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According to Andrew Poole, Managing Director of First Cut, sophisticated automation available in capital equipment - such as in fibre laser cutting or tube bending - has the power to revolutionise manufacturing and organisational productivity to previously unknown levels. This is particularly true in South Africa, where the majority of manufacturing businesses have been slow to adopt and adapt to the so-called fourth industrial and automation revolution - or Industry 4.0 as it is commonly known.

FirstCut expert40“However, we see that in businesses which do embrace it, automation results in increased levels of productivity, significant reduction in cost per part, exponential financial returns, and organisational streamlining,” Poole says.

Industry 4.0 is the main theme of this year’s Machine Tools Africa (MTA) exhibition, an excellent opportunity for manufacturers to update themselves about the latest developments in the sector, Poole believes. First Cut, for example, will be showcasing a range of innovative, automated capital equipment from leading global principals such as Bystronic, Timesavers, Everising and BLM.

The Bystronic Bystar 10 kW fibre laser, which Poole says is the most powerful laser on the market at present, offers unmatched speed and cost-competitive efficiency. “This ‘warp speed’ fibre laser will deliver the highest parts output and premium cutting quality right through the range of sheet thicknesses up to 30mm, while also cutting exotic metals such as copper, aluminium and brass without the need for rework,” adds Gareth Jackson, First Cut’s Bystronic Sales Director.

“A maximum degree of operating convenience and transparent process control is provided by the intuitive ByVision cutting user interface - and by unrestricted access to the cutting area from the machine’s long side.”

First Cut will also be showcasing Bystronic’s Xpert 40 press brake as well as the BySoft 7 intuitive software. This includes four modules: Plant Manager, Sheet Processing, Bending, and Tube Processing. “This press brake offers the highest levels of repeatable accuracy with no angle deviation. With adaptors, just about any type of tool can be used; and with pressure reference technology featuring fully automatic, dynamic crowning, first-class bending results are guaranteed,” Jackson explains.

Steve van Wyk, First Cut Sales Director points out that in the “smart” Industry-4.0 factory, clean, burr-free material is a prerequisite. The company will therefore be showcasing its Timesavers range. Timesavers is a leading deburring equipment manufacturer.

The new Series 42 1350 WRBW deburring machine allows for pre-grinding to be carried out by an abrasive belt. After this, the rounding of edges and surface finishing is completed in a single pass using eight counter-rotating abrasive flap brushes.

Similarly, the Everising fully automatic, touch-screen controlled P100C circular saw features a floating shuttle vice and hydraulic sorting chute for repeatable and consistently high quality – a valuable addition to any factory’s suite of ‘smart’ equipment, van Wyk says.

“In addition, Everising’s H360HB fully automatic bandsaw can cut with either tungsten carbide tipped (TCT) or bi-metal blades. A new NC11 touch screen control offers self-diagnostics and job nesting. Also on show, the Everising S4633SA semi-automatic directional mitre cutting pivot bandsaw is another valuable contribution to the goals of Industry 4.0. Ideally suited to the structural steel industry, the S4633SA can handle widths up to 460mm and thicknesses of up to 330mm.”

Automation in the steel industry is one of the top ten game-changers of the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, Poole says. “We are therefore very excited by the opportunity we have at MTA to consult with our valued manufacturing and fabrication customers on how we can best assist them to harness the power of automated, innovative capital equipment – in the spirit of Industry 4.0 - in order to promote the profitability of their businesses.”

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