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Magazine for Sheet Metal Processing in North America

A firm grip Laser cutting for decades

Bright ideas Lighting the way in energy efficiency

Ranges of beauty

Ventilation with artistic flair

Cool concepts Managing ice and water

No stranger to hardship Unrivaled work ethic

Special Section Choosing your laser




Built on experience, 6 confidence and courage portrait

“Say what you do and do what you say” is the unofficial motto of this Ohio-based job shop.




10 Dream kitchen Elica clears the air with a touch of artistic expression. PROFILE

12 Inspired by ice Innovative solutions keep things cool for this well-established corporation. CUSTOMER FOCUS

27 Old World Values, New World Technology From Italy to Canada, the De Domenico family is no stranger to hard work. FABRICATING



30 1,700 piece puzzle With 1.8 million strokes, Scherrer Metec punched thousands of façade panels and made sure that each one found its spot. PORTRAIT

32 An illuminating agent Shining brightly in the Lone Star State.

Special Page 17 Choosing your laser

Standards 03 04 34


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TO THE POINT Panorama personalities

36 36 37

stories in sheet metal CREDITS CLOSING POINT

to the point

Sheet metal fabricating and the people factor We’re currently in the midst of graduation season, which is one of the most exciting times in a young person’s life. But as exhilarating as it may be, standing at the crossroads of school and the real world also takes on a serious tone. A very important question needs to be addressed, and that’s, “What now?” One’s career choices are almost limitless, and at times it can be overwhelming trying to narrow them down. This presents an opportunity for all of us who have young people in our lives to suggest sheet metal fabrication as a career. I hope there are many future fabricators and manufacturers among us, because the reality is that making things is what sustains a society and creates a solid foundation for our future. In fact, the last book Theodor Seuss Geisel authored before he died, “Oh! The Places You’ll Go,” crosses my mind as I write this. As they start on their career path, young fabricators must realize that— aside from their own skills and ambition—even with access to state-ofthe-art technology, it’s ultimately people, not machines, who will have the most influence on their career. After all, everyone has bosses, customers, vendors, co-workers, family, friends and other stakeholders with whom they talk on a daily basis. Out of this contingent, many young fabricators will choose someone as his or her “go to” person when seeking career direction and advice. Most people refer to this as being mentored. While we usually have no say in the matter of who sits next to us in the office or who runs the machine next to ours on the shop floor, when it comes to choosing someone whose business style we would like to emulate and learn from, the decision is ours. The impression typically associated with mentors is that they’re people who are much older, wiser and with senior-level experience. I have to admit that I’ve never had a mentor, at least not in the traditional sense. However, I have had a role model—which I believe is more of a bond that two people share apart from age or experience. When I was just beginning my career, a colleague and I were peers at the same level, and both of us were just beginning jobs with the same company. We shared an office, but we had different responsibilities and therefore weren’t competing with each other. It was a unique opportunity that I am grateful to have had. To be able to talk things over honestly and openly with a peer you trust--who is experiencing the same things as you—is invaluable. But how does one know they have earmarked the right person to fulfill such an important role in their career? Whom can they trust to be a good role model? Author Patricia Pilcher, in her book, The Drama of Leadership, poses the question: “Who are the good leaders—and how do you identify them?” She defines three distinct styles of leadership: Artists, Craftsmen and Technocrats. She explains that artists are

Rolf Biekert, President and CEO

visionary; craftsmen are dedicated and wise; and technocrats, although very intelligent, are rigid. Recognizing these traits that Patricia Pilcher discusses, in others and in yourself, will go a long way toward helping us to choose the right people to seek out for career advice. In addition, I have found that there are some common traits shared by all good role models: Whether young or more seasoned, they should work well with others. They’re also ethical, and they demonstrate consistency in the approach to their job and in the way they interact with peers, higher-ups, subordinates, and customers. Also, in the spirit of celebrating lifelong learning, there is no set age requirement when it comes to becoming a role model or selecting one. Anyone can have a role model—or be one. In fact, someone with many years of experience may be inspired by a younger colleague’s enthusiasm, ideas and willingness to take risks. And, finally, here’s wishing all fabricators, those who are new to the industry as well as those who are more experienced, many wonderful opportunities in the days ahead. Oh! Just think of the places we’ll go—when we have state-of-the-art technology and a good role model on our side. ExpressVol. Vol.1/12 1/12 Express



Berthold Leibinger receives LIA Schawlow Award Major honor for the Chairman of the TRUMPF Supervisory Board

Professor Berthold Leibinger, TRUMPF Group Supervisory Board Chairman

Professor Berthold Leibinger, Chairman of the TRUMPF Group Supervisory Boards, has been recognized by the Laser Institute of America with the Arthur L. Schawlow Award. This distinction is considered to be one of the most eminent decorations in the field of laser research. The jury emphasized both Leibinger’s contributions to the advancement of the TRUMPF Group, making it a global leader in the manufacture of industrial lasers and laser systems, and his activities in conjunction with the Berthold Leibinger Foundation. “Professor Berthold Leibinger

built TRUMPF into a premier worldwide manufacturing company. He was instrumental in adding industrial lasers to the product lines, making TRUMPF a leading company in this field,” noted Stephan Capp, President of the Laser Institute of America, during the award ceremonies. Under Leibinger’s leadership TRUMPF became an innovation and technology leader in the field of industrial laser technology. Lasers built by TRUMPF are used today in manufacturing in every high-tech industry, the automotive industry, microelectronics, photovoltaics, and medical technology. “The laser is a tool that makes possible new solutions in fields vital for the future – such as modern mobility or a dependable energy supply,” according to Leibinger. “I see this award as distinction for all of those of us at TRUMPF who have vigorously promoted broad-based use of laser technology.” The Arthur L. Schawlow Award has been presented annually since 1982. Previous recipients include Nobel Laureate Theodor Hänsch. This award recognizes a lifetime’s achievements in either basic or applied research for lasers, contributing to essential understanding of the interaction between light and material. The award is named after Professor Arthur L. Schawlow, who in 1981 received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to the development of laser spectroscopy. The awardees are also granted lifetime membership in the Laser Institute of America. > Additional information:

Cutting PVC-coated material with one micron lasers Problem solved It goes without saying that maintaining the surface quality of material is a high priority for sheet metal fabricators. However, material that is coated with PVC plastic vinyl to help protect it from marring and other blemishes presents a big challenge for those cutting with one micron lasers. Here’s why: One micron beams travel through coatings as if they don’t exist. The beam attempts to cut the material but it leaves the coating intact and the assist gas cannot clean out the kerf. Instead of cutting both the material and the PVC, the coating separates from the material and bubbles which can cause a collision with the nozzle. The end result is a very poor cut. Fortunately, PVC vendors are addressing the problem to make cutting PVC-coated material less of an issue for fabricators who use one micron lasers. TRUMPF is working in tandem with vendors to produce a protective coating that can be laser cut in a single run with either fiber or CO2 technologies. With this innovation, the film does not separate from the surface during the laser cutting operation and the laser user can expect an excellent cut quality. The new, improved coating features outdoor resistance of three months, and it may be easily removed in one piece > Additional information: TRUMPF Applications Department E-mail: with no blocking or tearing. 4

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Three community colleges in Connecticut selected for Manufacturing Centers Community colleges to prepare students Three community colleges in the State of Connecticut will become Manufacturing Centers that will boost job growth and help to keep the state competitive within the manufacturing sector. Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury and Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson were selected based on their ability to establish or expand manufacturing technology programs and their commitment to precision manufacturing. The creation of the three centers is in response to the passage of a bipartisan Jobs Bill in the state. Included in the bill is $17.8 million in state bond funding through FY 2013 for the

development of manufacturing programs at the three community colleges. “I believe it’s absolutely critical to enhance collaboration and partnerships between the state’s higher education system and the private sector,” said Board of Regents President Robert

A. Kennedy. “Preparing our students for a future job without fully understanding the needs of local industry is detrimental to both the students, and to our economy. Manufacturing education programs that respond to the needs of the state’s manufacturers will prepare students for the 21st century global workforce.” The three community colleges will also be responsible for providing measurable outcomes—which include students graduating from the program and final job placement in the state’s manufacturing industry. Programs must meet the specific needs of the region’s manufacturing sector, offer a standard core curriculum and industry recognized credentials.

It’s smooth sailing for the SS Bigelow TRUMPF’s technical expertise lights the way Thanks to TRUMPF employee Mike Splaine, a senior sales engineer for TruMark who works out of the company’s Farmington, Connecticut location, the seas are a little less rough these days for crew aboard the Henry B. Bigelow. This ship supports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) mission to protect, restore and manage the use of living marine, coastal and ocean resources through ecosystem-based management. The primary mission of the ship and its crew is to study and monitor fisheries throughout New England. The ship also observes weather, sea and other environmental conditions, conducts habitat assessments, and surveys marine mammal and m ar i ne bi rd populations. TRUMPF’s Mike Splaine d e s i g ne d a control panel for the SS Bigelow that represents a significant improvement in the ship’s daily operations, Laser marked control panel for the SS Bigelow

allowing the deck officers to more safely navigate the vessel. As a result of the control panel, they are now less distracted. The Bigelow Weatherdeck Lighting Control Panel is used to control all of the weatherdeck lights on the vessel, so deck officers no longer have to manually turn the lights on and off. This includes exterior house lights, rescue boat lights, embarkation lights, crab lights and fishing lights. Before the panel was installed, the ship’s officers had to control each of these lights separately via a breaker. The breakers were spread out over six separate breaker panels, and in total there were 64 breakers. This made the simple task of turning the deck lights on and off time consuming and difficult, especially in rough seas and at night. The new lighting control panel allows for these individual lights to be grouped into 14 different lighting zones. Now, using only a single switch on the control panel, the crew has the ability to switch on and off an unlimited number of lights. Additionally, LED lights have been installed at each zone to illuminate when a zone is turned on, which provides confirmation to the operator that the desired zone has been energized. A spokesperson for the SS Bigelow said that in addition to safety enhancements, the control panel has resulted in significant energy savings. He explained that in the past, lights would often be turned on at the beginning of a voyage and left on for weeks, as it was very time consuming to turn them on and off. “Now it is as simple as the flip of a switch. We are very grateful for the support we received from TRUMPF in providing the control panel.”

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Built on experience, confidence and courage Gregg Simpson has turned a small job shop into a huge success.


n the early 1900s, Plain City, Ohio was crisscrossed by the horse-drawn buggies of Amish settlers. Today all that remains of their influence are the handmade pastries of Der Dutchman Bakery and a respect for hard work and quality craftsmanship. Such traditional values combined with a thoroughly modern attitude toward technology have produced a recipe for success at Ohio Laser LLC.

Gregg Simpson, President of Ohio Laser

Finding markets for laser technology Ohio Laser’s current president, Gregg Simpson, first learned to love lasers when Peerless Saw, Ohio’s earliest adopter of laser technology, gave Simpson his first job out of Ohio State University in the 1980s. Armed with just a phone and desk, Simpson developed job shop work to keep the laser busy when it wasn’t cutting the company’s industrial-quality circular saw blades. Simpson recalls his first boss’s instructions: “Make sure you quote the work, get it laser cut, shipped, and make sure you get paid.” In 2001, Gregg Simpson took over Ohio Laser, then a small job shop with a few customers and a single laser. His first decision: invest in new laser technology. “I’m a firm believer you should offer customers the most technologically advanced laser you can afford,” says the Ohio Laser president. Integrity, quality and delivery Simpson credits a successful melding of Ohio Laser’s strengths – skilled employees and advanced technology – in achieving company goals. “Together, they enable us to do difficult, complex parts and deliver high Express Vol. 1/12



Laser cut parts stand ready for shipment

tolerances at high speeds, repeatedly and consistently.” He adds, “We can go after work others can’t do.” Procedures play a key role in the business’s success. “Unlike manufacturers making specific products, day-to-day job shop work varies significantly. So it’s even more critical to have established rules and procedures to respond to customers with a quality product on a long-term basis,” Simpson emphasizes. “We’re able to document and make sure we’re doing the right thing.” Such organization and structure has helped the company achieve and maintain ISO 9001:2008 certification. Ohio Laser’s base of loyal customers, some of which have been with the company since its beginning, praise its consistent quality and delivery. Some have admitted looking elsewhere for lower prices. “They come back to us,” Simpson explains. “A lot of business comes from competitors’ mistakes – poor cut quality or delivery. People respect what we do and how we do it. Our integrity is a competitive advantage.” The company’s thirty-two employees share a strong work ethic and willingness to learn. To sustain low staff turnover, Ohio Laser works hard to find employees with the right attitude and ethics, not just the right training. “I can always train ethical people,” says Simpson, mentioning the internal and cross-training conducted to ensure things get done at the right time and correctly. Strategic maintenance Ohio Laser also makes sure to perform all recommended machinery maintenance. Simpson credits this meticulous preventative maintenance for ensuring the machines’ tip-top performance. “We keep them clean, maintained, and don’t skimp on service,” Simpson adds that employees are particularly diligent about changing resonator water. “We have about 150,000 hours of resonator time in this building. In my ten years here, I’ve never had to replace a resonator.” Maintenance is vital to company strategy. Simpson explains, “When you buy advanced technology ahead of the crowd, you want it to still run well after everyone else has adopted it.” A 5kW laser and a promise Ohio Laser’s path towards advanced technology took an important turn in 2002, soon after the introduction of TRUMPF’s first 5,000-watt high-speed laser cutting machine. Simpson visited TRUMPF in Connecticut to buy it. Another laser machine caught his eye. Seeing TRUMPF’s first dedicated tube laser cutter in North America made Simpson wonder if he purchased the right machine. He decided to do some market research and vowed that if he ever got into the tube business, this was the machine he wanted. When Simpson finally bought the laser tube cutting machine in 2004, he didn’t have any work for it. But he knew he could find it. His wife Melissa, who currently handles Ohio 8

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“We have about 150,000 hours of resonator time in this building.”

Laser’s human resources department, was also confident. Simpson laughs, “When I bought the tube cutter she looked at me and said, ‘I have no doubts you will succeed at the tube cutting business.’ And she was right. She usually is.” High-tech expansion In 2008, the company expanded into a new energy-efficient building. Designed to be easily expandable, it housed Ohio Laser’s first laser tube cutting machine and a second, larger machine bought for its ability to process more, larger size and diameter tubes. “Initially I was looking at medium to large quantity runs,” explains Simpson. “But the newer technology allows us to set up and do shorter runs faster. Recently, Ohio Laser added a TruLaser 1030 fiber machine to accommodate a growing variety of job requests, reduce overall costs, and branch out into copper, brass and bronze as alternative markets. “We’ll see what the technology’s strengths and advantages are and how we can capitalize on them,” he says. Local approval Plain City’s settlers might not appreciate the high-tech work going on at Ohio Laser. But local banks do. “Our financial backers like our strong balance sheet, eye on costs, and business plan focused on future directions,” Simpson says proudly. Building on last year’s forty percent increase in sales, Simpson envisions continued growth. How? More value-added services, advanced technology, and staying true to their unofficial motto: say what you do and do what you say.

Tube cutting has become a successful part of the Ohio Laser business.

Ohio Laser Who:

Ohio Laser, Plain City, OH., Established in 2001.

What: A full service job shop focused on advanced laser processing and fabrication How:

TrumaBend V230 (TruBend 5230), TUBEMATIC, TruLaser Tube 7000, TRUMATIC L 3050 (TruLaser 5030), TRUMATIC L 4050 (TruLaser 5040), TRUMATIC L 2530 Plus (TruLaser 2525), TruLaser 1030 fiber

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Dream kitchen Beauty and functionality from Elica

David Lacché, Industrial Area Manager, is always looking to produce range hoods of the highest quality.


ccording to some researchers who study such things, a woman spends 18 years of her life in the kitchen. Given that startling statistic, it’s understandable that such an important room of the house should be as beautiful as it is functional. Founded 40 years ago in Fabriano Italy, Elica launched its spectacularly-designed hoods for kitchen ranges that help make the most popular room in the house a well-appointed, comfortable place in which to work. Today, Elica is the world leader in the manufacture and sale of range hoods. In addition, the company is also the European leader in the area of production and sales of electric motors for various applications. With

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3,000 employees and annual sales of about 17 million range hoods and electric motors, Elica maintains production plants in Poland, Germany, Mexico, China and India. Vast experience in the market and special attention to design, along with high quality materials and advanced technology, are the distinguishing elements of the company that has quite literally been responsible for revolutionizing the traditional image of the kitchen range hood as not only a necessity, but as a design accessory. Innovation, design and quality Elica was founded by Ermanno Casoli, who, in addition to being an inventor, was somewhat

of a traveling salesman. He carried his first range hood prototype inside a briefcase, which he displayed at an industry show held on the outskirts of Italy. Elica’s kitchen range hoods are known throughout the world as works of art, created not only with ingenious design, but with the help of high technology. Thanks to a collaboration of important Italian and foreign designers and engineers, Elica is synonymous with design and strict standards of manufacturing that proudly represent “Made in Italy” products. And not only does Elica place importance on the products it produces, but it respects the people behind those products. Thanks to its employees and the spirit of collaboration at the


company, Elica is recognized as one of the best places to work in Italy. Italy migrates to Mexico Elicamex was founded in 2006 in Queretaro, Mexico, in order to better serve its customers and improve the company’s service to the North American continent, an important target market for Elica. The facility is located at Queretaro Industrial Park and has 400 employees. Responsible for the design, development and manufacture of range hoods destined for all of the American

machines are in use 10 to 12 hours per day,” explained Mr. Lacché. “The TRUMPF equipment is used in the fabrication of all of our products, but especially for glass range hoods, decorative range hoods and designer range hoods. TRUMPF machines have high speed cutting and flexibility, which allows us to develop any form with or without embossing, in materials such as carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and other materials. The kitchen range hoods made with these machines have a tremendous amount flexibility when it comes to their design and use.”

area is going by the wayside. Customers have become more demanding in terms of functionality and décor—and the kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in the house now—if not the most popular. In fact, today’s kitchen is not just a place to cook; it is also a place where people spend lot of time with family—not just for everyday meals, but also for purposes of entertaining. “Especially with the open floor plans of homes today,” said Mr. Lacché, “Elica fulfills an important niche in the marketplace. While they bring ventilation and decoration into the

Elicamex takes great care in manufacturing products for ventilation and decoration.

markets, Elicamex is an independent company, responsible for the entire manufacturing process--from the first line the mechanical engineer draws in 3D CAD, until the kitchen range hood is packed inside the box and shipped to customers. Leadership Mr. David Lacché (Industrial Area Manager) began working with the Elica Group in 2003. “When I arrived in Mexico in 2007, the TRUMPF equipment was already installed,” he said. In fact, TRUMPF machines are used throughout the Elica group. “Currently, here at Elicamex, we have several machines that fabricate our products, and the

The most popular products fabricated at Elicamex are the Elica Under Cabinet range hoods. These economically-priced range hoods mesh well with all types of kitchens, and they, as well as other products from Elica, can be found in popular stores in Mexico and other retail outlets in North America, such as Liverpool, Sears, Wal-Mart, and Home Depot. With customers such as Whirpool, Mabe, Electrolux, Bosch, General Electric and many others, Elica is committed to the highest standards when it comes to putting the best product possible—in terms of design and its capability for ventilation. Today, the trend of buying kitchen range hoods just because they illuminate the cooking

kitchen area, they also illuminate other areas of the home and provide an aesthetic flair to parts of the home where there are no food smells to extract.” Elicamex Who: Elicamex, Quertaro, QRO, Mexico. The Mexico facility was founded in 2006. What: Designs, develops and manufactures kitchen range hoods How: TRUMATIC L 3050 (TruLaser 5030), TRUMATIC 2020R SMC (TruPunch 2020 with SheetMaster Compact) Express Vol. 1/12



Todd McAllister, Fabrication Engineering Supervisor, inspects one of the many parts created at Follett Corporation. 12 Express Vol. 1/12


Inspired by ice Follett Corporation has a history of providing cool solutions in ice and refrigeration.


ce is an integral part of our daily lives. It keeps things cold; it keeps things fresh – and for Todd McAllister, it is also a fundamental element of his career at Follett Corporation. Follett has led the industry since 1948 in designing and manufacturing high quality, innovative ice making, ice storage and ice transport solutions – many built of stainless steel. Todd started his career with Follett as a summer employee just of out high school in 1985. Follett recognized Todd’s drive and initiative and at the end of the summer, he was offered a full-time position. Since then, Todd has moved up in the ranks from shear operator in the sheet metal fabrication shop to his current role as fabrication engineering supervisor. As his responsibilities grew, so did the complexity of Follett’s product offerings. Because of his professional and “hands on” experience Todd was called upon to provide input and analysis to significant capital expenditure decisions. For example, in 1998 when the company decided to increase their bending capabilities by purchasing a TrumaBend V130 (TruBend 5130), Todd reviewed the equipment from a programming perspective. Todd remembers, “We considered all the factors. The 3D graphics on the control system, the availability of offline programming, the 6-axis back-gauge and the tooling system all factored into the decision.” For Follett Corporation, all of these factors were important

Follett’s latest medical grade refrigerator with full stainless cabinet.

to understanding the productivity of the machine. “We could set it up faster than any other press brake - and at the end of the day, we could produce more parts.” A year later, when the decision was made to look for a laser cutting system, Follett did their research. While TRUMPF was a natural contender due to the positive experience the company had with the press brake, Follett also examined other options. “For about six months to a year, we researched to find the best laser resonator on the market.” From there, secondary requirements were considered before making a decision. According to Todd, “TRUMPF offered the whole package; the resonator, the productivity, the storage system, and was a company we were familiar with in software, service and support.” In the end, they decided to purchase the TruLaser 3030. “The result was an increase in production and quality. All of our steel parts from flat sheet are manufactured in-house on our machines; none are outsourced.” With high-quality production and a dedication to research and development, Follett continued to be a profitable growth company despite the economic downturn. “Our company invests significantly in research and development and has continued to launch new and Express Vol. 1/12



Todd McAllister oversees production (left). Many products, such as the 7 Series ice and water dispenser (above), are small enough to fit on a tabletop.

One of thousands of stainless steel parts produced at Follett Corporation in Easton, PA.

innovative products to address the needs of our customers.” Follett has added significantly to its product portfolio since Todd started in 1985 and is now a leader in medical grade refrigeration and provides the broadest line of ice storage and transportation equipment in the industry. Follett products require thousands of stainless steel parts for their production. Over the years, Todd has programmed a variety of fabrication equipment for sheet metal in order to meet Follett’s needs. As an early user of the TruTops software, Todd remembers, “The software resulted in a substantial improvement in terms of my productivity. With our prior system there were tasks that required two or three hours of programming. The same tasks now take only 15- 20 minutes with the new software. It gives my staff and me a great sense of satisfaction to be able to improve processes so dramatically.” For new or redesigned parts Todd explains, “We continue to reduce our processing times by creating programs in TruTops. Our programmers have everything necessary to program the part entirely offline, including the set up and all the tools.” In addition, TruTops Monitor provides machine status and key figures in real time for immediate adjustments while the JobOrderInterface option eliminates redundancy 14 Express Vol. 1/12

and data entry mistakes by allowing data flow between existing MRP systems and the TruTops software. In addition to the increase in productivity, Todd also recognizes the support he receives when new programming challenges arise. “Whether we have a question on a simple parameter change or how to produce a part, the support group is phenomenal.” With Todd and his team’s continued dedication to improving the design and efficiency of the manufacturing processes, Follett Corporation can continue to grow its portfolio of high-quality products for the food service and health care markets around the world—right down to the last bend. Follett Corporation Who: Follett Corporation, Easton, PA. Established in 1948. What: Designs and manufactures solutions for ice making, storage and transport. How:

2 x TRUMABEND V130 (TruBend 5130), TruBend 5130, TRUMATIC L 3030 (TruLaser 3030)

Special Through thick and thin, with TRUMPF machines

Choosing your laser

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Solid-state or CO2 lasers? The discussion continues. But the answer is actually quite simple: It’s the application that solves the debate.

It all depends on the track

X-raid GmbH

Similar to high-performance off-road vehicles that compete in desert rallies, CO2 laser machines bite their way through material of any thickness and seldom encounter problems, even where material quality levels are erratic.

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“The two technologies complement each other. The solid-state laser is good, fast and efficient for high pressure cutting in thin sheet steel. But the CO2 laser continues to be the right choice for nitrogen-blanketed cutting of thicker sheeting, especially in view of the quality of the cutting edge.“

Claus Schaupp, Marquardt & Schaupp GmbH

Dr. Ing. h. c . F.  Porsche AG


hings are often not quite as complex as they This seem. The heated discussion among laser “speed manufacturers and research institutes, going demon” will do on for quite some time now, has been its work in thicker considered with much more composure by gauges of mild steel, but what it can’t customers. The users, regardless of whether at achieve is the flexible, universal use of its a job shop or mass-production manufacturer, gas-blown counterpart. It has to pass on thick are interested in the task to be accomplished stainless steel, for instance. Its favorite task and in the overall package of “laser plus is cutting thin sheet metal, to a maximum of machine.” What matter are the efficiency and 0.2 inches. the economies of the production system. That The difference between these two beam is why users will make a conscious decision in sources, and highly relevant to the application, favor of either a spirited speedster or a is the laser beam wavelength. The CO2 laser produces ten-micrometer light in the middle rugged SUV. The CO2 laser cutting machine defends its infrared range, the best spectrum for industrial position as a versatile “off-road vehicle.” With use. By contrast, solid-state lasers in the multiup to eight kilowatts of laser output, it eats kilowatt range generate waves that are one through steel sheet from 0.02 to 1.25 inches tenth as long — at about one micrometer. These thick. That’s ideal for the challenges to be shorter-wave emissions have a decisive impact mastered by many suppliers, characterized by on the machining process. Since many metallic quick product changes and small batch sizes. materials more readily absorb shorter-wave There the CO2 laser, in fusion cutting, achieves light, higher process efficiency is possible — at good to excellent results, in materials from thin least for thin-gauge sheet metal. And in any to thick. It is technically mature and engineered case, nonferrous metals such as copper can be to survive the rugged industrial environment. cut cleanly only with this wavelength. The CO2 The solid-state laser, by contrast, is predestined laser, by contrast, is simply “a cut above” when for thin material and maximum cutting speeds. working sheet metal thicker than 0.2 inches.

Just like stock cars, solid-state machines prefer certain kinds of “pavement,” namely mild steel and thin sheet metal. Under those conditions they can reach extreme speeds.

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Complex connector assemblies can be made on a tube cutting machine fitted with a CO2 laser.

Even when processing heavygauge stainless steel, the CO2 laser executes a perfect cut.

“Since we work with all types of materials, including aluminum and stainless steel, up to 1 inch, the flexibility of the CO2 laser is more than welcome in our operations.“ The CO2 laser welds the body and the cover to form a gas-tight case for a gasoline filter.

Dietmar Dirks, Röhrig GmbH & Co. KG

Foil-finished sheet metal or nonferrous metals like copper and brass? Not a problem at all for the solid-state laser.

“Solid-state lasers are energy-efficient and far more economical in use. I will be using it to cut thin sheet metal, which accounts for about fifty percent of my production.“ John Feijen, Metaal Techniek BV

The solid-state laser shows its strength when welding automobile body parts. Rapid and exact beam guidance makes for smaller flanges — in remote welding, too.

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Delicate and complex patterns are in good hands with the solid-state laser, as is demonstrated by this stainless steel watch face.

”The solid-state laser will dominate in three-dimensional cutting and for thinner sheet metal. But we will still continue to use CO2 machines, even though we’ll be changing over to the solid-state laser for auto body components 0.1 inches thick.“

Erhard Hujer, Hujer Lasertechnik GmbH


The CO2 laser is the tool of choice when executing deep welds in stainless steel turbine rotors.

The deciding factor here is the laser beam’s steeper incidence angle in thicker sheet, which is good for the CO2 laser. By contrast, this tends to slow the solid-state laser and that results in undesirable micro-burring. Opinions differ in regard to the economics. It is necessary to determine which factors actually have a major impact on costs. Electrical power and shielding gas consumption, not really deserving of all of the attention they often receive, actually account for only about three percent of the costs for manufactured parts. What’s left are the labor costs, which will usually depend on the machine and its features, and the capital expenditures for the machine itself. The machine’s hourly rate offers some orientation, but even more important is how many parts the machine turns out per hour. Calculations using these two aspects will result in the cost per part produced. To take just one example: When fusion cutting stainless steel up to 0.16 inches thick, the TruLaser 5030 fiber machine with a three kilowatt solid-state laser reaches advancing speeds of up to three times that of a comparable CO2 device with five kilowatts of laser power. That can reduce the time needed to process a sheet by as much as forty-five percent and that cuts the costs per part significantly. The solid-state laser offers additional cost-savings potential, since the source can be integrated into a network and used by several machines. Systems that do not operate around the clock are especially suitable for this choice. In a punch-laser combination machine, for example, the laser is active for only a

small percentage of the total time needed for processing. It is idle during the setup and punching phases. The situation is similar in laser welding due to the need to install fixtures. Solid-state lasers can significantly boost efficiency here, since they can switch from one application to another in mere milliseconds. The machines are under the intelligent control of the LaserNetwork and will automatically “capture” the laser beam when it is needed for cutting. That’s definitely a system with a rosy future.

Solid-state lasers are wellsuited for perforating and texturizing solar cells. They can also apply the appropriate data matrix code.

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“Many processes used in laser machining are not yet fully understood,” notes Michael von Borstel.


“Any number of new uses will be identified in the future for both CO2 and solid-state lasers.” Klaus Wallmeroth is convinced of that.

Peaceful coexistence?

The future of the laser and the question of whether the solid-state laser might one day unseat the CO2 laser was the subject discussed by Klaus Wallmeroth and Michael von Borstel. They are responsible for the development and manufacture of both types of lasers at TRUMPF. Welcome to the ongoing dispute about the right laser … Klaus Wallmeroth (interrupts with a laugh): Dispute? I’m going to have to disappoint you there. My colleague and I are both deeply convinced of the need for both laser worlds to exist side by side. Michael von Borstel: And it’s a peaceful coexistence, too, because both the solid-state and the CO2 laser, each with its specific strengths, will be able to hold their positions for a long time to come. If that’s true, then why has the discussion become so heated and, in fact, almost elevated to a question of faith? 20 Express Vol. 1/12

Wallmeroth: That has clearly been driven by certain interested parties’ marketing efforts. Resorting to highly simplified arguments, some people were taking advantage of stereotypes. Von Borstel: The selection of the right laser is determined by the task associated with the particular application. The deciding factors are the individual requirements of each type of application. What is the domain of the solid-state laser? Wallmeroth: In thin-sheet metal processing the solid-state laser — and that means the disk or fiber laser — is in the lead by a length. Its high

speeds in fusion cutting are exciting. There are physical reasons for this. When cutting thin-gauge sheet metal and due in part to the high cutting speeds, flat cutting fronts are created, with a small angle of incidence. Solid-state lasers work at a one-micrometer wavelength and this is readily absorbed under these conditions. Consequently, the disk or fiber laser can advance quickly. The same is true for nonferrous metals. Copper and brass absorb the shorter waves far better than the tenmicrometer CO2 laser light. But the capital costs for solid-state lasers are also higher … Wallmeroth: That’s true in many cases. But thanks to the higher processing speeds, making for lower part costs, this higher investment is quickly amortized. And in a growing number of applications the procurement costs can be kept down from the very outset by having two or more machines work together in the TRUMPF LaserNetwork. A fiber optics filament, known as the optical waveguide, is used making it possible for a a TruLaser 1030 fiber and a TruLaser Robot 5020 to share a TruDisk laser. It can’t be much more economical than that. Well then, Dr. von Borstel, what’s left for the CO2 laser? Von Borstel: With its ten-micrometer wavelength, the CO2 laser clearly holds an advantage as sheet thickness increases. That’s because, as opposed to the solid-state laser, the steeper the cutting angle, the better the CO2 laser works. As of an incidence angle of 80 degrees, laser power interfaces ideally with the metal. If the temperature rises, this effect is reinforced. And, not only when fusion cutting thicker mild steel, stainless steel or aluminum, but across the entire spectrum of sheet metal thicknesses, the CO2 laser excites users as a universal tool with consistent high cutting quality and good working speeds.

KD Busch

Has the development of the CO2 laser come to the end of its technological road? Von Borstel: I don’t think we’ve reached the end of the development cycle. Even though the CO2 laser is a well-established technology, it is continuously being optimized. The newest developments have improved

“We are continuing to optimize the CO2 laser and are doing a better job of matching its laser beam to the demands of the particular application.“ Michael von Borstel the energy efficiency of the CO2 laser and process efficiency by further improving the interface of the power with the material.In addition, the beam characteristics are being better matched to the specific requirements of the application. There are two designs for solid-state lasers, Dr. Wallmeroth, the disk and the fiber. Does the principle of peaceful coexistence apply here, too? Wallmeroth: That’s absolutely true. The relatively rugged disk type dominates the multi-kilowatt range. The fiber laser, sensitive to reflections, is found above all in the fine cutting sector. But is it still conceivable that TRUMPF — some day in the future — might fit a classic sheet metal cutting machine with a fiber laser? Wallmeroth: There are no developments right now that would dissuade us from our conviction — that the disk laser is the solid-state laser better suited for use in the multi-kilowatt range. That is why I foresee the fiber laser as more likely to take its place in machine tools engineered for very specific segments such as is already the case today for the TruLaser Cell Series 3000. Equipped with a TruFiber laser, it capitalizes on the strengths of this beam source in detailed machining when processing delicate components, such as medical instruments and implants. Is there still uncharted territory in regard to the laser? Von Borstel: Many of the processes in laser machining are not fully understood. This means that we often know what happens, but still have no idea why it happens. The new infrared technology at the Institute for Beam Emission Tooling at the University of Stuttgart has let us peer through the technological “keyhole.” We now know that the CO2 laser beam is absorbed uniformly across the entire depth of the irradiation front, while in the solid-state lasers the absorption is not so uniform. This leads to turbulence and spatter. Wallmeroth: Things are really moving along right now in regard to short-pulse lasers. One goal is to separate materials like tempered glass or carbon fiber reinforced plastics that can’t be otherwise processed. To do this, high-powered lasers in the green spectrum are being developed. These lasers promise interesting new applications in the fields of electromobility and photovoltaics, for instance. And we shouldn’t lose sight of the rapid developments in diode lasers. In short: Even fifty years after the first laser flash was produced, this tool has remained young. Any number of new uses will be identified in the future for both CO2 and solid-state lasers.

“The relatively rugged disk dominates the multi-kilowatt range, while the fiber laser, more sensitive to reflections, shows its strength in cutting delicate patterns.“ Klaus Wallmeroth

Express Vol. 1/12


03  a

CO 2 lasers High value, powerful and flexible: TRUMPF machines fitted with CO2 lasers can take every sheet metal gauge.

The TruLaser 3030 works, with a single cutting head, sheet metal up to 1 inch thick.

Intelligent solutions fashioned from tubes and profiles. The TruLaser Tube 7000 turns out high-quality cuts.

Amenable to automation and flexible as well: the TruLaser Cell 7040 for 3D laser cutting and welding.

CO² Laser — machines now available:  TruLaser 1030 +++ TruLaser Series 2000 +++ TruLaser Series 3000 +++ TruLaser Series 5000 +++ TruLaser Series 7000 +++ TruLaser 8000 +++ TruLaser Cell 1100 +++ TruLaser Cell Series 7000 +++ TruMatic 6000 +++ TruMatic 7000 +++ TruLaser Tube Series 5000 +++ TruLaser Tube Series 7000 +++

22 Express Vol. 1/12

The TruLaser 8000 makes it possible to work sheet metal panels up to 52.5 feet long.

Solid-state lasers — machines now available:  TruLaser 1030 fiber +++ TruLaser 5030 fiber +++ TruLaser Series 7000 fiber +++ TruLaser Cell 1100 fiber +++ TruLaser Cell Series 3000 +++ TruLaser Cell 7040 fiber +++ TruLaser Cell 8030 +++ TruLaser Robot 5020 +++

Developed to cut hot-formed parts: the TruLaser Cell 8030, a 3D laser cutting machine.

Powered by a TruDisk laser, the TruLaser 5030 fiber cuts thin sheet metal most profitably.

Complex 3D geometries are joined quickly, with a tight welding seam, by the TruLaser Robot 5020.


Solid-state lasers Quick, precise and efficient: The TRUMPF SSL machines are ready to go whenever cutting and welding are the order of the day.

03  b

Express Vol. 1/12



New applications in materials processing, revolutionary developments, and novel machines. A retrospective view of more than fifty years of laser history.

Milestones 1979 //

1960 //

In May of 1960, Dr. Theodore H. Maiman ignites the first flash of laser light. A ruby serves as the resonator; the pump source is a photo flash.

1967 //

Cutting sheet metal  The steady expansion of laser cutting begins with the first properly functioning cutting gas nozzle. This is accompanied by growth in the job shop market and the development of easy-to-operate laser machines suitable for industrial use.


TRUMPF presents the first combination punching and laser cutting machine. Serving as the beam sources are two CO2 lasers from the USA, with 500 and 700 watts of power.

// TRUMPF makes its debut as a manufacturer of lasers. The first CO2 laser to be developed and produced by the company, the TLF 1000, boasts more than one kilowatt of beam power and is the first compact laser resonator with radiofrequency excitation.




1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 19


1964 //

CO² laser It is with this class of lasers that highperformance lasers make their debut in materials processing. They deliver high output even in CW mode, and at justifiable energy efficiency levels.

24 Express Vol. 1/12

1971 // 1965

around // Laser marking The thought of using lasers to engrave metals and other materials arose quite early on. But it took almost ten years until easily controlled systems appeared, suitable for industrial use.

Carl Haas in Schramberg, Germany launches the development of solid-state lasers. Today the company is a member of the TRUMPF Group.




// Welding tailored blanks These parts, shaped to exact specifications, make a significant contribution to lighter and more economical vehicles. Today more than four hundred automatic laser units for these blanks are in use, and the number continues to rise.

“We are putting our faith in the LaserNetwork, where a laser resonator serves several machines – such as a laser cutting system, a combination machine, and a welding robot. This makes for a decisive competitive advantage in the global market.”

1992 // Stent

slitting Medical technology is a fine example of how the laser revolutionized an industry. When worldwide demand for stents began its rapid climb, the laser was the first choice for their manufacture.


Dr Mathias Kammüller, Head of the TRUMPF Machine tool and Power tool division

1995 // TRUMPF expands its product portfolio by integrating processes such as laser welding and tube processing. In the TRUMATIC LY 2500 flat-bed machine, a solid-state laser cuts thin sheet metal for the first time.

2012 // With the TruLaser 1030 fiber, TRUMPF presents a machine

distinguished by low investment and operating costs and simplicity in operation. The TruDisk 2001 laser enables fast advancing in thin sheet metal up to 0.12 inches thick and use in networked operations.




 86 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012


TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG, Herzapfelhof


2000 1988 //

Pumping with diode lasers The laser comprised of only a solid-state exciter makes great strides in efficiency and power and begins appearing in welding, drilling, marking, and – to a growing extent – cutting applications.

// TRUMPF shows the TRUMATIC L 3000, a flat-bed laser cutting machine with flying optics. Here it is not the workpiece that is moved; instead the machining head “flies” over the metalsheet.



2010 // In addition to the CO models, the disk 2

laser stakes out territory for itself – as the joint beam source for two applications in the LaserNetwork or a high-productivity solution for thin sheet processing in the TruLaser 5030 fiber.

2011 //

40 years of laser technology at TRUMPF — twenty thousand CO2 lasers are in the market, all around the world.

Express Vol. 1/12


A guide to the language of lasers

Key terms Absorption In the world of materials processing, this describes the absorption of the laser light by the workpiece. The degree of absorption — the amount of laser light accepted — at any given wavelength will vary from one material to the next. Conversely: A material will exhibit differing degrees of absorption for differing wavelengths. Over and above that, the degree of absorption will depend on the incidence angle, the temperature, the aggregate state, and the surface properties of the material. Beam path The path between the beam source and the optics, including the components that deflect the laser beam. Laser beams can be guided in a closed space — in protective steel tubes or pleated bellows, for instance. Laser beams from solid-state and diode lasers can be passed to the processing optics by fiber optic cables. Beam quality Fundamental characteristic of the laser beam. The beam quality describes the propagation behavior of the laser beam and thus its amenability to

focusing. The beam quality is determined by the divergence of the beam after the first “waist” and the diameter. Characteristic values that describe beam quality are the beam parameter product, the M² value, and the beam quality factor K. CO2 gas laser Common type of laser for materials processing. The laser light is created in a mix of gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N2) and helium (He). It is the CO2 molecule that actually emits the laser light. Nitrogen and helium are auxiliary gases. The wavelength of the CO2 laser, at 10.6 micrometers, lies in the middle of the infrared spectrum. Cutting gas Gas that supports a machining process. In laser cutting the gas will, for example, blow the molten material out of the kerf. Divergence Laser beams are coherent but, they are not parallel beams. Instead, they vary slightly from parallel and will spread out over distance. This spread is known as divergence. The

divergence angle tells us how far the laser beam spreads. Processing optics This optical system focuses the laser beam with mirrors or lenses. They also contain interfaces to the machine, used by sensors among other thingsand can feed supplementary materials and gases. Processing parameters Influencing factors with which the machining process can be controlled. Examples include laser power, power density, focus diameter, focal position, machining speed and operating mode. Solid-state laser A type of laser commonly found in materials processing. The active medium is a doped crystal or glass. Typical examples are Nd:YAG and Yb:YAG (neodymium-doped and ytterbi um-doped yttrium-aluminumgarnet) or Yb:Glass. The wavelength of the solid-state laser will depend primarily on the doping ion and is about one micrometer for the media mentioned above.

TRUMPF Special Published by TRUMPF Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH + Co. KG, Johann-Maus-Straße 2, 71254 Ditzingen, Germany, Responsible for the content Mathias Kammüller Dr. Eng. Editor-in-chief Anke Roser Edited by pr+co gmbh, Stuttgart, Norbert Hiller, Julia Schmidt Translation Stewart Lindemann, Wuppertal Photography KD Busch, Udo Loster, Gernot Walter Layout and production pr+co. gmbh, Stuttgart; Gernot Walter, Markus Weißenhorn Reproduction Reprotechnik Herzog GmbH, Stuttgart Printed by frechdruck GmbH, Stuttgart

26 Express Vol. 1/12


Struggling immigrant Fabian De Domenico became a successful business owner through hard work and wise investments.

Old World Values, New World Technology A balance of human and machine intelligence is this family business’ secret to success.


hen Fabian De Domenico arrived in Canada from Italy on Oct. 26, 1967, he had $20 in his pocket, a suitcase full of old clothes, and a dream. With him were his wife of two years, Maria, and his 1-year-old daughter Toni . A second daughter, Sandy, would be born shortly after the family arrived. The De Domenicos settled in a threebedroom apartment. For a while, they had little but a roof

over their heads. Furniture, for the struggling new immigrants, was a luxury for which they would have to wait. Young Fabian De Domenico was no stranger to hardship: In his short life, he had known nothing else. His father had already died when he was born in 1945, in Villa Decani, a small town in what is now Slovenia, within walking distance of the Italian border. Too poor to afford shoes, Fabian went Express Vol. 1/12


”The puzzle came together by working with the customers and working with the good technology.”

Steve De Domenico, Director of Operations, at Fabcrest Metal Products, Inc.

barefoot, dropped out of school to work at age 13, and lived for three years in a refugee camp with his mother, half-siblings, and stepfather. When he arrived in Canada in his early 20s, De Domenico was determined to provide a different life for his children. He had worked as a metalworker in a shipyard in Italy, and quickly found similar work in Canada. As his family grew to four children, De Domenico learned English, saved money and looked for an opportunity to start his own business. That opportunity came in the mid-1980s, when De Domenico bought into a small manufacturer for $28,000, sold out 14 months later for $40,000, and used that capital to start his own company, Fabcrest Metal Products Inc. “When I started, I never believed I would be so successful,” De Domenico recalls. “In the beginning it was very hard. We didn’t have any money and we didn’t have any equipment.” One of De Domenico’s first investments was a welding machine purchased at an auction in Cambridge, Ontario, and transported back to the outskirts of Toronto, about 60 miles away. Shipping was prohibitively expensive, so De Domenico bought an 8-year-old GMC pickup truck for $500 to transport 28 Express Vol. 1/12

the welder. The beat-up brown pickup became Fabcrest’s first company vehicle. Often, in the early years, De Domenico worked until 3 a.m., went home to sleep, and was back in the metal shop by 6 a.m. Until his dream began turning a profit, most of the family’s income came from De Domenico’s second job – as a wedding photographer. As his customer base and work volume grew, De Domenico knew he needed faster, more automated equipment to keep up with the demand. Ever frugal and ingenious, Fabian first redesigned the machines he had to dramatically increase their productivity. He added a multiple punching tool to his punch press that could create many holes at once, and retrofitted his bending machines to perform multiple bends in one set-up. But soon, even the retrofitted machines couldn’t do enough to keep up with his workload. In 2001, the company moved from its original 6,000-squarefoot workshop to a more modern, 50,000-square-foot building a few miles away and son Steve De Domenico, who had been his father’s right-hand-man since age 17, purchased the company’s first TRUMPF machine.


Quality sheet metal fabrication is the daily focus at Fabcrest.

“Even though it’s more money, we’re getting a way better machine,” said Steve De Domenico, who says he was impressed with TRUMPF’s reputation for reliability and accuracy, as well as the “red carpet service” he received when he contacted the company. “I know what I’m doing,” he told his father. “You see that there’s going to be support behind their product.” The De Domenicos weren’t disappointed in their TRUMPF investment. Fabcrest now owns nine TRUMPF machines – and say the speed, accuracy, reliability and high-tech efficiency have allowed the company to keep prices low while creating top-quality products. “TRUMPF made me grow, to be honest,” Fabian De Domenico said. “(We have) no headaches, no rejects, no problems.” In fact, Fabcrest highlights the TRUMPF machines in several promotional videos on the Fabcrest Web site. Steve De Domenico says customers recognize the TRUMPF brand as being synonymous with quality. TRUMPF machines and Fabcrest innovation “made a difference” to Willie Moskowitz, the president of Torontobased WD Vending Systems Inc., who had been “tortured” by a previous vending machine manufacturer before turning to Fabcrest for help in 2008. The previous vending machine supplier, Moskowitz said, had been unable to correct problems with inconsistent and poor-quality parts, slow turnaround time, and machines that were damaged in transit. When he reached out to Fabcrest, the company redesigned the machines to ship better and operate more smoothly, and took care of every step of the manufacturing process, from drawing up plans to transporting the vending machines to their final destination. The changes helped turn his small home business into a $7.5 million revenue-maker in a year, Moskowitz says. Fabcrest was able to increase output from 200 to 2,000 machines a month and of the 15,000 vending machines Fabcrest has built, not one has had a defect, according to Fabcrest and Moskowitz. “They take on a project and they deliver what they say they are going to,” Moskowitz said of Fabcrest. “They take you in almost like a family member in terms of delivering a product to you.” Today, twenty-six years after it was founded, Fabcrest is a thriving company with 34 employees and hundreds of loyal clients. But it remains a family affair – top management is composed of Fabian, the president and founder; his daughters, controller Toni (De Domenico) Domini, and Director of Sales and Marketing Sandy De Domenico-Carless; and Steve, who is

the company’s director of operations. (De Domenico’s fourth child, daughter Susy, worked as an office administrator until recently when she left the company to pursue a career as a chef. The secret to Fabcrest’s success, the family and customers say, lies in a harmonious balance of human intelligence and machine intelligence; the new and the time-tested; automation and individualized; real-live-person service. “The puzzle came together by working with the customers and working with the good technology,” Fabian De Domenico said. “Without the technology, I wouldn’t be able to be like this. (Buying TRUMPF machines) was the right decision.” Fabcrest Metal Products, Inc. Who: Fabcrest Metal Products, Inc., Concord, ON, Canada. Established in 1986. What: Complete contract manufacturer of fabricated metal products including part engineering or redesign and finishing. How:

TC 2020 (TruPunch 2020), TC 5000 (TruPunch 5000), 2 x TrumaBend V130 (TruBend 5130), TrumaBend V85S (TruBend 5085), TruBend 7036, TruBend 5170, TruBend 5230, TruLaser 2030 with Automation

Express Vol. 1/12



1,770 separate façade panels needed to be properly sorted. Scherrer spread them over 30 batches and put them together in the right order for assembly. Warning signs reminded the workforce not to alter the order of the components on the pallets. Color and numerical coding (above) guaranteed that every component wound up at the right place.

30 Express Vol. 1/12


1,770-piece puzzle Scherrer Metec AG clad large buildings with distinctive individual parts.

A Swiss company, Scherrer Metec AG, was kept dismantled the whole into 1,770 parts. Scherrer busy solving a different kind of puzzle. The then used a TruPunch 1000 to cut the oblong work of art involved comprises 1,770 parts — perforations, in four lengths, out of the panels, and they’re not made of cardboard, but rather which measure up to 3,910 millimeters in height of anodized aluminum, three millimeters thick and 499 millimeters in width. Eighty different and weighing up to forty kilograms each. When tooling setup plans were necessary to cope with put together, they form the façade of a large the eighty panel types. The façade specialists Swiss corporation’s service center. Data are used twenty-four punching tools to carry out processed in the offices there, and traces of some 1.8 million stamping operations — up to that data wind their way outside and around 1,200 strokes per part. A bending machine was the square building. Each panel is perforated developed specifically to shape the panels for with oval apertures in four different lengths — this project. It crimped both edges at an angle symbolizing bits. of 94.77 degrees. Then the puzzle was put back That’s certainly an exciting idea, but together again. Colors and numerical coding one that’s difficult to materialize. Those ensured that each façade component found Swiss engineers used CAD to unfold all the its place among its neighbors and that none profiles — virtually creating a total surface of the panels was lost. area. They then drew in the data track and Express Vol. 1/12


An illuminating agent XtraLight defines state-of-the-art, energy-efficient lighting


t’s found in our homes and offices and on our shop floors, as well as in retail stores, hospitals, schools, sports arenas, and in virtually every other venue that you can imagine. However, in spite of its ubiquitous nature, lighting remains somewhat of an enigma. Fluorescent lighting, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), light emitting diodes (LEDs), high-intensity discharge lights (HID), and incandescent bulbs. The choices are many, and if you’re not already confused by the sheer number of available options when it comes to the light bulbs themselves, the other conundrum involves the type of fixture in which to house them. As Blanche DuBois, the fictional character in Tennessee Williams’ 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” said after she’d purchased a paper lantern, “I can’t stand a naked light bulb.” Neither can Jerry Caroom, CEO of Houston, Texas-based XtraLight Manufacturing. Founded in 1986, the company specializes in inventing and creating high-performance, energy-efficient lighting fixtures and retrofit kits. XtraLight celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, and works to take the mystery out of lighting projects for commercial, retail, institutional and industrial projects. The company, which has helped hundreds of lighting professionals complete thousands of successful, energy-efficient lighting projects, has a reputation for moving jobs forward, faster, more accurately 32 Express Vol. 1/12

and without confusion— resulting in quick installations with less overall project costs. Great gadgets Thanks to a technologically sophisticated video teleconferencing system that links XtraLight Manufacturing’s Houston, Arkansas and Louisiana locations, Jerry can be in multiple places at once. In fact, this system has significantly reduced the number of flights that Jerry has had to make in the corporate jet, although as an accomplished pilot, he still keeps the ability to quickly be on site when needed. While the situation may all sound a little James Bond-like with its sophisticated equipment and private planes, Jerry cautions that “there are no rock stars” at XtraLight, even though the company invented, and then patented, the first fluorescent high bay (FHB®) in 1999, a success that literally revolutionized the lighting industry. Some 13 years later, XtraLight Manufacturing continues to use its technology and expertise to produce enhanced, cost-effective lighting solutions. The company’s business philosophy is simple: Provide products that are in the best interest to customers, and design and deliver common sense lighting solutions. In fact, Jerry is so passionate about helping people experience cost savings driven by energy-efficient lighting solutions, that he invites all fabricators who read the TRUMPF Express to contact him for a complimentary energy analysis of their business, which is generated using software designed and developed by XtraLight to provide comprehensive


analysis and solutions. Readers are welcome to contact him and mention this opportunity at 1-800-678-6960. The XtraLight methodology takes into account your project goals: desired light levels, energy cost reduction, carbon footprint reduction, and maintenance cost reduction. Each category is then optimized using state-of-the-art processes balanced with real-world common sense. You can generally expect to reduce you electric bill by 20 to 40 percent. With XtraLight’s energy-efficient lighting fixtures and now with the rise in LED lights, some companies may be able to save as much as 75 percent on their lighting costs. Powerful values Before buying XtraLight and becoming its sole shareholder, Jerry was an electrical contractor who specialized in lighting solutions for public school systems. His company focused on providing energy-efficient lighting upgrades for school districts across the Southern U.S. He successfully installed more than 500 district-wide school lighting projects, while also expanding his expertise to execute large lighting projects for major hospitals, colleges, universities, and industrial customers. Jerry’s auditing and accounting background has provided a foundation for understanding customer needs for cost reduction projects, which has helped XtraLight achieve much success. He received his undergraduate degree in financial management from the University of Arkansas, and an M.B.A. degree from Pepperdine University. That Jerry ended up in manufacturing is no surprise. His grandfather, a Harvard Ph.D. and former college professor, “made the point to me when I was young that you do what you can to give back to your community,” Jerry explained. “Manufacturing clearly values giving back to the community, and I’ve always focused on that. I work to keep other people working.” Embracing the burden Three of the machines XtraLight employees operate are TRUMPF’s TruPunch 3000 model. In fact, XtraLight Manufacturing purchased the first three TruPunch 3000 machines in North America, which not only increased their current capacity, but is doing so with less energy usage. The acquisition was made to replace older, TRUMPF TruPunch 2020 machines. The TruPunch 3000, with its electric punching head technology, provides increased cycle times, thereby getting fabricated projects into the assembly and installer’s hands quickly—another key contributing factor toward XtraLight’s success. Ease of use, flexibility, speed, and reliability all contribute to XtraLight Manufacturing’s decision to use TRUMPF machines, said Jerry, who explained that the TRUMPF machines eliminate the need to purchase extra tooling. “From concept to a physical part takes only minutes,” he said. “Almost immediately a design concept can be fed to fabrication, produced and put into assembly.” This type of efficiency, said Jerry, allows for XtraLight to adhere to a 10-day delivery policy. Yet there is no inventory and no stock with the TRUMPF equipment. He explained that existing stock is not forced onto XtraLight’s customers; instead, the burden is placed squarely on the company’s assembly lines. From the pilot seat where Jerry Caroom sits, it’s a burden with positive implications for his customers, and, ultimately, for XtraLight Manufacturing.

Jerry Caroom, CEO of XtraLight Manufacturing Energy efficiency is a primary focus from production to the end product.

XtraLight Manufacturing Who:

XtraLight Manufacturing, Houston, TX., Founded in 1987.

What: Specializes in the design and manufacture of lighting fixtures and retrofit kits How:

3 x TruPunch 3000

Express Vol. 1/12



After decades of design and consideration, Robert R. Bruno completed his revolutionary steel home.

34 Express Vol. 1/12


A legend lives on through his house of steel A retrospective on

Robert R. Bruno: 1945-2008


ome people think he was a little crazy, Texas to teach at Texas Tech, approached his others say he was a genius. However, one decades-long project in a manner that was fluid thing that just about everyone agrees and organic. The project seemed to guide the on is that Robert R. Bruno was a kind soul, artist-architect instead of Mr. Bruno’s guiding and an extremely talented, if not somewhat the project. Originally, the steel house was unusual, figure in the world of architecture. supposed to be one story, but he kept adding on Perched on the edge of a canyon, like a gigantic, to it, building and removing walls as he followed mutated mushroom, Mr. Bruno’s masterpiece, some unknown cadence that can only be his 110-ton architectural sculpture—a house described as the heartbeat of artistic expression. built entirely of welded steel and located in the All of the walls in Robert Bruno’s metal mansion Ransom Canyon region of Lubbock, Texas— are either welded metal, or original glass and has drawn critical acclaim from people stained glass creations, with the latter being an throughout the world. The spirit of the artist, understated acknowledgement to the artist’s who passed away in December 2008 of love of Catholic iconography. complications from cancer, remains alive and One of the artist’s neighbors, an anonymous well on the internet, where a diverse group commenter who posted about the project on of people, from architectural students and the Internet, said that Robert Bruno had built professionals, to regular folks continue to himself into the imaginations of the community comment on his talent and his remarkable around him. “Bruno and his voluptuous muse commitment to the construction of his were the sole source of palpable, vibrant energy house, an artistic expression that took 35 for the whole of an otherwise sleepy community long years to complete. of canyon dwellers. Neighbors in the canyon Known by many as the “Metal Mansion,” always seemed to be feeding the rumor mill— Robert Bruno’s house is now owned by his that Bruno was into sacred geometry and had family, who opens its doors to the public bizarre mathematically esoteric blueprints that only on occasion for special events. factored in celestial and solar movements.” In Robert Bruno’s obituary, it was noted However, Robert Bruno’s explanation that his home was the backdrop for the 2007 of his project was, while unorthodox by Fall Neiman Marcus fashion catalog, and it architectural standards, not quite as colorful as has appeared on HGTV’s “Extreme Homes” his neighbors’ versions. and The Learning Channel. In the April 2007 issue of AIA Architect The year before his death, Robert moved into magazine, Robert Bruno explained his his work of art, which was designed to maximize project: “It isn’t that we’re looking for the one’s visual experience and optimize light. By silliness of a maze; we’re looking at a higher his inexact account, the structure is about 2,700 order of complexity.” He said that the reality square feet. He was quoted as saying, “What of the marketplace dictates that an architect you’re seeing is 35 years of design, not three communicates the concept of a project before months of design and 35 years of labor.” it becomes a reality, which leads to manipulation The project began in 1973, when Mr. Bruno of scale and details being whitewashed in the was 29. But the unusual artistic project did not transition. “I would venture to say that almost have a concept behind it. Throughout the years, all of the large buildings we see around us are the man who moved from Mexico to Lubbock, the replica and the original is the model.” Express Vol. 1/12


stories in sheet metal


TRUMPF Express 1/12 Magazine for Sheet Metal Processing Published by

The Steely Truth about Superman

TRUMPF Inc. Farmington, CT 06032 Responsible for the content

Sheila LaMothe Editor-in-Chief

Susan Grohs 860-255-6104

A look at the man behind the iconic “S”

Editorial Staff

The Superman “S” serves as a symbol of strength.

It’s a bird, it’s a pla ne, it ’s… Superma n! This phenomenon all started in the early 1930’s, when the character Clark Kent, a.k.a. Superman, also known as the Man of Steel, was created by the genius minds of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The two men had no idea that their cartoon sensation would dominate the comic book world and the box office, as well as become a cultural icon in American society. Clark Kent was the symbol of immigration; coming to a foreign land, embracing the culture and taking on the characteristics of its society. Some might argue that he also represented “the American dream.” The Man of Tomorrow was a beacon of hope and courage during the Great Depression. Clark Kent had no fear (except, of course, for kryptonite), had no boundaries, and stood up against rebel groups such as gangsters, mobsters, and hate groups. It was every boy’s childhood wish to become Superman, a classic hero who fights crime and rescues helpless women and children. And because he is selfless, strong and handsome, Superman is every woman’s dream. Superman became known as the Man of Steel, because he is, in effect, a metaphor for steel. There are many characteristics that Clark Kent shares with steel. Everyone knows 36 Express Vol. 1/12

that Superman has super-human strength, but he also possesses invulnerability, superhuman breath, and x-ray vision. Superman is also able to see farther and in much greater detail than the average person, and best of all, he can fly! Sheet metal might not have all of those characteristics, but Superman is compared to steel for a very good reason. Steel is the alpha of all material, and nothing can alter it. Think of the classic image of Superman bending a large steel rod without breaking a sweat. It is the ultimate test of strength. If you can curve solid steel, you can do anything. You can even be Superman. Throughout the years, Superman has evolved. He has grown stronger, and his powers have become more defined and even more difficult to overcome. He has redefined the term superhero. Not only is Superman a symbol of nostalgia for many people, but that signature “S” has become a brand that represents power, endurance and longevity. Today, Superman has been redefined yet again in the new movie, “Man of Steel,” which is set to be released in the summer of 2013.

Katelyn Ercolani Mike Gordon Sheila LaMothe Melanie McMillan Andrea Novotny Design and production

John Mik, MIK Advertising & Design Printing and assembly

Paladin Commercial Printers, LLC Contributors

Meggan DeRienzo Flynn Ink pr + co. gmbh, Stuttgart Photographs

Steve Adams Photography Robert Bruno Ferra Designs Michael A. Foley Photography Follett Corporation Kelly Ludwig Design pr + co. gmbh, Stuttgart John Sterling Ruth Studio Emilio Toledo Hudson Taylor XtraLight

AWMI is an international, professional

organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the advancement of women in the metal industries. The cornerstones of our Strategic Plan are:

Grow Increase our Association membership numbers and chapters every year. It is our hope that this growth will mirror the increase in the number of women employed in the metal industries.


Provide excellent programs, conferences and tours that will expand the knowledge of our members in both industry-specific areas as well as in professional development.


Provide a variety of forums at the chapter, regional and international levels where members can interact.

Mentor Encourage women to pursue a career in the metal industries by offering training and support from those already established in the industry.

AWMI International Headquarters 19 Mantua Road – Mt. Royal, NJ 08061 Phone: (856) 423-3201 –

Express Vol. 1/12


Beauty in functionality Stairs, handrails, lighting displays and entryways. The possibilities are endless for the craf tsmen specializing in architectural and industrial design. At Ferra Designs, these cutting edge designers look past the functional form and consider each hole,

bend and line as an opportunity for inspiration. Whether in residential or commercial architecture, furniture or art, their inspiration is often brought to life with TRUMPF fabricating equipment. The result is ordinary objects of extraordinary beauty.

TRUMPF Express V1/12  

The magazine of TRUMPF in North America. This issue contains the cover feature story on Ohio laser, as well as a number of other interesting...

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