Plasma beveling reduces manual labor and saves time at North American Shipbuilding

June 19, 2011

To streamline workflow, North American Shipbuilding selected a TMC4500ST with plasma beveling capability, a machine that’s built for tough environments like shipyards.

David Becker is the panel line coordinator for North American Shipbuilding, Larose, La., part of the Edison Chouest Offshore family of companies, and he knows quite a bit about beveling steel plates. So when he was sourcing new, top-of-the-line equipment for the shipyard, he handed out a tough task: cut an ellipse. Messer Cutting Systems Inc., Menomonee Falls, was up for the challenge.

“The hardest part to cut on a bevelmachine is an ellipse,” Becker says. “The reason for that is every movement is different. For example, if I were to cut a square with bevels on it, it’s simple. You angle the bevel head, go a straight distance and then you turn it and go another straight distance. An ellipse is never constant; it’s always changing. The machine is always adjusting and reacting tomotion, both on the x and y axes, to maintain that line.

“When Messer came to visit me, I said, ‘I’ll tell you what. You make me an ellipse, and you send it to me and we’ll schedule the next meeting from there.’ It took about a week, and I got one. It was extraordinary. I’d never seen a company that could do one. Eventually, when we bought [the machine], I went to Messer in Wisconsin and I talked to the guy who created the ellipse. He said, ‘You know a lot about beveling,’ and I said, ‘Well, a pretty good bit,’ and he replied, ‘You must because that was one of the hardest bevels I’ve ever had tomake.’”

Read the full article from the Modern Metals May 2011 issue.