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Shorter Cutting Times Even When Cutting Tougher Alloys

Shorter Cutting Times Even When Cutting Tougher Alloys

In light an increasing number of high-volume orders, a metal handler in the oil and gas industry decided to build a new facility to expand its capacity–and to broaden its sawing technology with the help of KASTO. 

After experiencing several difficult years, the oil and gas industry is now on the upswing again. The Howat Group also benefits from this development: Located in Barnsley in the UK, the company is a supplier of special metals for this demanding industry. The product range comprises various nickel and aluminium alloys as well as numerous steel and stainless steels. The materials are used, for example, on offshore drilling platforms or in pipeline construction – at sites where they are exposed to extreme temperatures, high pressure, and heavy corrosion.

The Howat Group opened its new facility in Dearne Valley at the end of 2018. This facility provides 60,000 square metres of space, among other things, for a large sawing plant: A total of 14 automatic saws from the German manufacturer KASTO ensure fast and accurate cuts. Some of which have been in service since the 1990s and still cut as accurately as they did when first used.

Expanding Sawing Technology

To cope with an increasing number of high-volume orders, in the course of constructing the new facility, the company also decided to expand its sawing technology. Some of the existing models were retrofitted to update them to the current technology. In addition, the company invested in the KASTOwin pro AC 5.6, which is a high-performance bandsaw optimised for the use with bimetallic and carbide blades. Therefore, it is suitable to cut alloys such as tough nickel, titanium and stainless steel with diameters of up to 560 millimetres as well as for cutting low-alloy steels.

Howat’s operations director Emma Parkinson commented, “We have four dedicated carbide cutting bandsaws on site which include KASTOtec AC5s and now the KASTOwin pro, which is even more economical. They are ideal for cutting our Inconel materials.”

Particularly for the processing of these nickel alloys, the company wanted to become more efficient and therefore decided to acquire this new machine. Parkinson explains the decision, “I am quite familiar with the benefits of the KASTO saws since I have worked with this manufacturer during my previous employment.”

Easy Blade Change Saves Tool Costs

The remainder of the sawing plant, which comprises sawing with a cutting range of up to 800 millimetres, is intended mainly for the operation using bimetal blades – however, now and then carbide blades are used as well. 

“The advantage of the KASTOwin pro is that we can use either type of blade economically,” explained Parkinson. “Whenever the material to be cut permits, we change to bimetal to extend the life of the expensive carbide blades.” Changing the blades is quick and easy – and since Howat frequently produces large batch sizes, the time spent on processing is virtually no concern.

Furthermore, KASTOwin pro excels with its high productivity.  Depending on the type of blade, cutting times can be reduced by 50 percent and more. A frequency-controlled eleven kW motor drive provides plenty of capacity for the use of carbide blades. The cutting speed is infinitely adjustable from twelve to 150 metres per minute. The electro-mechanical feed system can be controlled using two ball screw spindles, each with a servo drive for precise, infinitely variable control. This system provides exact results and minimises material waste. The saw features a retraction unit for lifting the blade from the material when the saw head moves back to protect the cutting surface and the bandsaw blade. This minimises tool wear.

 

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A Strong Partner For Every Sawing Task

A Strong Partner for Every Sawing Task

Metal Cutting Service relies on the KASTOwin for cutting demanding materials such as aluminium and titanium. Article by KASTO Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG.

Thanks to the new saws, MCS significantly increased its productivity and the quality of the sawn parts.

‘From a two-man company to a much sought-after service provider for industry and trade.’ This summarizes the success story of the California company Metal Cutting Service (MCS). In 1956, Milon Viel and his father-in-law, Ross Clarke, founded the company, which initially focused on the development and manufacture of aluminium window frames. Both men brought their aviation industry experience to the new company—and that would pay off later. MCS decided to specialize in cutting various materials exactly to customer specifications, especially for companies that did not have their own sawing capabilities, and this decision laid the foundation for the successful development of the company.

Today, MCS is a partner and supplier for many well-known manufacturers in the aerospace, defence, aluminium and steel distribution and semiconductor industries. The customers supply the materials to be cut, and they get them back exactly to their ordered specifications. Complex geometries and large dimensions are an MCS specialty: the company saws plate, bar, forging, and extrusions up to 50 inches (1,270 mm) thick and 700 inches (17,780 mm) long. The spectrum of materials ranges from plastics and acrylic materials to steel and special metals that are highly temperature-resistant.

Growing Demands – Also on Sawing Technology

The company has been based in the City of Industry, a suburb of Los Angeles, since 1975. Owner and president David Viel joined his father in 1977 and worked through college, coming on full time in 1981. David became president in 1993 when his father took semi-retirement to have more time for his hobbies. David’s expertise and industry knowledge first led him to research and purchase the first Kasto saw for MCS. But he was not alone in his desire to look for a new machine tool supplier.

“In the past, we mainly worked with multipurpose saws, so every machine basically did every job,” recalls plant manager Curt Steen, who has been with MCS since 1996. “As the requirements of our customers and the variety of their orders increased, however, we had to become more technically specialized, so we purchased different types of saws for the wide range of tasks we had to tackle.”

Steen also made a significant contribution to this development, since he worked with KASTO saws earlier in his career and greatly appreciated their performance. At MCS, he now played a decisive role in driving technological progress, relying on the machines of KASTO. In 2004, the company invested in the first KASTO saw, a KASTObloc U 5 log bandsaw. Five additional saws have been added since then. The latest additions to the MCS KASTO family are three bandsaws from the versatile KASTOwin line with cutting ranges of 18 and 22 inches (460 and 560 mm).

The KASTOwin line is designed for the serial and production sawing of solid materials, pipes and sections. With their broad range of standard equipment, these machines are suitable for a variety of tasks, and thanks to their sturdy construction, the saws are strong enough for their tough working life at MCS.

“We work up to six days a week, all year round in two shifts—and we have to process large and heavy parts,” says Steen. “So, I definitely say we are not known for being easy on our machines!”

The saws must also be suitable for operation with carbide blades to ensure a high level of productivity—and the KASTOwin also meets this requirement.

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Flexible Sawing Solution For Additively Manufactured Parts

Flexible Sawing Solution for Additively Manufactured Parts

The growing additive manufacturing industry has demanded new requirements in the sawing process. Article by Behringer.

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has become more and more important in nearly all industries. 3D printing is a ground-breaking and innovative technology that has the potential to bring intermediate changes in manufacturing, society and business. As a crucial medium connecting the virtual and actual world, 3D printing enables the transformation of digital files into tangible objects.

According to market analyst firm Inkwood Research, the global 3D printing market is expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 percent from 2019 to 2027 and reach a value of US$ 44.39 billion at the end of the forecast period. While North America is the dominating region, Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market for 3D printing.

One important and growing segment of the 3D printing market is the metal additive manufacturing industry. Metal additive manufacturing is increasingly becoming popular among automobile manufacturers across the world. This is because additive manufacturing helps automakers to build stronger and lighter parts within a short period. The technology is now widely adopted by various Formula 1 teams, including Scuderia Ferrari, Williams Martini Racing, and Mercedes-AMG Petronas to produce lighter components such as rear wings, gearbox assemblies, and bodywork to improve the performance of their cars. Many supercar manufacturers are also adopting metal additive manufacturing to reduce overall cost, lead time, and weight. The rising adoption of metal additive manufacturing in the automobile industry is expected to fuel the growth of the market. According to a report by market analyst Technavio, the metal additive manufacturing industry is expected to grow by $4.42 billion during 2020–2024. 

High Sawing Precision

The additive manufacturing processes make it possible to produce simple as well as complex parts in different materials. 3D printing offers many advantages, such as higher design flexibility, and the individualization of the products (a batch size of one). From a process perspective, the additively manufactured parts are printed on a base plate via a supporting structure. To use and process the 3D printed parts, they have to be detached from the base plate.

To address this trend, and in line with the 100th anniversary of Behringer, the company expanded its product portfolio with the release of its 3D-Series of sawing machines. Available in two models—the two models HBE320-523 3D and LPS-T 3D—the high-performance sawing machines were developed for cutting additively manufactured parts in different sizes and shapes.

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Caring For Your Bandsaws

Caring for Your Bandsaws

Here is a list of the common blade failures and their causes, and some maintenance tips to extend the life of your saws. Article by Dake Corp.

There are many types of saw blades available for your metalworking cold saw or band saw depending on the use of the saw. Not only that, there are many new types of saws being introduced all of the time. This can cause a lot of confusion when trying to determine the best saw blade for your application.

Here is a list of five of the most common saw blade types for metalworking and their advantages so you never have to second guess your decision again.

  1. Carbon Hard Back: One-piece carbon steel construction; spring tempered backing with an RC of 43–47 (for rigidity) and a tooth RC of 64–6. Advantages include low cost; resists swagging and scoring; and accepts heavier feed pressures. These result in faster cut rates.
  2. Carbon Flex Back: One-piece carbon steel construction; spring tempered backing with an RC of 31–37 to allow flexing and a tooth RC of 64–66. Advantages are low cost and greater fatigue life. The blade back flexes to minimize back fatigue and fractures; and reduction in blade hardness occurs at about 148.9 deg C (300 deg F).
  3. Bi-Metal (Matrix): A blade made from two dissimilar metals; steel spring backing with high-speed steel edge material welded to tips of the teeth. The high-speed steel often contains 8 percent cobalt for extreme wear characteristics. Advantages are: fatigue resistance; resists back edge swaging; operates at high band tension for straighter cuts compared to carbon steel blades; and reduction in blade hardness occurs at 704 deg C (1300 deg F).
  4. Carbide Tipped: Welded carbide to the tips of each tooth and welded to a high strength alloy backing. Ground for triple chip—every other tooth has a double bevel rather than a straight tooth. Advantages include its ability to cut harder materials; the best finish on non-ferrous applications; greater strength and heat resistance; and eliminates tooth set collapse.
  5. Grit Edge: Tough alloy backing material with tungsten carbide or diamond grit fused to the edge of blade. These blades can have either straight edges or gulleted edges for gummy materials. This type of saw can cut abrasives or very tough materials and can run at higher blade speeds.

Common Saw Blade Failures

Making sure your saw blade is working properly is the best way to reduce downtime and increase production. There are many common causes that can cause blade failure—from blade selection to cutting speeds, feed rates and improper break-in, to maintenance problems, and more. In order to help you extend the life of your blade, here is a rundown of some of the most common blade failures and their causes.

  1. Heavy wear on tips & corners of teeth
  • Blade speed is too fast for material generating high heat at tips causing rapid wear.
  • Feed rate is too low causing teeth to rub material instead of cut.
  • Coolant is the wrong type or mix and is not cooling the blade properly.
  • The material being cut is hardened or abrasive. (i.e. Fiberglass abrasive)
  1. Wear on sides of teeth
  • Not enough teeth set allowing teeth to rub in kerf.
  • Teeth may be hitting guides or machine causing rapid wear on one side of blade.
  • Speed is too fast for the type of material being cut causing extreme temperature at teeth.
  • Blade is too wide for radius being cut (Mostly seen on vertical band saws)
  • Material very hard or abrasive.
  1. Chipped or broken teeth
  • Handling damage
  • Feed rate or feed pressure is too high
  • Improper break-in
  • Wrong tooth pitch
  • Teeth may be hitting part of the machine
  • Hard material is being cut or hard surface scale
  • Hard spots in material
  • Material is not positioned or clamped properly, or there is movement of material during cut
  • Wrong type or lack of coolant
  • Chip brush is not cleaning teeth properly
  • Improper butt-weld on blade
  1. Tooth stripping
  • Feed rate or feed pressure is too high
  • Improper break-in
  • Wrong tooth pitch
  • Teeth may be hitting part of the machine
  • Hard material is being cut or there is hard surface scale
  • Hard spots in the material
  • Material is not positioned or clamped properly or there is movement of material during cut.
  • Wrong type or lack of coolant.
  • Chip brush is not cleaning teeth properly
  • Improper butt-weld on blade
  1. Chips welded to teeth tips
  • Feed pressure is too high
  • Chip brush is not removing chip causing it to fuse to teeth tips
  • Band speed is too fast, creating high temperatures
  • Wrong type or lack of coolant
  • Material make-up: Some materials such as Titanium have chip-welding tendencies.
  1. Tooth gullets loaded with chips
  • Tooth pitch is too fine for the material, leading to insufficient chip clearance
  • Excessive feed pressure is producing extra-large chips for gullet size
  • Chip brush is not working, adjusted, or missing
  • Coolant problems
  1. Heavy wear on side of blade
  • Guide adjustment is too close/tight
  • There are worn guides that do not ride on the blade properly
  • Blade guide is out of alignment
  1. Scoring on side of blade
  • Worn or broken guides
  • Blade guide is out of alignment
  • Band is rubbing on some part of the machine
  • Chip removal is inadequate
  • Abrasive material is being cut
  • Blade is too wide for the radius being cut. (Most seen on vertical saws)
  1. Cracks in gullets
  • Blade too wide for band wheel radius
  • Improper guide alignment
  • Excessive blade tension, feed pressure, or blade speed
  • Improper blade tracking
  • Teeth contacting guides
  • Nicks or scratches in blade backing
  • Worn, missing or defective back-up guide
  • Side guide out of alignment
  • Improper blade tracking
  1. Cracks in the side of the blade
  • Guide is too tight, hardening the blade and causing cracks.
  • Defective side guides

All of the blade failures on this list are preventable! Below are some blade maintenance tips to extend the life of your saw:

  1. Keep cutting area clear of metal chips

Just like you don’t want salt from the winter ruining your car’s paint job, you don’t want metal chips to ruin your saw blade. Keeping the cutting area clean will prevent stray chips from running through the kerf during the cut. Having a properly adjusted chip brush is also critical in cleaning chips from your saw. Make sure the brush just ‘kisses’ the teeth of the saw blade.

  1. Make sure all fluids are fresh and at the proper level

Having fresh coolant with the proper mixture will extend the life of your saw blade. Check to make sure that coolant has the proper flow. Changing the gearbox oil on a regular basis will give you a smoother cut. Don’t forget to check the hydraulic oil level often. This will extend not only the life of the blade, but the life of the saw.

  1. Check that guides and the blade are properly aligned

All blade guides must be able to operate freely, have proper alignment and adjustment in order to obtain top performance. Proper alignment of the saw’s blade track is critical. Wheels that are not in alignment can damage blades by riding low on one wheel and tight against the lip of the other. Improper tracking can cause swagging of the edge and popping of the saw blade off the wheels. If this happens, the blade will have a camber and will be very difficult to track in the future.

  1. Perform operation checks and test the machine set up regularly 

Having a machine that is set up properly is the best way to maintain smooth operation of your saw and saw blade. Correct operation of the machine will provide less maintenance problems, higher cutting capacity, and will extend the overall life of your machine tool.

Follow these saw blade maintenance tips on a regular basis and you are guaranteed to be happy with the performance of your saw for years to come!

 

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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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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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Improving Metal Cutting Productivity With A High-Powered Sawing Machine

Improving Metal Cutting Productivity With A High-Powered Sawing Machine

Increasing performance, cutting energy consumption, reducing footprint, ease of machine handling, and occupational safety are considerations manufacturers should look into when obtaining new sawing machines. By Kerstin Besemer, press and public relations officer, Behringer

Steelmaker Schmolz + Bickenbach Austria GmbH needed sawing machines that were economical, convenient to use, and with an achievable output. The machine shop turned to the HBE411a Dynamic model by Behringer, which covers a range of applications in the steel trade, in machine and tool building, as well as in the demanding metalworking sector.

Automation Components Simplify Part Handling

Automation solutions are an ideal addition to high-performance sawing plants. They are an invaluable aid when it comes to positioning, gripping, measuring and intermediate storage. They allow unmanned shift operation, increase production and ease the physical burden on operators. Depending on the focus of the task in hand, the space conditions and material spectrum, the choice of infeed system can differ.

To ensure more convenient workpiece transport on the infeed side, Herbert Zraunig, chief executive officer of Schmolz + Bickenbach Austria GmbH opted in favour of a flat magazine comprising a magazine roller conveyor and a transverse feed unit at the infeed side.

Flat magazines are able to accommodate different materials, cross-sections and dimensions, and are ideal for diameter ranges from around 90 millimetres. They enable automatic bar changeover and return storage of offcuts. One part is always assigned to each compartment, and magazine management is computer controlled. The system regulates the ideal cutting conditions for different parts.

“A total of seven material bars can be stored outside the roller conveyor upstream from the machine while one bar is transported on the conveyor into the machine”, explains Bernard Mann, owner of Austria-based BF Mann, a distributor of Behringer machines. Stable supporting rollers ensure safe material handling.

Minimum Rest Piece Length With Optimum Fixing

Given the rising price of materials, achieving smallest possible rest piece lengths can be a major benefit. And achieving this key benefit should not be allowed to compromise clamping safety. The HBE Dynamic series are equipped with a double vice as standard. The less movement occurs during machining, the better the alignment and angular accuracy.

More even clamping also means a more precise cut. This applies to material bundles and packages, and also thin-walled pipes, are ideally fixed while a mechanical stop enables rest pieces to be almost completely sawn, which thus saves material.

Improving Energy Efficiency

Resource-saving production, sustainability and energy efficiency are currently on each machine shop’s list of concerns. The rising cost of energy is driving manufacturers to rethink their existing processes and make use of technological innovations to develop new solutions which will enable higher output to be coupled with lower energy input.

Christian Behringer, chief executive officer, Behringer, Germany, said that energy efficiency and high-powered hydraulics need not be contradictory terms, and is achievable with the new HBE Dynamic series. The use of modern frequency-controlled drive systems from renowned manufacturers and gearing ratios specifically configured for purpose mean that specifying the kW output of a motor might not guarantee high cutting output nowadays.

In the HBE261A Dynamic, for instance, a sawing drive of 2.6 kW enables a high machine throughput while requiring minimal energy input, which adds up to efficient production. The feed gripper is designed in a rugged gantry version and mounted in floating bearings. It moves along a closed roller conveyor—a key benefit when machining shorter cuts. As re-gripping is only necessary in this machine after a 600 mm cutting length, this saves valuable non-productive time.

Process Reliability

Process reliability is important in any machine shop, and the HBE Dynamic is capable of lowering the saw frame prior to the cut being performed. Instead of an electronic sensor or manual entry of the height information, the height is detected by a mechanical T-bar which brings the rapid lowering movement to a stop as soon as it senses the upper edge of the material.

The sawing machine’s process reliability was given priority over the use of susceptible electronic systems, as these machines are frequently automated and need to guarantee trouble-free operation when operating unattended.

No-Risk Chip Disposal

A chip disposal system is a vital consideration following sawing cuts. The funnel-shaped machine base enables good access for cleaning and maintenance, and the chip conveyor itself can be supplied as a paddle style conveyor or worm and can be simply pulled out.

To ensure effective cleaning of the saw blade, the machine has electrically driven double chip brushes which clean the bandsaw blade of adhering chips synchronously while sawing operation is in progress. A quick-change device permits the brushes to be exchanged without excessive loss of time.

Functionality And Design Considerations

A sawing machine that has a user-friendly design, occupational safety and environmental protection would prove beneficial to machine shops in the longer term. The HBE Dynamic is fully enclosed and its benefits include: No contamination of the work environment, and reduced noise coupled with an optimum view into the machine through the generously dimensioned viewing window. The easy-maintenance concept enables simple saw blade changeover and good access for repair or cleaning work.

The machine is also fitted with an Auto Feed Control, which is an efficient cutting pressure control that provides a computer-controlled supply of data for cutting speed and servo-controlled feed. This effectively protecting the tool from overloading as the top of the bandsaw blade is traced in real time during the cutting process.

 

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