Shaping up What can the new TruLaser Tube 5000 actually do? Tube specialist Frank Steinhart has tried it out in everyday manufacturing work.

Frank Steinhart puts his faith in pipe and tubes.

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Shaping up

The new TruLaser Tube 5000 was engineered as a productive, all-round machine. It racks up points with its owners thanks to its precision, ergonomics and user-friendliness.

It premiered at the Tube trade show in Düsseldorf and superseded its predecessor. Frank Steinhart of Steinhart Metallwarenfabrik in the town of Hettingen explains what the new TruLaser Tube 5000 can do. This expert in using lasers to cut tubes certainly knows where the improvements are. His team started working with the prior model in 2006 and in 2008 it was joined by one of the first TruLaser Tube 7000 units — the high-end model for cutting tubes with the laser.

Numerous features enhance process reliability, simplify operation, and boost productivity.

Now he and operator Andy Bulach are putting this new machine to the test in harsh everyday routines. Both issue an excellent report card for the TruLaser Tube 5000. “Numerous features enhance process reliability, simplify operation, and boost productivity.”

Highlights in the new TruLaser Tube 5000

The new TruLaser Tube 5000 blends proven concepts — like unrestricted accessibility — with numerous new features, borrowed in some cases from its larger sister machine. One example here is the new cutting head with a focal length of 155 millimeters. It is fitted with a magnetic coupler; in case of a collision with jammed parts, this coupler will automatically release and minimize damage to the cutting head. With laser output options of from 2,000 to 3,200 watts, the TruLaser Tube 5000 can now handle materials up to eight millimeters thick. Steinhart: “We ran up against the older machine’s limits at six millimeters.”

TruLaser Tube 5000 - The machine's function at a glance

TruLaser Tube 5000 – The machine’s function at a glance

Standard equipment in the new machine is also the FocusLine regulating mechanism. It keeps the laser’s focal position constant and automatically matches it to the material’s type and thickness, making for perfect cutting results. The minimum remaining tube length of 120 millimeters helps save on materials; in the past this figure was 140 millimeters. Frank Steinhart adds: “Thanks to the adjustable feed-through chuck, we can cut even larger openings in a single operation, without having to resort to microjoints.” Conical clamping rolls in the feed-through chuck center the tubes, making for great manufacturing accuracy.

Measurably more productive

“We have made a comparison. Depending on the complexity of the processing work, the new machine is 10 to 15 percent faster than the previous mod el,” states Frank Steinhart. Many details contribute to shortening non-productive periods. For example, the form supports can now be replaced without tools, thanks to a quick-change system with detents. The height adjustment for the pipe supports is now controlled by the program; no longer is it necessary to adjust with a handwheel. Automatic emptying for the cut-outs also contributes to greater productivity.


Open as a matter of principle – and safe in processing

The pipe feed section, processing area and the entire part removal station are readily accessible. For Frank Steinhart, that is a clear benefit in everyday operations. “We can remove finished parts at an ergonomically correct height and can load a tube manually at any time, if we need to make up a single component.” He continues: “The flexible positioning of the new conveyor table convinced us immediately. The new belt is easier to maintain than the previous brush table.” Thanks to steeper discharge slopes and intelligent sensors to detect “part separated” and “part ejected”, the cut parts now glide easily and securely from the work area.


Designed to be clean

Included even in the basic model are a scrap conveyor belt and receptacle along with a compact, high-performance dust extractor. Andy Bulach: “The dust generated during cutting is now removed far more effectively. We have less slag in the tube.” That reduces rework effort and the time required for maintenance.


Improved insights

The new platform offers the operator an improved view into the machine through its large window, which can easily be moved along the horizontal. The integral LED illumination makes for clear contrasts.


More convenience for the operator

The new 17-inch touchscreen on the versatile support arm can be positioned anywhere within an arc of 180 degrees. Operator Andy Bulach explains: “When setting up a new job, I place the screen right next to the viewing window for the machining head. Then I glance back and forth between the screen and the actual curve. I can, if necessary, intervene quickly.”


Even more flexibility

Steinhart removes cut parts — using either the conveyor table or the part removal station — directly into a wire mesh box. Andy Bulach: “We can configure the storage area for finished parts to match the job.” Where especially long parts are to be worked, TRUMPF also offers a 1.5-meter extension to the 3-meter part-removal station — including extra pipe supports.



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This article was first published in summer 2014.

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There’s added value in tubes

Steinhart Metallwarenfabrik in Hettingen processes between 80 and 120 tons of pipe every month. The warehouse always stocks 400 different types of pipe and tube for quick deliveries to customers. For Frank Steinhart, the tube is the key to greater value addition. “There is a pipe or tube in almost every finished product. We can use laser cutting to do all the work needed for such pipes — and in that way we open the door to complex and lucrative orders.” This job shop prefers deliveries to destinations within about 150 kilometers. The clientele includes companies involved in mechanical engineering, agricultural machinery, cleaning technology, furniture, and construction of athletic and fitness equipment. Along with his three machines for laser tube processing, Steinhart has twelve other TRUMPF machines on the job, including press brakes, punch laser machines, and a TruLaser 5030 2D laser cutting machine. The folks in Hettingen also use the TruTool TSC 2 slat cleaner and have automated a press brake by adding the BendMaster.

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