Latest Trends in Laser Cutting & Material Handling
Laser cutting is a widely used manufacturing process. Whether it is aerospace, automotive, electronics, semiconductor or medical equipment industry, laser cutting offers a huge range of benefits and uses. The rise in automation in manufacturing industries owing to the demand for high-quality products all around the world is driving the market for laser cutting machines. Here we discuss why state-of-the-art cutting and material handling solutions are important in today’s manufacturing.
The next generation of industrial plate cutting revolution, involves a combination of selection of plasma & laser systems, automation, Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT) which together creates intelligent yet cost-effective cutting solutions. In the present scenario, the new wave of connected smart factories powered by high-end cutting & material handling solutions is transforming the manufacturing ecosystem worldwide.
Messer Cutting Systems is one of the global majors in the domain of laser cutting and material handling. Explaining the company’s tech prowess and its commitment towards ‘Make in India’, Uday Mukherjee, Director- Sales & Marketing, Messer Cutting Systems India said, “All Messer Cutting Systems machines presently available in the Indian market are 100% manufactured in our plant in Coimbatore. We also export these machines to Middle East, Canada and the US. So, Messer Cutting laser machines are basically European machines made in India. Thus, we deliver the best of the machines – European quality machines at Indian prices.”
Answering to a question on why adopting state-of-the-art laser cutting solutions are becoming essential, Utkarsh Landekar, Head – Laser Business & Exports, Messer Cutting Systems India, said, “Today laser cutting machines are replacing shear drilling machines, direct punch press, plasma machines and to a certain extent event oxyfuel machines. So, this is getting more and more like one advanced process replacing several conventional processes – that makes it more prominently usable in the industry.”
He adds, “Laser cutting machines are capable of making smaller holes even in thicker materials. That gives a better advantage for the process.”
Apart from offering world-class laser cutting and material handling solutions, Messer Cutting Systems offers complete solutions and concentrate on the digitalization of their products and processes for optimizing production processes via software. MesserSoft, a wholly owned subsidiary of Messer Cutting Systems, integrates Messer cutting machines into business management processes relating to work preparation, production planning and control. This includes software at the workplace, in the cloud and on the operating panel of the machines. Ravichandran Duraiswamy, Sr. Manager – Product Management, Messer Cutting Systems India explains the software solutions being offered by MesserSoft. He said, “We have software which can give full monitoring (of machines) to the management from anywhere in the world.”
OmniWin and OmniBevel are machine-oriented solutions customized to work preparation processes. OmniFab enables those responsible in the work preparation department, at the control station, in production planning and in plant management to control the processes and provides transparency in production.
Valuable information related to how well a machine is utilized, how well the operator uses the machine, how much time it takes for the setting up of the machine, and if there is any breakdown how much time the machine is down for a particular period of time – are automatically shared with the management that helps to monitor the performance of the machine. So, the production process goes uninterrupted and planning can be done in a better way, Mr. Ravichandran said.
Material handling, storage and maintaining inventory is another key area as far as any manufacturing facility is concerned. Material handling system is a huge chunk of contributing factor to machine waiting time or machines waiting for the materials to be loaded, admits Mr. Ravichandran. He adds, “One can eliminate the idle time for loading/unloading and setting-in time by advanced metal handling systems.”
Messer offers PlasmaFLEX – a material handling system that’s fully automated with loading and unloading of plasma cutting machines. Mr. Ravichandran lists the advantages of Messer state-of-the-art material handling solutions as: Improve flow of material, increased productivity, reduce manual labour inputs, lower overall handling costs and most importantly improve safety and reliability in processing.
He adds, “Raw materials can be stored in a vertical storage system where the storage can be well organized. This can be integrated with the ERP system so the planning person knows how much materials are exactly available at which location.”
Supporting Industry – Always
In the middle of COVID-19 pandemic, the industry as a whole was struggling to meet their requirement of Oxygen for industrial usages. Explaining how Messer could manage the situation and meet their clients’ needs, Prashant Chaturvedi, GM – Marketing, Messer Cutting Systems India, said, “When there were shortages of the Oxygen and Nitrogen, we modified our controller software to suit the air cutting even in the high-definition plasma and laser modes and many of the oxyfuel cutting equipment where oxygen was required, we supported the industry with air plasma systems.”