Ironworker machines may have been around for decades, but they are just as helpful today as they have always been. They can seamlessly fit into a machine shop that uses modern fabrication technology and make production more efficient.
What are ironworker machines?
Ironworker machines can punch, shear, bend, notch, and form heavy metals, meaning they can perform various tasks commonly done by single machines for fabrication and manufacturing.
The machinery is ideal for cutting smooth cuts and error-free holes in steel plates and other materials.
While ironworkers are traditionally designed as manual machines, some single or dual ironworker machines can be fitted with controllers to enable automation. Most of today’s ironworkers have hydraulic twin cylinders, which allows operators to use both cylinders simultaneously. While the punch works off one cylinder, the other cylinder operates like plate shearing, angle shearing, bar shearing, bending, notching, and customized applications.
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The Benefits of Ironworkers
Although there are more modern types of machines on the market, nothing can still beat the ironworker in many respects. Ironworker machines fit nicely into the world of modern fabrication.
First and foremost, the machinery can speed up a machine shop’s workflow. When workflows are improved, operations are sped up, allowing for more parts and products to be made, thereby leading to more sales. And because the ironworker acts as several machines in one, less time is spent by workers performing arduous tasks like retooling.
There is no point in spending lots of funds on larger machines and taking the time to set them up when a good ironworker can perform just as well.
How Ironworker Machines Fit in with Modern Fabrication
To highlight how ironworkers can seamlessly fit into a modern fabrication shop using newer technologies, let us demonstrate how useful the machinery can be. For example, if your machine shop operators are presented with an urgent job that involves cutting, punching, and bending several dozen plates and a few small structural shapes, they have the option of squeezing pieces through on burn tables, routing them through press brakes, and creating the small structural shapes with a bandsaw.
But that process slows down productivity, especially during the bending stage because it involves setting up just a single punch and die set on a press brake to perform the task.
On the other hand, when operators use ironworker machines, the tools required for cutting structural shapes and punching holes are already at their disposal. Also, they can simply shear parts with an ironworker rather than having to squeeze a few pieces onto a nest on a burn table.
With an ironworker, you can punch cleanly. And with the variable rake angle of the shear, you can cut workpieces of varying thicknesses easily and quickly.
If operators need to do a task that involves notching a tubular assembly, ironworkers can also be the best type of machinery to use.
Let us say the operators need to make non-intricate cuts in several small-diameter tubes. It would take time and effort to set up a machine for notching pipe and tubing when you could alternatively cut the tubes to length and use an ironworker to achieve the same results.
The same applies to other tasks. The punch station could avoid workers needing to set up separate drill presses and so on. Whatever operations an ironworker is being used for can improve workflow and productivity at the end of the day.