Dave Steel...

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Dave Steel Company Inc., who have been serving the steel construction industry since 1929, has selected FICEP CNC machines for this country's first unique fully automated steel shapes processing system at their new Chesnee, South Carolina Production Facility.

Dave Steel

Since 1929, Dave Steel Company has been a leader in the steel fabrication industry. After a 2004 major equipment investment at their Asheville, North Carolina facility, being one of FICEP's first Drill/Saw installations in the USA, the company began their next major growth project.

After an extensive investigation, in 2006 the company selected Chesnee, South Carolina to locate their new 33 acre satellite production facility. With the sophisticated coatings operation on this property completed in 2008, attention was directed to development of the fabrication facility.

As the economy started to show real signs of weakness, and in an attempt to synchronize the completion of the fabrication phase of the project with enhanced market opportunities, the company proceeded with the building plans but at a less aggressive rate.

With current use and knowledge of various pieces of equipment from the major equipment manufacturers at the Asheville facility, and after a complete investigation of the various technologies available.

Jeff Dave, President and CEO of Dave Steel Company, again selected FICEP Corporation as his partner for this project, the first fully automated structural steel fabrication equipment process in this country.

Jeff's approach from the start of the project was to achieve the optimum level of software integration. This needed to incorporate all of the stages of project processing and the CNC equipment including processing completed sections that were cut, drilled, coped and layout locations scribed automatically and without the need for CNC operators at each station.

Dave Steel Plant

In line with this objective, Dave Steel Company Inc. purchased a complete automated system from FICEP Corporation where the Steel Projects PLM software starts by assisting the company's other operating systems with nesting material, to not only optimize material utilization, but to include an option to accomplish even further optimization by rotating sections to be able to accomplish common cuts while achieving fewer cutting and coping cycles.

As the stock length sections are loaded on to the system, the material handler scans the section barcode which retrieves not only the previously nested program but starts the automatic process without any active equipment operators of the material handling, drilling, scribing, sawing, removal of trim cuts, coping and subsequent moving to one of three final positions, ready for unloading. The material handler who is responsible for attending to the entire system has a hand held wireless remote to intervene with the automatic system as desired.

As the sections are processed through the line, their status, in real time, is updated into the system, and automatically flows back into Dave Steel Company's MRP system, with further ability to then import back in to Tekla, the company's detailing software being utilized. This provides a 4-D interface with the model to show the production status of a project. The company's processes also provides for the ability to track subsequent operations after the FICEP CNC processes such as fitting, welding, blasting, painting and shipping. One of the most unique and useful software tools is FICEP's clash detection software.

Jeff Dave explains, "This is a great feature that eliminates down time at the Robot (Coper) due to file issues. We use this software in drafting as part as file management prior to the issuing of Fabrication Data Packages for production. This software simulates our system and identifies any issues that would occur at the equipment. It is like processing the material prior to processing the material. This software also helps us identify potential bottlenecks anywhere on the system."