For most people, November brings thoughts of the impending holidays starting with Thanksgiving, our day of feasting and thankfulness. For me, November starts with my thoughts focused on FABTECH, the annual trade show and conference where new technologies in metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing are launched.
It’s a busy time for our marketing communications team as we support our customers with booth planning and management, traffic building ideas, video and print collateral, sales tools, press relations, you name it. This year has been especially exciting as we are supporting the launch of numerous new technologies.
Closely listening to the customer and understanding market trends is key to our clients' innovation process. It is really cool to watch as they develop new solutions and refine others to overcome particular manufacturing challenges. Much of their recent development has been focused on the handling of various lightweight materials, whether aluminum or the advanced higher-strength steels -- both have required new ways of cutting, forming, joining on the shop floor.
To address this issue and expand upon its new high-strength straightener launched last year, COE Press Equipment is introducing its new SpaceMaster® Series 4 compact coil line, which can process these new lighter, high-yield, high-strength materials at up to 70 SPM in under 23 ft. of space! This is less than half the footprint of a typical press feed line, yet provides the flexibility to process a wide range of coil material and thickness.
Another customer, LaserCoil Technologies, is introducing its new Multiple-Head Laser Cutting system, which can produce blanks from any type of coil stock (AHSS, CRS, Aluminum, pre-coated materials, etc) at speeds never before achievable, while improving quality and eliminating the need for press dies and maintenance costs. The flexibility and short changeover time of this technology is a game changer for the stamping industry.
Then, to handle the difficulties presented by the welding of aluminum, Coldwater Machine will be showcasing its innovative friction welding solutions for joining ferrous, non-ferrous and dissimilar materials. Coldwater’s SPOTMeld™ system can join multiple layers of aluminum sheet metal, which can help the automakers as they seek efficient manufacturing solutions for increasing use of lightweight materials.
I am inspired and grateful that I have the opportunity to work with such innovative companies comprised of really smart as well as really nice people. How many people get to say that they learn something every day while having fun along the way? My holiday season starts by giving thanks for that. And, given that there’s no overeating involved like at Thanksgiving – it’s also addresses MY lightweighting issue!