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KASTO Takes Logistics For The Steel Trade To New Heights

KASTO Takes Logistics for the Steel Trade to New Heights

Ever-shorter delivery times and fluctuating batch sizes prompted the multi-metal distributor Debrunner Acifer in Birsfelden, Switzerland, to put its logistics processes to the test. The company decided to optimise its storage technology to ensure a high level of supply readiness—and chose KASTO as its project partner. Thanks to the UNICOMPACT 3.0 long goods storage system created by the specialist company from Achern in Germany’s Baden-Wuerttemberg, Debrunner now achieves significant process advantages and ensures that material is made available quickly and reliably.

Debrunner’s distribution centre in Birsfelden in the canton of Basel is Switzerland’s largest logistics centre for multi-metal products. Built in 1953, the site has grown over time and the Birsfelden factory already had two high-bay storage facilities in recent years. A wide range of steel and metals including beams, bright and bar steel, pipes, hollow sections and flat products is stored on a total area of 60,000 square metres. Debrunner supplies its regional companies and end customers from Birsfelden. The company also offers various processing and logistics services, such as material processing exactly to customer specifications.

From the steel trader’s point of view, however, the situation was no longer satisfactory. “Maintaining the two existing storage facilities – each with 1,100 cassettes and two shifts – was extremely cost-intensive,” says site manager Roger Durand. “We had to maintain two separate infrastructures in parallel and the large number of storage and retrieval stations was also disadvantageous transport logistics-wise. Although we’ve continuously optimised our processes in recent years, we could no longer achieve decisive increases in productivity. After 28 years of intensive use, both plants had reached their limits,” says Durand. Debrunner decided to invest in a new, automated high-bay storage facility for long goods. The project targeted the further strengthening of the Birsfelden site as a competence centre for goods handling and processing, saving on transport routes and expanding central services.

A High Level of Plant Security

Debrunner’s requirements were clearly defined: modern high-bay storage technology had to increase plant security and avoid downtimes. “We also wanted an efficient material flow concept to improve productivity in the customer-specific cutting of materials,” summarises Roger Durand. A request for proposals was then sent out and several were received. These proposals were the subject of intensive discussions, after which the decision makers in the company finally decided on the KASTO variant. KASTO’s offer convinced them with its optimal cost-use calculation, a good connection possibility for central processing and a suitable material flow solution including fast loading on to trucks. “If required, we can also expand the storage facility flexibly without a great deal of effort – and this was an important factor for us,” adds Durand.

UNICOMPACT for Fast Item Recovery Times

KASTO targeted very fast item recovery times during the development of the UNICOMPACT storage system. The honeycomb long goods storage system optimises the requirements for expensive storage space: thanks to the small approach dimensions of the storage and retrieval machine, users can get the best possible use out of the available space. UNICOMPACT works according to the “goods-to-the-person” principle – the requested goods are automatically made available at the output stations. The KASTO travelling cassette principle ensures that storage and retrieval operations take place in parallel and guarantees the most economic number of travel movements. Fast drives and simultaneous cassette-pulling devices enable the material to be ready at the processing stations within 60 seconds.

KASTO offers the long goods storage facility for heights up to 26 metres and up to eight tons of payload. Storage volume is between 500 and 10,000 cassettes with lengths of three to 14 metres. Debrunner now stores material up to seven metres in length on its Birsfelden site. A total of 2,936 storage slots are available. The 20 metre-high and 40 metre-long storage system is designed in silo form and equipped with one storage and four retrieval stations, as well as seven crane systems for the removal of the required articles. The storage and retrieval machine works with a maximum payload of three tons. The cassette dimensions are 620 x 350 mm and 620 x 600 mm—each cassette can hold material weighing up to three tons.

More Productivity Achieved

The decision to opt for the UNICOMPACT 3.0 has really paid off for Debrunner. The new high-bay storage technology delivers the material reliably to the sawing stations where it’s needed. “Now we can already request cassettes for follow-up orders. Response times are considerably reduced and there are no system-related waiting times,” says a delighted Roger Durand. The storage of buffer quantities eliminates the need for time-consuming replenishment processes. Debrunner also achieves greater productivity through the system’s central processing, which enables the operation of multiple machines. Sawing orders from different customers can now be combined if the same materials are involved. Thanks to centralisation, the Swiss company is now saving two saws compared to the past.

Improved ergonomics at the workplace also ensure efficient processes. All the saws are optimally connected to the storage facility. They have a feedback terminal, a KASTO picking device with a magnetic system for easier feeding to the stations and the possibility of efficiently transferring finished positions. “Thanks to this tightly-knit organisation, the saw operators can concentrate on processing,” says Durand. The new truck loading concept is based on an effective logistics solution using shuttle wagons. This avoids search times and concentrates finished customer orders from picking and processing at just one loading point.

Seamless Connection to the ERP System

The KASTO experts also seamlessly linked the control of the storage facility to Debrunner’s existing ERP system—yet another advantage that the steel trader appreciates: “Our industry is in the midst of digital transformation—so it’s important that our processes not only interact optimally on the hardware side, but also on the software level,” says Durand. The uniform control system ensures smooth processes, maximum transparency and ease of operation. It also means that Debrunner only has one contact person for all questions concerning storage technology. “That was another reason why we chose KASTO,” emphasises Durand.

Since June 2018, the new high-bay storage facility has been in use instead of the two previous solutions—and thanks to the KASTO system, Debrunner has now achieved its optimisation goals. “Now that we have the UNICOMPACT, we’re well prepared for future challenges involving the economic storage of long goods,” explains Roger Durand. “Our downtimes are extremely low—and this ensures reliable and smooth operation. The fast and optimally-coordinated processes in our new system have given us short reaction times to supply our customers, even with decreasing batch sizes and increasing order numbers.”



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KASTO Enable Meticulous Sawing Of Additively-manufactured Components

KASTO Enable Meticulous Sawing Of Additively-manufactured Components

KASTO Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG will be showcasing a high-performance automatic band saw especially designed to handle individual cuts of additively-produced components—the KASTOwin amc—at Formnext, the international trade fair for additive manufacturing technologies and their upstream and downstream processes. Formnext will be held from November 19–22 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Specially designed for separating additively-manufactured components from their base plates, the KASTOwin amc is equipped with a turning device that can rotate workpieces by 180°. The parts are machined upside down—a much safer process because they cannot overturn or buckle after cutting; the parts simply fall into the intended container without being damaged. The base plate can be easily placed on the device with a crane or handling device and screwed on manually.

The KASTOwin amc is fully enclosed to prevent the ambient air from becoming contaminated with tiny particles, which are detrimental to health and may arise during the machining of additively manufactured components. The machine is prepared for the connection of an extraction system and it also provides easy access for material supply and removal. The safety doors can be opened for loading and unloading of the base plate. The user enters the thickness of the baseplate via the standard SmartControl controller and the saw then automatically saws the parts to the corresponding dimensions. The cutting range of the KASTOwin amc is standard at 400 x 400mm, but an optional version with a cutting range of 500 x 400mm is also available. The KASTOwin amc can be monitored by remote control for easy troubleshooting and the optimisation of processes.

With its innovative sawing concept, KASTO is also part of the NextGenAM project, which is aimed at automating additive manufacturing in industrial environments. The initiators are the aerospace supplier Premium AEROTEC, the vehicle manufacturer Daimler and the technology provider EOS. The project is aimed at the development of a complete system to produce aluminium components for the automotive and aerospace industries. Within the framework of this project, the KASTOwin amc is used in the Technology Centre in Varel (TZV), where the first automated pilot plant for industrial 3D printing and post-processing has been commissioned.

KASTO will be at Booth 120 – E51E at Formnext.



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KASTO To Showcase Sawing, Storage Technology Innovations At EMO 2019

KASTO To Showcase Sawing, Storage Technology Innovations At EMO 2019

Sawing and storage technology specialist KASTO will be presenting a wide range of innovations at the EMO 2019, which will be held September 16–21 in Hanover, Germany. KASTO’s booth (E54 in Hall 15) will feature an efficient energy recovery and storage concept for automated storage systems, plus new sawing machines for every requirement, ranging from the KASTOmicut workshop bandsaw and the versatile series KASTOwin/miwin to the KASTOvariospeed and KASTOtec high-performance production saws. Digital solutions will also be on show live in the booth’s Smart Solutions Corner.

On request, KASTO can offer its automated storage systems with energy recovery and integrated energy storage. Surplus kinetic energy—such as that produced when braking the storage and retrieval machine or lowering lifting gear—can be converted into electricity, fed back into the grid and used flexibly. This solution not only reduces energy costs but also improves the quality of the power supply, since energy is continuously drawn from the supply, which in turn avoids load peaks. Operators can also often plan for and use smaller transformer stations, massively reducing investment costs. Existing KASTO storage systems can also be retrofitted with energy recovery and storage. KASTO will be demonstrating the energy concept at the EMO using a UNITOWER tower storage system.

Another booth highlight will be the “Smart Solutions Corner”, where KASTO will be presenting its digitalisation and Industry 4.0 developments. Just one of many products, the KASTOlogic warehouse management system not only enables the continuous administration and control of automated storage systems, it also manages the mobile inventories of manual warehouse areas. The KASTOapp machine status display, the KASTOoptisaw saw plan generation system and the interactive remote maintenance solution, KASTO VisualAssistance will also be showcased at the trade fair. A video will show visitors how storage, sawing and material handling processes can be completely automated and optimised with KASTO solutions—all from one single source.

KASTO Expands Range of Saws

The KASTOmiwin is a double mitre bandsaw for cut-to-length and mitre cuts between -45 deg and 60 deg. It is available in semi-automated or fully automated versions and is especially designed for parts cut to size in steel construction, steel trade, plant construction, and special machine construction. KASTO also offers the KASTOmicut series of swing-frame bandsaws. Available in two sizes, these saws are especially designed for use in workshops. Users can choose different cutting ranges and manually operated, semi-automated or fully automated versions.

The universal bandsaw series KASTOwin will also be exhibited at the EMO. Designed for the serial and production sawing of solid materials, pipes and sections, KASTOwin offers a flexible solution for a wide range of applications. For particularly heavy workpieces, the KASTOwin is also available with a movable material support table. Another product in display is the production circular saw KASTOvariospeed, an all-rounder for steel processing. This CNC-controlled sawing machine can process different materials flexibly and is ideal for unmanned operation, especially in combination with a KASTOcenter sawing centre. KASTO will also debut its KASTOvariospeed C18 and showcase the extensively revised the automated bandsaw KASTOtec at EMO 2019.



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Increasing Integration Of Storage And Sawing Technology

Increasing Integration Of Storage And Sawing Technology

Automation, networking and robotics are rapidly gaining ground in metalworking—especially in storage and sawing technology. Storage systems and sawing machines are increasingly being integrated into a uniformly controlled material flow in which all processes between incoming and outgoing goods are fully automated – from the storage of the long goods raw material to the dispatch of the palletised finished parts. This enables users to make their production processes much more flexible and efficient, improve working conditions and significantly reduce operating costs.

Whether they are in the steel trade, the automotive and supplier industry or in mechanical and plant engineering, metalworking companies across all industries have been facing increasing demands for years. Customers expect ever greater production flexibility, from batch size one to mass production. The variety of materials and sizes is steadily increasing. At the same time, quality standards are rising and there is continuous pressure to cut costs. To hold their own against international competitors, companies need versatile and efficient solutions for a wide variety of production tasks.

More and more users are relying on the automation and intelligent networking of individual workflows in production and logistics. This begins with the storage of the delivered raw material—instead of the previously widespread floor or cantilever storage, companies are increasingly relying on fully automatic long goods storage systems. These automated software-controlled systems have completely convinced users with their significantly higher storage density, fast access times and maximum stock transparency.

Cassettes are usually used as load handling devices for the storage of long goods. A storage and retrieval machine automatically transports these to one or more transfer stations in line with the “goods to the next process” principle. These can be designed differently for the respective requirements, as fixed stations, for example, or in movable form as longitudinal or transverse transfer carriages. Automatic storage and retrieval is not only much faster than by hand, it also protects employees from accidents and injuries as the heavy and bulky goods do not have to be moved manually. Orders are processed at the push of a button via the warehouse control system – or directly via a higher-level ERP system to which the control system is connected via an interface.

The sawing of the articles removed from storage is often the first step in processing or manufacturing. Here too, all processes are increasingly organised without any human participation. The modern KASTO sawing machines can be seamlessly connected to the raw material warehouse by means of manipulators and conveyor technology and are supplied with the required materials. Depending on how it is equipped, the sawing machine can also run by itself. Material is fed to it automatically, and an intelligent machine control system sets all parameters, such as cutting length and cutting speed, based on the job data. State-of-the-art production saws can thus carry out a variety of jobs in succession with different materials and diameters, and operate autonomously for long periods.

Industrial robots also have considerable potential when it comes to handling and processing finished cut parts. Depending on the production cycle, for example they can remove the sawn parts from the machine at maximum speed, so employees no longer have to carry out this repetitive task. In addition, the robots can be used with the appropriate tools to add value for deburring, chamfering, marking, centring, cleaning or measuring and testing the workpieces. The sections can be weighed, sorted by sise or order, and stacked on pallets or in tightly packed containers. For complex processes with different work steps, combinations of several robots and clamping devices can also be realised with KASTO systems. Further connection to driverless transport systems (AGVs) is also common practice nowadays.

Downstream processes are relatively easy to automate with volume saws that process only a few different component geometries. The situation is somewhat different with individualised job saws, however; they have to flexibly process numerous materials and dimensions, and the greater the diversity, the more challenging it is to fully handle all the tasks. For example, the optimal selection of robot tools is important, because the robot should be able to manipulate all the objects to be handled with as few aids as possible. This reduces procurement costs, minimises idle times and increases productivity. Users can choose from mechanical, magnetic or vacuum-driven grippers. The grippers should be as compact as possible to give the robot easy access to the cut parts. KASTO supports users in defining the optimal tools for the upcoming tasks. In regular operation, the robot then independently decides which tool is best suited for the current task. The decision criteria may be the accessibility of the workpiece or the optimisation of the stacking pattern.

Industry 4.0 in Storage and Sawing Technology

With the right components, storage, sawing, automation and robotics technologies can be combined to form decentralised and highly integrated systems that are seamlessly integrated into one continuous material flow. The manufacturer KASTO realises combined storage-sawing-robot systems for its customers, in which all storage, handling, sawing, marking, palletising and bundling processes run fully automatically, from the storage of the raw materials to the picking of the sections. The big advantage here is that the entire system functions with a uniform control software, which can be connected to existing ERP systems such as SAP with only one interface. This significantly increases transparency and efficiency. With additional production machines, such as for turning or milling, the storage, sawing and robotic systems can be linked to form a fully digitalised and automatic production system that organises itself decentrally and independently, in line with industry 4.0.

Automation and robotic support offer significant advantages for the user, who can significantly increase productivity with less personnel, since many processes are not only unmanned, but also run much faster. It is easier to compensate for staff absences due to illness, and production simply continues even during breaks or after shifts. The result is lower personnel costs and a high degree of flexibility in terms of capacity utilisation. For example, companies can process order peaks much better and drastically reduce non-productive times. This also quickly becomes noticeable from a profitability point of view.

Working conditions are also improved by the automated technology, because employees are relieved of heavy, tiring and monotonous work, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. The quality of the sawn sections is also enhanced, because the robot processes all the parts uniformly and precisely, sorts them reliably and stacks them cleanly. This ultimately benefits not only the plant operators, but also their customers.



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How Industrial Robots Increase Sawing Productivity

How Industrial Robots Increase Sawing Productivity

More and more metalworking companies are now relying on integrated automation in their production. And the same thing is happening when it comes to sawing technology. Article by KASTO Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG.

More and more metalworking companies are now relying on integrated automation in their production. And the same thing is happening when it comes to sawing technology. The use of industrial robots offers great potential for handling the sawn sections: The mechanical helpers can take on numerous tasks, from picking to deburring, weighing, centring and marking to sorting and stacking. This provides more flexibility and performance in production, better working conditions and significantly lower operating costs.

Across all sectors, the demands placed on metalworking companies are steadily increasing: They must have a high production flexibility from batch size one to large-scale production, process more and more different materials and dimensions—in excellent quality and at the lowest possible cost. Those who want to be permanently successful in the ever tougher international competition must organise all their production processes in a variable and efficient, but also efficient way.

Countless Uses for Robots

Sawing technology plays a key role in metal processing and offers many opportunities for optimisation. More and more operators of sawing systems are intelligently linking their work processes and automating them with robot support. The benefits are obvious: Industrial robots are fast, reliable and precise, and if necessary, they can work 24 hours a day without human intervention. They don’t get tired or fall ill, and they can handle a wide range of tasks when equipped with the necessary tools. “Our robots help us with a number of handling and conveying tasks and efficiently perform many machining steps,” says Volker Bühler, group manager for robotics at the sawing and storage technology specialist KASTO.

Automation starts right with material feeding. The material to be cut is conveyed to the machine by means of suitable equipment, for example roller conveyors or magazines, thus sparing workers the effort of lifting and carrying, and reducing the risk of injuries. Depending on how it is equipped, the sawing machine itself can also run attended. Material is fed to it automatically, and an intelligent machine control system sets all parameters, such as cutting length and cutting speed, based on the job data. State-of-the-art production saws can thus carry out a variety of jobs in sequence, with different materials and diameters, and operate autonomously for long periods.

Removal, Machining, Stacking—Automatic from Start to Finish

Industrial robots also have considerable potential when it comes to handling and processing finished cut parts. For example, they can remove them from the machine, thus relieving workers of this repetitive task. When equipped with appropriate tools, robots can also perform tasks like deburring, chamfering, marking, centring or measuring workpieces. Cut parts can be weighed, sorted by size or job, and stacked on pallets or placed in containers. The parts can also be transferred directly to a driverless transport system. “For complex processes involving various work steps, we also use combinations of different robots and clamping devices,” explains Bühler.

When large quantities of material are sawed with only a few different component geometries, it is relatively easy to automate the downstream processes. The situation is different with custom sawing involving diverse materials and dimensions.

“The greater the variety, the harder it is to cover all the possibilities,” says Bühler. The choice of robot tools is an important factor. A robot must be able to deal with all the objects it encounters while using as few aids as possible. This reduces procurement costs, minimises idle times and increases productivity. Users have a choice of mechanical, magnetic or vacuum-operated grippers. The grippers should be as compact as possible to give the robot easy access to the cut parts.

Sawing Technology on Course to Industry 4.0

With the help of the right components, sawing can be combined with other automated operations to create complex, highly integrated systems that are seamlessly connected in a continuous material flow. This includes upstream storage as well as downstream handling and processing. For example, KASTO implements combined storage and sawing systems for its customers in which all storage, handling, sawing, marking, palletising and bundling processes are completely automated—from storage of the raw material to retrieval of the cut parts. The control software can be linked to existing ERP systems like SAP for greater transparency and efficiency. Sawing can be integrated with other processes like turning or milling in digitised, self-configured production systems such as envisioned in Germany’s Industry 4.0 initiative.

Automated sawing technology offers significant advantages to users. Many processes can run unattended and much faster, which increases productivity and reduces the need for personnel. It is easier to make up the difference when employees are ill, and robots can keep working even during breaks or after shifts. The result is lower personnel costs and greater flexibility in terms of capacity utilisation.

Companies can react more easily to order peaks and dramatically reduce idle times. This can make a big difference economically.

“We’ve calculated that, depending on the shift model, an investment in an industrial robot with a machine like our KASTOvariospeed saw pays for itself in less than a year,” says Bühler. “When you consider that systems like this are used for more than ten years on average, users can reduce their operating costs for a very long time.”

Benefits for Both Users and Customers

Robot technology also helps to improve working conditions. It relieves employees of heavy, tiring and monotonous tasks. The risk of accidents and injuries is reduced. Moreover, the cut parts are of better quality, because robots machine them with equal precision, sort them reliably and stack them neatly. This provides benefits not only for operators of automatic sawing facilities, but also for their customers.



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Increasing Automation, Connectivity And Energy Efficiency In Metal Cutting

Increasing Automation, Connectivity And Energy Efficiency In Metal Cutting

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Armin Stolzer, Owner & CEO of KASTO Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG regarding current trends in the metal cutting industry.

APMEN: What trends are shaping the metal cutting industry?

The current favourable situation in widespread parts of the global economy and in the metalworking sector is leading to many companies increasing their production output. However, for the most part, additional capacity is usually necessary to enable the larger number of orders to be processed on time. More and more users are therefore deciding to automate processes, including in the sawing and storage technology sector. This offers considerable potential and, at the same time, the necessary flexibility to be able to respond to changing requirements.


APMEN: How are you helping your customers keep up with these trends?

We help companies to achieve significant improvements in production efficiency while at the same time reducing their costs – two outcomes which in today’s economically challenging climate are in especially great demand. Our sawing machines and storage systems can be easily integrated into a digitalised and automated material flow. We also offer combined sawing and storage systems in which all the storage, handling, sawing, marking, palletising and bundling processes are performed fully automatically with the help of industrial robots – from putting the raw material into store through to the picking of the cut parts. With our customised complete systems, metal-processing companies can fully utilise the potential of their production and logistics facilities.

At the software level we also have innovative solutions that are perfectly adapted to industry needs, for example in the form of our well-designed machine control systems and KASTOlogic Warehouse Management System. With KASTOoptisaw, we have developed a cutting optimisation tool which considers various machine parameters as well as the workload. It generates one or more cutting plans that determine the best item sequences. This results in less waste and as few material movements as possible, saving users both time and money.


APMEN: What are the latest technology developments in KASTO’s metal cutting saws and storage systems?

Just recently, we have launched an innovative solution for maintaining our machines and systems remotely: KASTO VisualAssistance. By means of a tablet, smartphone or smart glasses, users can send live videos to KASTO’s service experts and receive visual assistance and information in real time in the event of a fault or maintenance work. Downtimes can be reduced to a minimum, which has a positive effect on the cost balance.

For our automatic bar stock and sheet metal storage systems, we have developed a concept in which excess kinetic energy can be converted into electric current, stored temporarily and then be used flexibly as required. Consumption of electric power can be reduced by as much as 40 percent compared to conventional drive systems and the connected load can even be cut by more than 50 percent. This reduces operating and investment costs and cuts CO2 emissions.

Also, we have comprehensively re-engineered our KASTOtec automatic bandsaws. In doing so, we have clearly focused on the optimum use of carbide metal saw blades. Further innovations relate to the saw feed, the main drive, and a system for automatically adjusting the feed speed. This all contributes to a further increase in sawing performance.


APMEN: What sets your solutions apart from competition in the region?

KASTO is the market leader for metal sawing machines, semi-automatic and fully automatic storage systems, as well as automated handling equipment for metal bar stock, sheet metals and parts cut to size. Our portfolio includes high-performance sawing machines that not only enable the user to achieve a supreme cutting quality but also the best cost per cut. Our products feature a high degree of automation and therefore offer the best prerequisites for the megatrends Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things. Besides, we are the only supplier of combined sawing and storage systems and have extensive software know-how. Customers therefore benefit from the full range of equipment for the provisioning, production and distribution of material from a single supplier.

Our products and solutions stand out due to their high level of innovation and ideally fit the requirements of our customers. Top-quality workmanship causes the saws and the storage systems to be particularly rugged and durable. Being a family-owned and -managed company, KASTO stands for quality “Made in Germany”. At the same time, we offer comprehensive and personal service, short response times and expert local advice to all our customers everywhere in the world. In 2015, we opened a subsidiary in Singapore to strengthen our position in the Southeast Asian Market.


APMEN: How do you see the metal cutting industry developing in the next year or two?

Connectivity and automation are increasing. Machines, goods, raw materials, load carriers, transport equipment and locations are no longer isolated; they are globally linked and interconnected by means of information networks. Production and logistics are merging, and the integration of processes is increasing. Handling tasks are becoming more and more automated. Digital technology controls the value chain from the producer of raw materials to the final customer. Other important trends include a greater emphasis on safety in materials handling and machine control, which is why we focus in particular on developing effective solutions.

Also, the question of energy efficiency is becoming ever more important. Ultimately, the increased levels of automation mean that users are also taking account of power consumption as a decisive cost factor. The demands placed on machines and systems are therefore not only growing in terms of flexibility, speed and precision, but also at the level of the savings they can bring. To meet these needs, KASTO’s portfolio includes efficient energy recovery and storage methods that allow users to reduce the electricity costs resulting from system operation and, at the same time, to improve the quality of the power supply.



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KASTO: From A One-Man Company To A Global Player

KASTO: From A One-Man Company To A Global Player

In its 175-year history, sawing and storage technology provider KASTO has developed into an internationally successful company. Around the globe, a close-knit network of branches and agencies ensures that the company is always close to the markets and its customers and can offer fast and individual service.

As early as the 1970s, KASTO was one of the most innovative suppliers of metal sawing and storage technology for the industry. Its solutions are in demand—not only on the home market, but also beyond the national borders. KASTO emphasises on internationalisation in order to provide a high standard of service to its customers and markets outside of Germany. This was a pivotal step to ensure the future success of the manufacturer.

The first step abroad led to France

In 1977, KASTO founded its first branch in neighbouring France. The company’s current main site in Obernai, Alsace, is only a few kilometres away from the German headquarters (Achern in Baden-Wuertemberg)—this makes the general organisation easier and ensures short distances. Target industries included steel trading, window construction, and the aviation industry. The branch quickly became a success—and today, KASTO France has 30 employees, who serve around 4,000 customers in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and North Africa, achieving a considerable proportion of KASTO’s steadily increasing foreign turnover.

A short time later, KASTO crossed the pond and opened another branch in Pittsburgh, USA. The fluctuating economic development in the USA resulted in this site experiencing both highs and lows—and the ‘Steel Belt’, the region around the city with its then booming steel industry, became a ‘Rust Belt’ in times of crisis. Since the end of the 2000s, however, Pittsburgh has been on the rise again, with numerous technology companies settling in and around the city. KASTO Inc., with around 40 employees and an extensive spare parts warehouse, is also the contact for KASTO users in Canada. In 2018, the company inaugurated a new showroom with a Technology Centre in Chicago. Amongst other things, customers can see machines and digital solutions in advance there and carry out test cuts.

Time for the island!

At the beginning of the 1990s, many companies invested in the new German federal states due to strong demand. For its part, KASTO established a plant in Schalkau, Thuringia. In 2003, the company also positioned itself on the British market with its own subsidiary on the island. Today, KASTO UK’s 13 employees provide support for customers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Finland and the Middle East.

When KASTO took its first steps on to the Asian continent in 2015, the company realised that protectionism, legal restrictions and administrative hurdles were amongst the greatest challenges on its route to becoming a global player. Starting a company in a country like China is a very lengthy process. From legal forms to the search for personnel, and from insurance to local legislation, there are so many aspects that are completely different than those in Germany. Nevertheless, KASTO succeeded in establishing itself in Asia, opening a branch in Singapore in 2015, and another in Taicang, China in 2018. Customers benefited from a much faster and more flexible service—and from employees who were familiar with the respective countries and cultures and who spoke the local language.

Globally successful cooperation

The year 2016 saw KASTO establishing a branch in Rheinfelden, Switzerland. Although it is not far from its Achern HQ, it is still very advantageous to have a presence in the country because it facilitates faster customer service and the speedier supply of spare parts. Swiss customers are also pleased to hear the KASTO service staff speak in Swiss German, which is the national language. At this point, KASTO now has its own subsidiaries in six countries. However, no more will be added in the foreseeable future. This is also due to the excellent cooperation with numerous independent KASTO agencies in many countries of the world—from Norway to South Africa and from Brazil to New Zealand. The oldest of these is located in Japan and has existed since 1965. The company regularly invites all its representatives to training courses at its headquarters.

Over the years, much courage and commitment have paved the way for KASTO to become a global player. At present, saws and storage systems from Achern can be found in every corner of the world: on La Réunion in the Indian Ocean, for example, or on the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Trinidad, on the Greek Cyclades, in Namibia, Oman and even New Caledonia in the Pacific. These KASTO products sometimes have to deal with extreme environmental conditions in Finnish Lapland, for example, in the mountains of Nepal or in the Sahara in Algeria—and this can make delivery, installation and of course operation challenging at times. However, the high quality and robust designs of the KASTO solutions ensure that they always carry out their tasks reliably, anywhere in the world.

For the future, the manufacturer has set itself the goal of continually strengthening its international locations and expanding the constantly increasing share of foreign sales. KASTO sees a lot of potential here—in regions like Asia and the USA, the demand for intelligent solutions for sawing and storage technology is high, since automation is not as advanced there as it is in much of Europe. A strong presence in these promising markets is the basic prerequisite for KASTO to support local users in the best possible way, and thus continue to set its course for worldwide success.



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KASTO Celebrates 175th Anniversary

KASTO Celebrates 175th Anniversary

KASTO Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG celebrates its 175th birthday this year. The sawing and storage technology specialist has evolved from a one-man-business into a globally successful company.

The invention of the hacksaw in the year 1947 marked the significant step towards the modern tool machine manufacturer. In the 1960s, the circular saws complemented the portfolio; at the beginning of the 1970s, KASTO presented the first fully automatic bar storage and retrieval system. This system featured two integrated circular saws which were supplied automatically by the operating gantry crane – the precursor for the first combined storage and sawing centres that KASTO manufactured beginning in 1980 and till today.

Globally Successful And Future-Orientated

Today, KASTO has established itself as a global leader with over 140,000 saws sold and 2,200 installed storage systems for bars and sheet metal along with its numerous subsidiaries around the globe. KASTO develops its own software systems, provides solutions for networking, automation and robot connection and focusses on future technologies such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence (AI). Therefore, the manufacturer sees itself as being well prepared for future challenges.


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Economical And Environmentally-Friendly On-Site-Production

Economical And Environmentally-Friendly On-Site-Production

KASTO Maschinenbau has expanded its new plant construction service portfoliothe company now offers mobile cassette production on site for its automatic UNICOMPACT long goods storage system. Robot-supported processes ensure a consistently-high and certified standard of quality. Warehouse operators benefit from significantly lower transport costsand production on the customer’s site also has significant advantages for the environment.

Automatic storage systems for long goods can often comprise several thousand cassettes. Delivering completely welded, voluminous load carriers by truck involves high freight costs and high CO2 emissions—so KASTO has now developed a solution which reduces this transport effort down to a minimum: when constructing new UNICOMPACT long goods storage systems, the specialist company can produce the required cassettes on the customer’s site, using a mobile, automated production system.

All KASTO needs to set up its mobile cassette production is a sufficiently large area in the customer’s warehouse, a 400-volt, three-phase power supply and an indoor crane. The plant is delivered by container and is usually ready for operation within about two weeks. It welds the finished cassettes from the raw material provided and coats them with an anti-corrosion oil. Both processes are supported by industrial robots, ensuring a consistently-high standard of production quality. All welding seams are also EXC 2-certified in accordance with DIN EN 1090-2.

Saving costs and protecting the environment

This type of production offers considerable cost advantages for the customer, because compared to large-volume, fully-welded cassettes delivery, far fewer truck journeys are needed to transport the raw material. The warehouse operator can also procure the necessary materials itself, saving even more costs. There are no personnel costs for the storage of delivered cassettes, since the load carriers manufactured on site are stored fully automatically and are immediately ready for use. This also means that the plant operator can even use the system while the cassettes are being produced.

The environment also benefits from this innovative solution, since fewer truck journeys also mean less climate-damaging CO2—and the amount of packaging material can also be significantly reduced in comparison to the delivery of complete cassettes. Yet another plus is the microfilm technique used to apply the anti-corrosion oil—this reduces oil consumption to a minimum, making possible contamination of the storage system through dripping oil a thing of the past.

Ergonomic and efficient at the same time

KASTO has also paid special attention to the topics of occupational safety and health protection. Professional extraction systems and closed robot cells ensure clean air in the production halls and the ergonomic system design reduces physical strain. Work is carried out in two or three shifts—and this means that the mobile on-site production is just as fast on average as the infeed of externally-produced cassettes. This variant is therefore an attractive, economical and transparent alternative, especially for medium- to large-capacity storage systems. The customer can be present during the cassette production and has an overview of how the project is progressing at all times.

One of the first companies to use the new concept was Vereinigte Baustoff- und Eisen GmbH (VBE), based in Heidelberg in Germany. The steel trader recently opted for a UNICOMPACT storage system from KASTO, with around 2,700 cassettes. The cassettes were welded on site thanks to the help of the mobile production plant. “We were thrilled when KASTO made this suggestion,” said Felix Kern, Assistant to the Management Board at VBE. “We saved significant freight costs and reduced the environmental impact by around 23 tonnes of CO2. We didn’t even have to manage the storage of the cassettes ourselves and were able to use the warehouse after only a short time.” VBE is also very satisfied with the way the project was managed: “The installation & dismantling of the plant and the production itself went quickly and smoothly—also thanks to solid and constructive communication with the KASTO experts.”


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The Smart Future Of Metalworking

The Smart Future Of Metalworking

Digitalisation and networking are rapidly gaining ground in metalworking – and the same trend is also taking place in storage & sawing technologies. Manual and mutually-isolated processes are increasingly giving way to a continuously-controlled, intelligent material flow, in which all the components involved communicate autonomously with each other. KASTO Maschinenbau has various solutions that make metalworking more efficient, more flexible and more cost-efficient in today’s Industry 4.0 era.

In the steel trade, the automotive and supplier industry and in mechanical and plant engineering, metalworking companies across all industries have been facing increasing demands for years now. Customers increasingly want greater manufacturing flexibility, from batch sizes of one item to large-volume production, while variety of materials and sizes is steadily increasing. At the same time, quality standards are rising and there is continuous pressure to cut costs. To hold their own against international competitors, companies need versatile and efficient solutions for a wide variety of production tasks.

Production Can Organise Itself

One solution here is the digitalisation and networking of production and logistics processes – also known as Industry 4.0. In modern metalworking, machines, plants, goods and load carriers are connected via the Internet of Things and can communicate with each other. Intelligent sensor systems provide up-to-date status information in real time. All process-relevant data is recorded and analysed, enabling users to optimise their entire value chain in a decentralised, autonomous and demand-oriented manner. The route from raw material to the finished product becomes shorter, more flexible, resource-saving and cost-efficient – and it starts with storage.

Today’s metalworking companies are increasingly relying on fully automated storage systems for long goods, instead of the previously widespread floor and cantilever arm storage methods. These automated software-controlled systems have completely convinced users with their significantly higher storage density, fast access times and maximum stock transparency. Moreover, sawing technology – often the first processing station after goods have been removed from storage – is being increasingly carried out with no manpower. Sawing machines can be seamlessly connected to the raw material warehouse and supplied with the required materials using manipulators and conveyor technology. The sawing process itself also runs autonomously if the machine is equipped accordingly, resulting in highly-efficient systems that are seamlessly integrated into a continuous material flow – the intelligent factory.

Automation – From The Raw Material To The Finished Part

KASTO creates combined storage-sawing-robot systems, in which all the storage, handling, sawing, marking, palletising and bundling processes are performed fully automatically, from the raw material to the commissioning of the cut parts. Problem-free communication is particularly important, since all the components involved must “speak the same language”. This is achieved by means of integrated control systems and suitable interfaces. With KASTOlogic, for example, the company offers a modular warehouse management system (WMS), which is specially tailored to the requirements of long goods and sheet metal storage. The WMS maps all the processes between goods receipt and dispatch clearly and transparently, ensuring efficient control of the entire material flow – and that includes the warehouse, the associated conveyor technology and the processing machines with their material handling.

The Right Interface For Every System

Thanks to customised interfaces ranging from SAP, Infor and Microsoft Dynamics products to customer-specific software solutions, the WMS KASTOlogic can be easily connected to a higher-level host system within the company, as can individual machine control systems. The resulting uniform communication structure significantly increases transparency and efficiency. Users can easily control all the orders, and the data collected and recorded in the warehouses and sawing machines can be comprehensively analysed and utilised. This enables the continuous tracking of specific goods and workpieces and the uniform utilisation of the machine park with short non-productive times, improved quality control & the enhanced planning of maintenance measures. Even remnant lengths and warehouse stocks can be sustainably optimised with relevant information, significantly reducing production costs.

Robot-Assisted Sawing For Greater Efficiency

The KASTOsort robot link automates production processes upstream and downstream of the sawing process and integrates these into a uniformly-controlled material flow. Industrial robots can not only remove the saw cuts independently, they can also perform many other tasks such as deburring, chamfering, centring, threading, marking, printing, sorting, stacking and picking. This robotic solution can be further integrated with a container management or driverless transport system.

Mobile Application

The use of mobile devices is also gaining ground in industrial production and the KASTOapp displays the status of all the networked machines equipped with the SmartControl, AdvancedControl, ProControl or ExpertControl systems. Users can see the name, machine number and type of each saw at a glance. If a saw is running in automated mode, the app can also access the information stored in its machine control programme. This gives users exact information on all the relevant parameters, like the article, cut length, target and actual quantity, feed rate and cutting speed. If a malfunction occurs, the app displays a graphic visualisation of the relevant error message, enabling users to react quickly and reduce downtimes to a minimum.

VisualAssistance – Remote Maintenance With Augmented Reality

KASTO has a VisualAssistance system, which uses the concept of augmented reality to simplify the remote maintenance of machines and systems. An interactive app for tablets, smartphones and smart glasses lies at the heart of the system – and customers can use it to connect to specialists via video and audio streams. Users and technicians see the same view in real time, greatly facilitating mutual understanding and helping to quickly identify individual plant components and any faults that may occur.



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