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Fully Automated Manufacture of Steel Rebar Products

The construction industry is very gradually moving towards automation – and as far as steel rebar products go, automation began in the mid-1980’s with the numerically controlled (NC) rebar cutting and bending (RCB) machine.  The RCB machines manufacture steel rebar products automatically, using a computer that determines cutting and bending locations and bending angles and directions. 

These machines have been historically classified as Type A, B, and C.  Type A and B are fully automated, and can take raw materials to produce relatively small (< 16mm diameter) steel rebar products.  Type C can bend and shape larger bars, but cutting, collection and material supply are still done by operators.  Until now. 

Driven by the difficulties in recruiting qualified workers, the need for timely deliveries, and the demand for higher accuracy, type C machines can now be fully automated in their production of steel rebar products.  Thanks to the development of sub-systems such as automatic material supply, cutting, excess-bar handling, and temporary storage of finished product, large diameter steel rebar products are now cheaper and more available than ever before.

The machine was developed with the aid of a graphic simulation system.  Both the physical and kinematic structure of the machine was modelled.  The graphic simulation enabled designers to check, in a 3D environment, the logic of material flow, production methodology, location of sub-systems, interference between parts of the machine and between machine and product, and most importantly productivity.  As a result of the new automation, according to a recent study, the productivity of the production of type C steel rebar products has risen 30%, compared to existing machines.