orders from important German automotive suppliers, has rounded out its service offering with semi-finished parts made directly from tubular blanks. “We make products for Northern European companies, who in turn design and supply standard equipment for Daimler-Mercedes, Scania, Man and Liebherr, among others,” says Fabio Anelli, Pipe Production Manager of Sarzi Lamiere. “This is why we have added tube processing to our existing sheet processing services. In particular, the lasertube has been essential to guaranteeing the precision required in cutting parts which, in most cases, we also assemble together. We are thus equipped to supply assembled semi-finished parts, and this can be seen from the range of machinery we have installed for tube processing, including the 6 laser tubes, 5 robotic welding cells, pipe benders and numerous radial presses for forming parts”.
Project optimisation by the fabricator Sarzi is a pure third party supplier and as such implements designs provided by its clients. “Given their source, these are projects which have mostly been signed off at a higher level, so we can suggest simple practical improvements and thus help to optimise the project in terms of its real feasibility. We also propose alternative processes to simplify and speed up production, but without compromising the geometry, function or reliability of the component. This is project optimisation, done by the people who have to actually fabricate the parts”. Sarzi has now accumulated enough expertise with lasertubes to make small, simple modifications which enable them to get considerable time savings and greatly increased precision of the individual parts and their assembly for welding. The automotive industry has very strict tolerance requirements. For this reason, they work with control templates and equipment, including a recently acquired control laser used by the quality control department to measure parts. “We make batches of thousands of parts, over which we implement systematic and methodical controls to ensure the high precision our clients specify” says Anelli. “We have a well-equipped quality laboratory, but we also run controls at each station, especially in tube forming processes where we use custom templates and gauges made to the specified precision, so that we can run 100% controls of our production”.
3D processing of tubes and profiles up to 305 mm diameter Including tube processing in their service offering has been of strategic importance to Sarzi Lamiere who has been able, in advance of its competitors, to investigate the full potential of the tubular components market, and reap the benefits. Now their objective is to expand into structural tubing for important markets like the construction industry. Indeed, they purchased their most recent lasertube system as a step in this direction, since it is TTM FL 300 3D system, a heavy duty system and intended to handle diameters and formats previously out of their range. “In the past, when we got inquiries about large gauge and size tubes we always turned them down because we weren’t equipped to handle them,” says Anelli. “But seeing as how these inquiries kept coming, we decided to explore this new market”. The new FL 300 3D system does 3D cutting of tubes and profiles in a range of diameters from 15 to 305 mm and maximum length of 12,500 mm. All components (high quality motors and transducers, pressurised system, optical path with high efficiency mirrors) are designed and rated to process heavy duty tube and bars, for maximum process efficiency and return on investment. The part is held by the four sliding and self-aligning jaws of the mobile mandrel, designed to operate without pincer changeovers. The fixed mandrel, composed of a solid frame housing the four self-aligning idle rollers, also has no need for equipment changeovers. The mandrel houses the exhaust duct, connected to a cutting fumes and waste extraction plant to assure a totally clean and safe working environment. All TTM systems pay special attention to environmental issues. The tubes are loaded by a belt picking system, while the open profiles are loaded by a chain conveyor: three independent manipulators then load both tubes delivered by the bundle loader and tubes and profiles off the chain loader to the mandrel. Special attention has been paid to the creation of an automatic cartesian offloader which loads the cut tubes, in lengths up to 8 m, onto pallets. The intelligent offloader boosts the productivity of the system as well as reducing dead time due to stacking. As for long parts, the system has axes for containing and supporting any type of tube or profile during the process. The mechanical systems also feature high reliability components, with guides, bearings, preloaded cross roller mounted mandrels, recirculation worm screws and zero-backlash precision gear reducers.
A system designed specifically for cutting large formats compared to the other lasertubes in the workshop, the TTM FL 300 3D is designed to handle heavy gauge tubing. TTM has made it easy to cut square and rectangular tubes, which the company was able to cut previously, but with problems due to the weight of the parts. “The FL 300 has given us a certain ease of mind about the process, even for 12 m bars, since it is designed specifically for handling such parts,” Anelli continues. “The special thing about the FL 300 3D is precisely that it can handle up to 12 m tubes and bars; this significantly reduces offcuts as well as the number of raw bars to be loaded, and hence has optimised our process and made it more efficient”.
“The first order we completed with the TTM system allowed us to test its potential straight off: we were cutting 324 mm aluminium tubing, which is over the rated capacity of the system, with a final length of 11.60 m, practically equal to the loading capacity of the system, but nonetheless well over the FL 300 3D’s 8 m automatic offloading limit. This meant we had to modify the offloading section, in collaboration with TTM technicians. TTM modified the stroke of mandrel number 3, which is the one responsible for offloading, so that rather than gripping it as the start of the section, slid along it to grip it further down. We, on the other hand, mounted a pneumatic roller extractor external to the laser system which extracts the tube, loads it onto the unloading supports and places it on an accumulator and pallet loading table. In practice, it’s as if the extractor pulls the tube out of the third mandrel which opens after cutting to allow it to slide inside it”