Kern Steel Fabrication is a family-run company based in Bakersfield, California, that employs a staff of 100. They design and make steel structures mainly for the aeronautic and oil & gas industries manufacturing both heavy structures with beams and lighter fabrications, like handrails and stairs. KSF is mainly involved in large-scale projects, such as aircraft stands, maintenance platforms, work stands and docking stations for large aircraft maintenance, including the Boeing 737 and 747.
KSF customers expect two things: respect of delivery deadlines and high quality. To achieve these results the keys are to have good workers and be a technological leader. For this reason, when the need arose for a machine to cut structural beams and tubes, KSF decided to buy a LT8.10 3D laser cutting machine.
KSF had a rather unusual experience with laser systems in that they started with the Lasertube LT8 for cutting tubes and only later moved onto sheet laser processing.
Most manufacturers start with sheet lasers first.
KSF already had robotised welding cells and by capitalising on the experience gained in the automotive field they promptly understood the advantages the LT8 laser cutting system brought to the structural steel manufacturing cycle. The system makes it possible to exploit cell technology to the max: laser cutting accuracy means that the robots can be exploited, reducing welding station feeding time.
KSF also operates in the oil & gas industry making tubular parts which also benefit from laser cutting. The benefits and considerable cost savings are similar to those obtained the aircraft structure field.
Laser cutting guarantees production speed without losing in accuracy, reliability and ease of use. Accuracy and 20-30% reduction of assembly times also means saving costs. The potentials of laser technology also make it possible to design and do things that were unthinkable before.
Laser versatility and flexibility can be harnessed to process complex parts efficiently for accurate, clean, and high quality results in structural steel manufacturing.