Key factors to consider when purchasing a steelworker

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At Selmach, we speak to people all of the time that are setting up a fabrication shop or construction company and are considering purchasing their own steelworker for the first time. The same goes for farmers who are expanding their agricultural workshop and are often looking for a more efficient way to fabricate the various metalworking items they require on a daily basis.

Many of you will have probably put a job through the workshop and on hindsight wished you had made the job easier by using a steelworker. We know a number of clients who will often take advantage of a nearby friend’s steelworker to save them the physical effort of drilling 1000’s of holes by hand! Even with the growth of the plasma and laser profiling market and the large number of sub-contractor options available for the modern fabricator – we have found the steelworker is still very much ‘a machine in demand’ – for the modern construction and agricultural workshops.

We identify the 5 main reasons to buy your first steelworker

  1. Fast punching speed when compared to drilling – with the correct set up of the limit switches and the backstop / squaring guides the operation of a steelworker is significantly quicker than any other drilling / bandsaw operation. For example, punching holes through base-plates is effortless for the operator and hugely reduces the laborious and tiring nature of the task. With the back-stop guide in place and a roller track in-feed for the shearing stations – cutting on the shear blade also becomes a very quick, easily repeatable process. Therefore, not only does the steelworker make the punching / cutting process quicker it also helps the operator to complete the tasks more efficiently with less back-breaking work involved.
  2. Compact compared to plasma / laser. A plasma or laser profiling machine is great if you have the budget and space. For many customers, lack of space is a real problem and is one of the common growing strains of a successful fabrication business. A steelworker is designed to be a compact machine – a 60 ton steelworker takes up approx. One sixth of the space than a standard 3 x 1.5m plasma table. In an ideal world we recommend customers have both a plasma and steelworker.
  3. Low cost solution – similarly to the space issue above, budget constraints are a common roadblock for customers looking into table plasmas / lasers. The steelworker is a great place to start until you’re established enough to consider purchasing a CNC profiling machine. As an example, a new steelworker will on average cost one fifth f or only 20% of a basic plasma table. The running costs of a steelworker are significantly lower too.
  4. Easy to use, quick to set up – the modern steelworker has been continually updated to ensure it does not become obsolete in today’s demanding fabrication industry. Many customers set up their own jigs / adaptions on the steelworker to make them more efficient and easier to operate for their specific tasks. The standard machines come with great features designed for maximising output. These features include the auto touch and cut backgauge (also known as probe shearing), quick-clamp backstop and squaring guides for material positioning, a 2 stage foot-pedal, easy set limit switches and LED lighting underneath all of the guarding, greatly enhancing visibility of the workpiece.
  5. Easily adaptable with many optional extras and different kinds of punches available. We’ve already touched on how operators create their own jigs and guides for their steelworkers to make workpiece placement easier and more accurate. There are also a large number of attachments available on the market including bar bending units, sheet bending units, bar straightening tools and minimum deform stripper assemblies. The use of the punching station has been expanded over the years and in working with the operators we have developed punches for a variety of purposes, including creating radius corners, vee notch tooling (for the galvanise processing), single punch counter-sinking, euro-cylinder shape punching, and much more.

For more information on our range of steelworkers and for help and advice to find out which might be right for you, please reach out to one of our specialists here.

Published 10th March 2021