Based on Bob Dylan’s 1964 hit, The Times They Are a-Changin' was this year’s theme of Bystronic UK’s latest sheet metalworking machinery open house, held during September 2016 at the company's Coventry headquarters and technical centre.
As part of the presentation, the company demonstrated how much more value and functionality one gets from a modern Vauxhall Astra XRi than a Viva HA from the mid-1960s. Both cars were parked in the showroom with their specifications placed inside the windscreens. For the record, the Viva HA reached 60mph in 19.6s, while it takes the Astra XRi just 9.1s. Top speed has risen from 78-124mph and fuel efficiency is up from 40-72mpg.
Predictably, the presentation quickly moved to comparative cost and performance figures for Bystronic CO2 laser cutting machines today and from previous years. Again, the disparity in cost-performance ratio was dramatically in favour of modern equipment, with significant increases in machine availability and productivity, reductions in running costs and safety enhancements.
For the benefit of more than 80 manufacturers in the room over the three days, all of whom were keen to hear how to increase competitiveness and profitability, detailed costings relating to the use of CO2 lasers and their more recent fibre laser counterparts were shown. The calculations provided an insight into the factors to be taken into account when purchasing laser cutting machines, including running costs, charge-out rates and finance payments.
A typical subcontract sheet metal component was nested, eight to a 3x1.5m sheet. Detailed calculations were presented on production cost per part for producing them in mild steel, stainless steel and aluminium from one to 20 mm thick, using oxygen or nitrogen as the assist gas, on a 4.4kW CO2 Byspeed machine and a 6kW BySprint Fibre laser cutting centre.
The latter machine was clearly shown to provide faster processing, reduced running costs and greater efficiency, especially when processing more reflective stainless steel and aluminium.