Fracino is a third-generation company based in Birmingham that makes espresso coffee makers and exports them to 70 countries, Italy included. Until the 1980s, the company exported and distributed Spanish machines but when they became the second largest distributor in the world demand started to exceed availability and Fracino decided to start making their own range of machines. Success was immediate and today Fracino makes over 4000 espresso coffee machines a year.
The strong commercial growth of Fracino created production problems and challenges due to increasing volumes and the fact that all of ther water feed line tubing was being subcontracted out. The solution was clear: it was time to brin the work in-house to control quality and lead times. So a sheet and tube processing department was opened.
Tube bending was initially carried out using a manual loading system but the introduction of the 4-RUNNER pipe bending and end-forming machine revolutionized their tube manufacturing: a bending, forming and burr-free cutting cell all in one machine. The system takes the tube directly from coil and straightens it before processing it with up to six forming passes, bending, cutting and controlled unloading of the finished parts. The 4-RUNNER can make fixed or variable radius bends and forming can be down with a combination of ram forming or rotating tools.
Productivity increased exponentially by combining all these processes into a single automatic cycle. Tubes which used to take 3 and a half minutes to process are now completed in just 15 seconds. What is more, material lead time problems were eliminated by switching from straight sawed tubes to coils. Machine efficiency was boosted, scrap material was reduced by 20% and the time for changing from one job to another was considerable decreased. 4-RUNNER technology is good for the environment as well: by using all-electric axis there is no need for hydraulic oil and the system saves up to 80% of energy compared to traditional bending systems.
The BLM 4-RUNNER combines three processes on one machine: bending, forming and cutting. The initial investment was quickly paid back by the production speed, reliability, repeatability and ease of use. It guaranteed quick delivery times and created 20% less scrap material.
The all-electric technology of 4-RUNNER pipe bending and end-forming machine guarantees high tolerance, accuracy and easy production changeover. Changeovers do not require the use of tools or manual adjustments. All settings are stored as part of the part program. Just call up the program and let the all-electric axis position for the next job.