MSI: Hardware for your beam line

Steel fabricators often face challenges including insufficient capacity, lack of manpower or limited facility workspace. A customized beam line tailored specifically to serve your business model helps lower overhead costs while improving overall efficiency through Multi System Integration (MSI), which Voortman uses to connect machines into a robust production line.

CNC control software is critical in ensuring all machines relay information back and forth, but the quality of the hardware used is just as important. Let’s find out more about the hardware inside a Voortman automated system.

Hardware quality is important

It all starts with your needs

We’ll start by determining your optimal layout for beam processing. Every business is unique, and an optimal layout depends on many factors. Everything is considered during consultation – processes performed, types of profiles, product lengths, workshop space availability, and desired output to name a few. Voortman is very flexible and capable of customizing an optimal beam layout in the most efficient way possible for every scenario.

This flexibility and industry knowledge was expressed by one of our customers during consultation with Voortman: 

“We brainstormed on ways to get the facility the way we wanted and one day it just popped up in our head, ‘Hey, we can make a U-shape configuration work and get all the equipment we want.’ I think we owe a lot of that expertise to the Voortman people by helping us work through how we could best fit equipment into our facility and make it run as efficient as possible.” – Jon Haas, President, HME, Inc.


Custom layout

Roller conveyors, cross transports, and measuring systems are used to transfer material between and connect multiple machines in MSI. These hardware elements allow a modular approach to building custom beam lines.

Multiple processes running at the same time in a split configuration

A modular build means more flexibility in processing sequence. For example, you could choose to shot blast your material up front or at the end of processing. Another advantage to modular system building is the ability to create a “split” configuration, where you could mark profiles with a separate marking machine while drilling with a drilling machine at the same time.

Connecting machines

It’s estimated that every time a fabricator touches a beam it costs approximately $25 per lift. Voortman has excelled at reducing labor-hours and cost by eliminating all manual intervention while transporting materials through the production line while developing the automated system.

Voortman MSI utilizes two methods of transporting material from one machine to the next, each with its own advantages:

Liftable Cross Transport

transfer complete batches all at once

Two-way Cross Transport with Double Dragdogs

transfer single beams in either direction, left or right

Measurement systems

There are many ways to measure profiles as they are processed and each has its benefits. Voortman implements these various measuring systems across our entire product line so the right machine measurement system for the job is available.

  • Roller-feed: The main benefit from a roller-feed measuring system is increased speed. The moment one product is completed, the next profile was already moved into position and can instantly be fed by utilizing an “early infeed” and loading or unloading from two sides. Voortman was recognized as having the fastest measuring systems in the market.
  • Gripper clamps: Best used for processing smaller and cut-to-length products, and when used in combination with a Short Product Removal System (SPRS). Accuracy is the main benefit from using a servo-driven clamp measuring system, and it’s widely used in plate machines to keep the plate precisely positioned throughout the duration of processing.
  • Full stop plate: Suitable for processing bundles of profiles. A stop plate positions the batch and clamps locks down the profiles at the exact location prior to processing. Once locked in, the stop plate drops down and moves to its next location while the current piece is processing. The stop plate is wide enough for bundle cutting.

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