Industry: Lawn Mower Manufacturer
Product: Easy Arm™ Q model with customized magnetic tooling coupled with a Soft Touch remote mount handle and G360™ collector
A components supplier of commercial lawn mowing equipment installed a new press brake for forming sheet metal into the decks for large mowers. The brake bends the ends of pre-cut sheet metal and forms deck plates that measure 1.2 – 1.8 metres. The metal sheets are 7 to 10 gauge, and range in weight from about 20-60 kgs.
When the new brake was installed, it required two operators to manually lift and hold the sheets while being formed. The piece had three bends - which required the sheet to be loaded and turned 180 degrees for the second folding, and then repositioned for a third bend.
The operation was slow and positioning the metal properly with two people pushing and pulling was very difficult. The process took about six minutes to make the three bends and was a major labor expense.
After completing the prototype work for the new application, the company began investigating a better process for forming the mower decks.
Robotics were considered but the expense was too high and control of the part too limited.
A freestanding 150 kg capacity Easy Arm™ Q model with an 4.5 M span and 3.5 M height under boom. Customized magnetic tooling from Industrial Magnetics coupled with a remote mount handle, now allow just one worker to pick up the sheet metal, engage float mode, and easily position the sheet into the press brake. The G360™ collector on the handle even allows the sheet metal to be spun and positioned so that all three bends can be completed without setting the load down.
“Float Mode makes this all possible,” said the Senior Manufacturing Engineer. “When we tried doing this manually, we could only get a few done per hour, and our people were exhausted. Now we can do 15-20 pieces per hour with just one operator who doesn’t get exhausted at all.”
Not only was the process cut from six minutes down to two, the extra worker was moved to another application to further increase company productivity.
“We had some people who didn’t want us to bring this process to our facility. Now, everyone involved is very happy with the Easy Arm™ and the new process.”