Active Alloys Swaps Bridgeport for FlexArm

Active Alloys is a full-service steel fabrication shop in Chicago, Illinois. They specialize in designing and fabricating architectural elements, machines, furniture, and vehicles. William Tellmann and Collin Smith opened their shop 14 years ago; since then, they have found that they specialize in pursuing the most complex, unusual, and demanding projects. Due to the nature of these projects, Tellmann and Smith’s tapping equipment was beginning to take a toll. While looking for a solution, Tellmann found the FlexArm tapping arm. FlexArm has helped Active Alloys save their equipment while also helping them increase productivity. Read more about their experience with the FlexArm tapping arm and why they recommend it.

Active Alloys

Throughout their college careers, Tellmann and Smith found a love for metal fabrication. Tellmann attended Rolla University in Missouri. He majored in mechanical engineering, and soon after, he founded Active Alloys because of his passion for working with metal. Metal provided an instant gratification that he couldn’t find during his work with other materials. His newly founded company allowed him to work directly with individuals and organizations to make customized products.

Smith attended the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois Chicago, majoring in mechanical and architectural engineering. After graduation, he moved to New York to develop and run a metal shop specializing in prototyping Pilates and other exercise equipment. He had been excited to work with metals because of the opportunity the material provided to create and engineer new products. When Smith moved back to Chicago to become a partner of Active Alloys, he found a chance to do precisely that. The company specializes in creating custom signs, light fixtures, and many other architectural elements.

Demanding Projects

Throughout the years, the projects presented to Active Alloys began to become more and more obscure. As these projects grew, so did Smith and Tellmann’s desire to bend normal manufacturing routines to create them. Before trying the FlexArm tapping arm, the men had done all tapping work by hand. They had tried to tap the proper way, using a mill, but the process was too slow. Tapping by hand caused them to break a lot of taps. When a tap breaks off into a piece of material, it is almost impossible to remove it without ruining the material. It isn’t a huge issue to replace a $10 piece of steel; however, when that same piece of steel has been worked on for 60 hours, a broken tap can cost the company hundreds of dollars.

The FlexArm Solution

Recently, the men took on a project that required them to tap thousands of holes into a 20-foot piece of steel. They immediately realized they had two problems on their hands. They tried hand tapping this project, just as they had done before. Out of every ten holes they hand tapped, they broke two taps. Smith realized he had wasted almost $40 in taps in the first two minutes of working on the project. The piece of steel they were working with had a decorative patina, which meant they couldn’t drag the piece across their mill without leaving marks. Sanding the product would’ve cost the Active Alloys crew even more money.

While searching for a solution for these problems, Tellmann found the FlexArm M-60 pneumatic tapping arm. Smith agreed it would be an excellent product to try out. Once they received their FlexArm, the men got right to work. They were able to tap every hole without breaking a single tap. The FlexArm mounted to a cart turned their operation into a mobile one, making it possible to keep the steel stationary while moving the tapping arm around it. The tapping arm allowed the company to finish their project without breaking and spending money on extra taps or sanding off scratches left behind from dragging the steel. The FlexArm was a huge game-changer for Active Alloys and continues to help the company save money and equipment.

For more information on the FlexArm, click here or call 800-837-2503.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Standard Features

  • Hand Pendant
  • 22″ Touch Screen Monitor
  • Omron FlexCNC Controller
  • Mobile Control Panel
  • Through Spindle Coolant 
  • Auto Tool Changer 
  • Flood Coolant
HP
Max RPM
FT/LBS
Series

18

4000

92

C-20-02 / C-10-02

18

6000

61

C-20-02 / C-10-02

33

12000

61

CM-20-02

Auto Stand-Off – This is currently defined to be surface stand-off and not to be confused with vector stand-off in 5-axis mode. The current auto stand-off is based on a changing surface and will adjust vertically based on the angle of the “A” Axis, so there is five (5) axis taken into account during the calculations, but this is not the same as the tool vector stand-off. There is the ability to do the vector stand-off change while the machine is running manually with buttons on the screen.

Z-Reader Probe – The Z-Reader is a device for mapping the location of the surface. It can be controlled manually & programmatically. The option is NOT active while cutting & is retracted out of harm’s way. It can be triggered to verify the surface at every pierce before the cutting process starts, or it could be used to drive surface mapping of the whole part before cutting starts. It begins with initialization or zeroing of the device to the surface at the beginning of a program and then accumulates or tracks the difference from that zeroing effort.

Automatic Edge Finder – The edge finder is or can be utilized manually (Jogging Method & Screen Buttons), programmatically (M & G codes), or fully automatic routine (dedicated program). This option sets offsets & program rotation to match the orientation & location on the cutting table.

AC Unit Installed on Electrical Cabinet – The unit is mounted on the cabinet’s High Power (480v) side. It is close to the location where the drives are mounted. This option keeps the cabinet temperature stable and allows heat dissipation faster. The servo drives for all axes are the most significant contributors to heat inside the electrical cabinet.

5-Axis Renishaw CalibrationThe calibration unit is a Renishaw model APCA45 with a modified spherical stylus. The device has a retractable cover and air purge to clear debris & dust during the activation process. It mounts to a swing arm controlled by a pneumatic rotary, so it is out of the way during regular operation and swings into the calibration position for calibration only. 

HP
Max RPM
FT/LBS
Series

18

4000

92

G-20-06 / G-10-06

18

6000

61

G-20-06 / -10-06

40

4000

217

GM-20-06 / G-20-06 / G-10-06

40

6000

145

G-20-06 / G-20-06 / G-10-06