Life-Saving Lasers

Life-Saving Lasers

December 10, 2013 4:48:01 PM

For Scott Breton, Vice President at Sparton Technology, a Mitsubishi Laser automation cell saves a lot of stress, energy and money. Later down the line, the parts it produces save lives.


 New Hampshire-based Sparton Technology—which machines and fabricates components and assemblies for a variety of industries—has grown rapidly in recent years. Last year, an aggressive bid for business from a major military supplier really put the pressure on.

 

“We initially got the contract because we were the only ones who would commit to the extremely aggressive schedule,” says Breton. “But we knew that we could not rely soley on our punch presses, and we couldn’t outsource the laser cutting for a project of this size and nature for very long.” 

 


The project called for the fabrication of heavy-gauge steel and aluminum bracketing for ambush-resistant vehicles that protect U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The production schedule was tight, and would require a quicker and more efficient system than the one currently in place. Sparton’s relationship with Mitsubishi began about five years earlier after a press brake purchase, and Breton’s contact there had shown them the Mitsubishi Laser systems as well. 


“He really sold us on the idea that a laser system, plus an automation cell, could help our productivity skyrocket, and with this new project, we really needed it,” says Breton.


To make a final decision, Breton gave several laser manufacturers a couple of test parts and rigorously inspected their parts for speed and precision in both .06 stainless and .625 steel. When the dust settled, Mitsubishi was the clear winner—with the most accurate cuts and competitive speeds. 


Sparton purchased a 3015LVPLUSⅡ and a MSCⅢ with an eight-shelf storage tower.


The 3015LVPLUSⅡ is built on a single-piece, ultra-rigid, Dianite casting. The system’s patented Cross-Flow Resonator uses a unique rectangular wave pulse and improved discharge distribution. This results in significantly better cutting ability, substantially decreased maintenance and up to 90% lower gas consumption when compared to traditional systems. 


The automation system offers lightning-fast system cycle times, with a full load/unload cycle of only 65 seconds. The system integrates easily with Mitsubishi lasers to load and unload sheet metal—making unmanned, lights out production possible. This system increased productivity so much, in fact, that it saved Sparton from buying another machine.


“Originally, we thought we would need two lasers,” Breton says. “But this system is so efficient, thanks to the automation cell, that one laser is plenty. We truly get more lights out cutting than we expected. Now we control the schedule—not the other way around.”


Breton also appreciates the service and support he gets from Mitsubishi. 


“Whenever we have questions with the new system, they’re there to guide us through,” he says.
While the laser and automation cell was purchased with specific jobs in mind, it has opened the door for other business opportunities—such as very thin-gauged stainless steel fabrication—and helped expand profits.


“Over the last year, sales have increased 100 percent,” says Breton. “The laser cell has a lot to do with that.”

 

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