See some of the equipment spotted at the 2013 edition of Fabtech. Plus, learn about Fabtech’s fundraising campaign to help victims of the severe weather that hit Illinois just before the show.
Executive Editor, Modern Machine Shop
Trumpf unveiled a TruLaser 5030 2D laser cutting machine with a 5 kilowatt solid-state laser and the company’s new BrightLine fiber technology. This technology enables the machine to cut a wide range of materials and thicknesses, making it well-suited for job shops.
These tests show how the BrightLine fiber laser technology is able to cut thick materials with much less material spatter on the exit side.
Esab’s Hydrocut LX combines waterjet and plasma cutting capabilities. That way, it can cut with the high accuracy of waterjet where needed, but employ the high speed and low cost of plasma whenever possible.
This Mitsubishi Ex 3015 from MC Machinery Systems is an entry-level, 2.7 kW CO2 laser cutter that was shown with an automated material handling system. The entire system is less than the company’s more powerful 6-kW laser without automation. It is well-suited for shops that desire automated processes, but aren’t cutting very thick materials.
Mazak Optronics’ Optiplex 3015 flying-optics laser cutter is shown fitted with compact material handling system from Tekmag having 16 loading pallets.
Kinetic displayed its K5000 that performs a wealth of operations, including milling, drilling, tapping, chamfering, boring, plasma cutting, oxy fuel cutting and beveling.
Lincoln Electric had a significant presence at Fabtech, punctuated with venting duct spanning multiple booth locations. The company has recently acquired a number of automation and cutting companies in an effort to be a single-source supplier of automated welding and cutting systems.
The QuantumESP from Techni is a quiet electric servo waterjet pump that is said to be 60-percent more efficient than standard hydraulic intensifiers. The elimination of “dead head” pressure spikes means fittings and tubing lasts longer, too.
Robotiq with Yaskawa Motoman introduced Kinetiq Teaching, a new system to quickly and easily task robotic welders without requiring in-depth programming knowledge. Welders are able to move the robotic welder with their hands and intuitively program welding paths.
This cell in ABB’s booth highlighted the company’s Jokab safety systems and components for robotic applications, including the two-hand Safeball control device, mechanical and non-contact switches, safety mats and so on.
Tri Tool offers portable machine tools such as this TTM model, a template tracer for heavy wall beveling.
Last week, I spent a day and a half at Fabtech, held at McCormick Place in Chicago. This was the first Fabtech I’ve attended. It’s an annual show that rotates from Chicago to Atlanta to Las Vegas. Three things stood out to me while I was there. First, there was a healthy amount of automation on display, including robotic welders and sheet handling equipment for laser cutters. The importance of skills development was also readily apparent with various education seminars and conferences as well as a welding competition sponsored by the American Welding Society. Plus, the show was sizeable and well-attended. It took up both the North and South halls at McCormick, and it was bustling with attendees the entire time I was there. It drew a total of 40,667 attendees and 1,573 exhibitors spread across 650,000 square feet of exhibits. The slideshow below highlights some of the new equipment I spotted at the show.
The only downside of this trip was the drive to Chicago on Sunday the 17th. Although I was merely inconvenienced (and admittedly made a bit anxious almost driving into a tornado), others in Illinois were terribly impacted by the severe storms and tornados that ran through the state that day. As a result, Fabtech and its partners launched a fundraising effort for the victims of the storms. Click here to learn more and how you can help donate to this effort. Funds collected will go to the American Red Cross to help storm victims.