New Generation of RAS Folding Machines, The New XLT

For those who form complex precision sheet metal parts like cassettes, panels, and boxes and are wanting to increase productivity, the XLTbend is a perfect fit. The XLTbend, with 4060 x 2.5 mm or 3200 x 3 mm steel forming capacity, is an impressively flexible UpDown folding machine. Along with innovative mechanical components, the CNC’s One-Click Programming is certain to be a production highlight.

Especially significant on the latest machine from RAS is its modularity, which over time will be added to the complete line of future RAS models. The machine can be built for operation from the front or rear, and with a new redundant safety system, operation is possible from the front even with UpDown bending. Bent parts no longer need to be flipped, as the folding beam is capable of automatically avoiding prebent flanges.

For the premier of the XLTbend, RAS has built the 4060 x 2.5 mm variant with a vertical upper beam, allowing the operator easy access to the entire bend line. This construction is especially desirable for industry sectors that fabricate cassettes, panels and boxes.

The folding beam is a revolutionary new design which is proven to reduce deflection by 20x over the bend line. The “Beam-In-Beam” principle achieves incredibly straight bends in real-time, without the need for adjustment. An additional crowning axis is completely unnecessary, and the folding beam can be utilized as a front stop in the 90° position with its perfectly flat surface.

Each of the 11 CNC axes is servo-regulated, which amounts to greater precision and dynamics. With absolute encoders on every axis, time wasted with calibration is a thing of the past. Even the folding beam pendulum, critical for changing the folding beam direction, is driven with two servo-electric motors. This eliminates the mechanical changeover of pendulum blocks when using different folding beam tool widths, shortening the tool setup process and achieving additional productivity.

With modular gauging concepts, the customer can choose a rectangular table with gauging out to 1550 mm or can elect to add extended squaring tables for 4050 mm of squaring capacity in a T-form with additional active squaring arm. A stop bar automatically rises as soon as the controller considers the use of this active squaring arm to be necessary. Each stop finger zone is pneumatically actuated though the CNC control. If necessary, individual fingers can be mechanically restricted by hand so that warped or uneven edges (i.e. coil material) can be positioned accurately. The latest innovation from RAS is a brand new Hybrid Backgauge, which takes over the positioning of the blank to the bend line. The blank is held in place against the fingers by the hybrid vacuum system, so that subsequent bends can be positioned without the help or handling of an operator. As soon as the blank needs to be rotated, the squaring fingers descend automatically below the table pans, as controlled by the CNC system, in order to ease the operator’s manipulation of the workpiece.

The RAS tooling system remains familiar, but with new applications. A large catalog of upper beam tool geometries is maintained with options for large free space in front and in the rear of the tool. Tooling options still allow for an impressively wide range of production configurations. The 155 mm tall tools continue to have the strength for the max machine capacity. Additionally, it is now possible to have tooling up to 250 mm tall, permitting even deeper box depths for additional product capability.

The tool segments are simply placed into the upper beam tool rail and are automatically clamped in place. Tooling set up instructions will be shown to the operator on the CNC monitor to help with accurate and repeatable placement. Folding beam tools offer even more flexibility; with the capacity for multiple tool stations and interrupted bend lines, as well as interior and window bends. These tools are also automatically held in place as soon as setup is complete.

With the XLT, flexible configuration is extended even to the lower beam tooling. Between these lower beam tools, it is possible for the backgauge fingers to move as close as 10 mm from the bend line.

One-Click Programming

To complement the newest folding concept, the RAS XLTbend includes two 24” monitors for operation. These are mounted on the machine sides, with the ability to tilt and adjust for the most ergonomic use by any operator. RAS has implemented the latest machine safety guidelines into the new system and makes it possible for the optional operation of the UpDown machine in both the front and rear of the machine. In order to validate machine operation, the operator must confirm either front or rear use of the machine before the applicable safety protocols are activated automatically. An integrated light band indicates when access is permitted.

What may be the best feature of the XLTbend is the One-Click Programming of parts. Where experience and expertise were formerly required for programming, this intelligence is embedded in the machine software. Either the operator on the floor or engineer in the office directly imports STEP, DXF, or GEO files…and that is it! A simple mouse click is all that is required to program the complete setup and bend sequence automatically.

When several strategies are available to form the imported part, the CNC control shows alternative sequences and ranks each with a 5-star rating to simplify the best strategy for production. The operator has the option to simulate each strategy in 3D from any perspective and zoom. Once the operator evaluates and selects a strategy, all that remains is to press the “Start” button to begin the precision forming