Highly accurate and repeatable

Cutting full-cycle times to as little as two minutes and 31 seconds, the Ever Theta four-head frame crimping machine has the potential to revolutionise the manufacture of aluminium frames, according to Paul Yeo, sales manager at Promac Group.

When you watch the Ever Theta crimper it’s one of those jaws on the floor moments. It delivers so many benefits; working faster but also introducing incredible accuracy – it’s its own QC station.

We began supply of the Ever Theta four-head crimping machine with CNC tool positioning this year.

Automating the crimping process, it operates across 21 CNC axes and has been designed for use in the manufacture of all types of frames, delivering a highly accurate and repeatable crimp.

If you look at how long it takes to crimp a frame with a single head CNC machine you’re at five or six minutes and a lot of handling and rotation. The Ever Theta does it in less than half that, with little to no handling.

You simply line the frame up on the bed and the machine does the rest. It’s a very impressive piece of kit and a platform that has the potential to transform the manufacture of aluminium frames delivering a host of benefits, not only in time and efficiency but also accuracy.

The Ever Theta can be used in the manufacture of frames of as little as 400mm x 400mm and up to maximum frame dimensions of: 2,600mm x 1,100mm; 2,600mm x 2,000mm; 2,600mm x 2,900mm; 2,600mm x 3,800mm; and 2,600mm x 4,700mm. The maximum crimping height is 160mm.

It’s going to handle anything you want to make – windows, bifolds, large span aluminium sliding doors, curtain walling – so it delivers a huge amount of flexibility, but also quality control with it.

This is because the Ever Theta features an in-built profile and panel dimension measuring system. This allows it to scan the profile against maximum tolerances. As the infeed conveyor passes the frame along the line everything is again measured, guaranteeing quality of joints and squareness of frames.

If the profile is more than 0.4mm out in length or 0.9mm on the diagonal, the machine stops and asks you if you want to continue. It means that you can bring a very high degree of accuracy to 45° mitre and 90° joints.

If the mitre is out of tolerance, you have immediate visibility of it, because of the precision and accuracy that the Ever Theta works to. That means you’re far less likely to encounter issues down the line. Lowering the cost of and likelihood of remakes.

The Window, Door and Conservatory Markets in Housing in Great Britain, by Palmer, continues to track rapid growth in aluminium, with strong consumer demand for ‘fold and slide’ doors leading to a wider pull-through of product including aluminium windows, entrance and inline sliding doors.

This includes growth at the last count 26% in volume terms and installed value by 28%, pointing to growth in not only residential demand for aluminium products but commercial and new-build sectors.

If you’re manufacturing a bigger product you need a higher degree of accuracy because a fraction of a milimetre out over a larger distance can have a massive impact on joint quality and squareness.

Software also plays a key part in the quality of outputs. The Ever Theta uses an intuitive operative interface, working from DXF or DWG drawings, or alternatively bar code scanning where in place.

The platform can also be configured so that the crimped frame is returned on the conveyor bed back to where it was fed-in, or to continue in the same direction as part of the downward flow of a line.

What’s interesting is that we’re at a point in the development of the aluminium manufacture where things really our changing very dramatically, and that’s through automation of process.

It was about low volume, very labour intensive manufacture but that’s changing. In part because a lot of PVCU manufacturers have moved into aluminium, and because larger aluminium manufacturers are automating their processes too.

If you’re doing 100 aluminium frames a day and you can cut your cycle time in half, that’s a massive efficiency saving.