• December 6, 2022
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Man vs Machine

Man vs Machine

Presented by Complete Machine Tools

Is automation the solution to the skilled operator shortage?

The metal fabrication and engineering sectors are now showing the effects of the skilled machine operator shortage in a post covid world.

According to the Australian Government National Skills Commission, the demand for future skilled sheet metal trade, structural steel and welding trade workers is projected at a 38% increase over
the coming 2 years with the current shortage of skilled personnel in these sectors already at 15% or more and climbing.

Everyday it becomes clearer that business owners all over Australia are looking for ways to alleviate the pressure on current staff and their work loads, by introducing more efficient and less labour intensive methods of fabrication. In order to compensate for the growing demand the manufacturing sector is still experiencing, businesses are considering automation as a viable solution.

Now that doesn’t mean everyone is spending millions of dollars on fully automated production lines and a row upon row of robotics. What we are seeing though, is a shift toward utilising the latest technology available in sheet metal, metal engineering and fabrication machinery, in order to create more efficiency in the manufacturing process. This is so that fewer skilled technicians are required to achieve the same if not a higher rate of production to meet demands and reduce operating costs.

The Latest Technology

The 7+ Axis Press Brake. Source: Supplied.

Increased interest and purchase of new hybrid technology, 7+ axis press brakes is due to their increased production capability, easy-to-use interfaces and affordability. The EuroMaster Series Press Brakes from Accurl are designed for exactly this purpose. There is also a very clear shift in manufacturers moving toward in-house laser or plasma cutting rather than outsourcing. This is done to minimise delays and increase quality control. One common factor that is driving this trend toward more automated fabrication processes is speed.

Let’s use the Press Brake as an example. New Hybrid Servo technology, 7+ Axis press brakes operate incredibly fast, and the constant improvement of operating software on the controllers is getting more user-friendly.

The Features

Features on the new hybrid servo press brake. Source: Supplied.

When compared to some older press brakes, Hybrid Servo technology provides increased productivity of up to 40%. This is the result of several factors.

  • The servo driven rapid traverse of the beam when approaching or retreating from the bend.
  • Fully programmable and automated back gauge means your operator is no longer manually positioning anything between bends. The machine will automatically reposition the back gauge according to the bend sequence parameters.
  • The controller clearly displays the exact bending sequence required and also clearly shows your operator exactly how to position the material in the press brake for each bend.
  • Additional features including:
    • Automated Sheet Supports
    • Automatic angle correction systems
    • Fully integrated Lasersafe Angle Measurement systems

All features intend on making the job easier, faster, more efficient and less labour intensive without sacrificing on quality or precision. This technology combined with a well trained machinist means faster production time.

Features of the new press brake. Source: Supplied.


Industry Trends

Many business owners in Australia are investing in new machinery for the future of their business’. Embracing newer technology available to our industry is crucial to the survival of manufacturing in Australia while the workforce rebuilds post covid. It also assists the Australian Government in re-investing in training and education in manufacturing. Until then, machinery can make what you have now work smarter, not harder.

New Accurl press brake. Source: Supplied.

At Complete Machine Tools we have a huge range of the latest technology in press brakes, laser cutters, plasma cutters, bandsaws, machining centres and so much more, to help you with your machinery needs. Give us a call to talk about how we can help your business continue to grow and thrive in the new era of Australian manufacturing.

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