Maximising productivity and safety through automation

FICEP’s Valiant and Katana systems

A world leader in the production of automatic systems for the steel construction industry, FICEP has designed, manufactured and installed more than 150 fully automatic layouts in different configurations worldwide. 

FICEP offers key technology for the steel industry. Their VALIANT drilling centre, for beams up to 1,200mm, guarantees top production performance in the processing of all profiles used in civil and industrial steel constructions. Similarly, FICEP’s KATANA band saw can carry out extremely fast, high quality operations when processing profiles with up to 60° mitred cuts. When the VALIANT is combined with the KATANA sawing machine and integrated with advanced automatic handling systems (such as roller conveyors and cross transfer tables), productivity is dramatically increased, as is safety for operators.

Moreover, by shifting employees away from strenuous and dangerous work, automation helps to address another critical issue faced by the industry: the shortage of skilled personnel. By automating production processes, industry can alleviate some of the unpredictability associated with the employment market. In addition, the workforce can be redeployed into higher value-added tasks. 

The automation of processes improves productivity and speed, and therefore time-to-market. It can also have a positive impact on the quality, precision, accuracy and repeatability of manufacturing processes.

The VALIANT drilling centre

VALIANT represents the latest evolution in Ficep’s drill line range. VALIANT can position the beam and perform all programmed processes without the need for repositioning. The new extended sub-axis spindle positioning enables simultaneous drilling on all three surfaces even when the holes are not aligned. It can be equipped with three automatic 14-position tool changers, one for each spindle, which provide superior performance and a significant reduction in cycle times. 

FICEP’s revolutionary new Direct Drive spindles transmit
100 per cent of motor power to the tool. This offers maximum processing performance, meeting even the most demanding requirements and heavy-duty cycles with great efficiency.

Multi-functionality and versatility are among the most appreciated aspects of VALIANT. For example, the four axis underside scribing device with sub-axis positioning enables simultaneous scribing of up to four sides. With other processes like tapping and countersinking readily available, VALIANT reduces man hours while increasing productivity. 

VALIANT can be used for all the typical milling routines (such as slots and block copes). It can also undertake weld preparation, including the drilling of rat holes, greatly reducing or eliminating secondary processes at the ends of beams. This increases the precision of the beam joint, eliminating the subsequent manual finishing phase. VALIANT requires only one operator to carry out several operations yet is also flexible to allow manual intervention to be bypassed completely when required. 

The KATANA band saw system

VALIANT automatic systems can be supplied ‘stand-alone’ or combined with the KATANA band saw system. KATANA has a closed loop feedback, making it one of the fastest in the market. KATANA can perform high quality cuts up to 60° mitred cuts in both directions. KATANA is integrated with an automatic unloading device with a magnet that allows the processed short pieces to be unloaded automatically. This is performed without the intervention of an operator. As such, workers no longer need to handle the steel members, which can be particularly dangerous given their size and weight.

Pegaso CNC

Both the VALIANT and KATANA can be controlled by a single numerical control developed in-house by FICEP: Pegaso. Pegaso guarantees better performance and a substantial reduction in cycle times. Pegaso is equipped with a powerful processor, expanded memory, up to 15 controlled axes and multiple communication protocols (Canbus, Profinet, Ethercat). It also comes with an innovative, easy-to-use Office technology central offline programming software.

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