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Production managers can control inventory levels and reduce costs with automated rebar production equipment. When choosing equipment, producers should consider factors such as plant layout and space; type of feed material (straight bar or coil); types of bends commonly used; and the machine's bending and cutting capacities, portability, operating speed and capital costs. - Producers who handle less than 20 tons of straight rebar each month should consider power benders, which are often portable. These units make simple, same-plane bends in Grade 60 rebar in seconds with a press of a button or a foot pedal. Power benders also allow the operator to preset the bending angle. - Producers who use multiple-bend, multi-plane shapes; place large-diameter rebar in forms; or handle more than 20 tons of rebar monthly should consider rotary tables. Rotary-table benders automatically produce all common bends, including double bends or stirrups in one operation. Activated by a foot-pedal control, a turntable rotates and bends the bar against a die or a series of dies. When the preselected bends are completed, the turntable automatically stops and returns to its starting position. - Producers who fabricate and sell only straight lengths of rebar can choose from many styles of shearing equipment. Like benders, automated shearing equipment is either portable or fixed. Shears have either open or closed jaws. To operate closed-jaw shears, an operator inserts a piece or bundle of steel into a clamp. Activated by a pushbutton or foot pedal, a rotary blade then grinds or cuts through the metal. Open, or alligator-style, shears are used to cut plate steel or large-diameter rebar. With this equipment, force generated between fixed and moving blades cuts the rebar. - Large precast producers may benefit from automated fabrication systems. These systems fabricate shapes based on preprogrammed commands. - Special hydraulic structural welded wire reinforcing benders form sheets into structural shapes. During forming, a movable bar pushes the fabric around stationary mandrels to achieve the desired bend radius and degree. KEYWORDS: bend, cut, fabrication, reinforcement