Productivity increases when fiber laser cutting thinner materials

Sept. 16, 2016
Sheet metal fabricator Inishowen Engineering reports a 20% increase in laser cutting speed with a new fiber laser cutter.

Sheet metal fabricator Inishowen Engineering (Drumfries, County Donegal, Ireland) reports a 20% increase in laser cutting speed over a similar-power CO2 laser cutter when processing mild steel sheet up to 4mm thick on a newly installed 6kW BySprint Fiber 4020 cutting system from Bystronic (Elgin, IL).

According to Michael McKinney, Inishowen Engineering's managing director, the new system not only cuts thinner material significantly faster, but also costs less to run and service to allow years of financial savings for the company. "The latest high-power fiber source also allows heavier-gauge materials to be processed nearly as efficiently as on a CO2 machine. We regularly cut mild steel up to 12mm on the BySprint Fiber 4020. On even thicker materials, up to 25mm, we use a Bystronic CO2 machine and a plasma cutter, so we have all requirements covered," he says.

The Bystronic BySprint Fiber 4020 installed at Inishowen Engineering.

Inishowen Engineering specializes in supplying complete assemblies, with customers in the construction, marine equipment, quarrying, and agriculture industries.

Customer demand was the trigger for the company to install its 4 x 2m BySprint 4020 CO2 unit equipped with ByTrans automated sheet loading and unloading. Laser cutting resulted in an increase in component accuracy and edge quality, drawing favorable feedback from the subcontractor's customers.

In 2010, they installed a second laser cutting machine—another BySprint CO2 cutter equipped with a powered ByLoader arm to assist manual handling of sheet and plate. In 2015, they installed the fiber laser cutting machine, equipping it with the existing ByTrans to automate sheet handling.

Fiber laser cutting in action.

The family-run subcontractor is looking forward to a bright future, with a 250,000ft2 purpose-built factory slated to open on the existing site by 2020—one that will dwarf the current 75,000 ft2 premises.

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