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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.

Bringing Bandsawing Into The Modern Age

Bringing Bandsawing Into The Modern Age

Bandsaws have come a long way, from the convoluted contraptions they once were to versatile, intelligent powerhouses operating at swifter speeds. Ben Fuschino, President of Friggi North America gives his insights into the transformation of the bandsaw and all the good it has to offer.

Cutting metal with a bandsaw has been around for many decades and has changed very little; that is until recently.  It used to be that the bandsaw was that lowly machine that stood by itself and usually appeared overburdened with bars or blocks of steel.  Plodding along, it was the first process for downline machining.

That was then.  Now, innovations and technology advancements are revolutionising the metal cut-off bandsaw.  Today’s machines are true machine tools because manufacturers have elevated the saw.  It now does much more than a straight cut.  The new evolution has the saws performing at incredible cutting rates and accuracies with technological progressions that relay information and statistics as well as inventory tracking to a central computer.

New Generation Of Bandsaws

The new generation of machines are partnered with other operational machine tools to effectively reduce waste, decrease material handling and increase throughput.  Machines today are capable of cutting horizontally, vertically, at angles, and even curves and radii.  By doing more and effectively getting to a near net shape on the bandsaw, the more expensive machining, such as milling, can be greatly reduced.  This means that not only is production moving out the door faster, but at the same time experiencing huge savings in chip management from milling machines.

Anyone that operates mills will know that cleaning and handling these chips is a chore and an expense that affects the bottom line.  In keeping with this thought, having a bandsaw perform as close to near net shape as possible also benefits scrap recovery.  Bandsaws also have the decided advantage of chip management as well.

Any time a mill has to hog out parts, it produces a vast amount of chips.  A bandsaw offers the added value of producing some chips which are much more manageable and can be confined, but with drops that are solid pieces.  Solid pieces can either be reconfigured or cut to square up and re-sell or bring a much better scrap value than chips alone.

Improving Cutting Rates

Dramatically improved bandsaw cutting rates are allowing them to steadily creep into the domain of large circular saws.  Previously, anyone looking to cut blocks or bars quickly had to use large circular saws.  These have a number of defects; replacement of large discs is expensive, and the selection of providers extremely limited.  Large discs also have the disadvantage of large kerf loss- the amount of material taken out by the disc.  On a large disc, the kerf loss could be 15 mm and more, compared to a bandsaw that has a kerf loss of approximately 3 mm.

A high-volume producer would gain tremendous benefits and a lot more production output over days, weeks, and months.  The other much more visible advantages of a bandsaw over a large disc saw are space requirements and significantly less expensive purchase price for a bandsaw.  Large disc saws also have more expensive maintenance and blade costs, when compared to a comparable capacity bandsaw.

Finally, for large forging operations or service centres that need to cut large blocks, there is a limit to the cutting capacity of a disc.  Anything over a metre in diameter would be outside the purview of a disc machine.  But of course, one naturally asks and points out the drastic speed difference between a disc and a bandsaw blade.  Today’s bandsaws are extremely close to achieving the same cutting rates as the large disc saws.  Recent advancements in bandsaw blade technologies utilising a variety of coatings and better carbide technologies have spirited bandsaw manufacturers to produce machines that rival large disc saw cutting performance with minimal kerf loss.

Today’s bandsaw machines are working hard to cut material such as high-nickel mold steels at over 540 sq cm per minute for quick production cutting, and  stainless steels at rates over 450 sq cm per minute.  Latter rates would tax the blade life more, but sustainable rates with above average blade life can be achieved at cutting speeds of between 400 —450 sq cm per minute.  This is quite a leap from rates of 40—80 sq cm from traditional bandsaw machines.

Even if blade life is sacrificed in quick production scenarios, replacement comes at a relatively low cost for bandsaw blades, usually at below US$1500 per blade, meaning that there is an easy trade-off for quick production versus consumable costs. In contrast comparable capacity large discs are priced in the tens of thousands and much more in the case of large diameter blades of 1 m and more.  Hopefully, one can now start to see the improvements in the bandsawing field.

Technological Add-Ons To Bandsaws

We have covered productivity and speed, and changes taking place within the bandsaw world but what we have not addressed is the increasing suite of technological add-ons available to end users.  In today’s analytics-based world, control of process, material, inventory, consumables, and production is paramount.

Bandsaws can now be linked to the central office system through either direct Ethernet link or via wi-fi.  It will report back productivity, blade usage and performance; scan for the type of material to give for inventory control, along with a host of other possible analytics.

Automation, decreased material handling, increased productivity, and efficiency—these are descriptors for modern bandsaws and what they can do in your production environment.

Kasto: KastoWin AMC

Kasto: KastoWin AMC

Kasto’s sawing system for additively manufactured parts, the KastoWin AMC, is an automatic band saw designed for individual offcuts of additively manufactured components. The saw’s 180 deg turning device rotates workpieces, decreasing wear on the saw blade. An intelligent control system of only allowing small quantities through its cutting channel, results in increased productivity, efficiency, precision and safety in its cutting process.

The SmartControl controller and job wizard, which comes standard, enables the machine to operate with minimal manual intervention and shuts off when it reaches the end of the cut.

The band saw has a standard cutting range of 400 × 400 mm, accompanied by a lubrication system with automatic monitoring to provide cooling for its high cutting speeds.

Efficient Sawing In A Digitised Environment: Machinery And Equipment Are Key

Efficient Sawing In A Digitised Environment: Machinery And Equipment Are Key

The rise of new digital industrial technology, referred to as “Industry 4.0”, is transforming the business models of distributors, manufacturing plants and service providers throughout the world, and Southeast Asia is no exception. By Armin Stolzer, owner and chief executive officer, Kasto

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.

This has created immense opportunities for companies, but it has also confronted them with new challenges. Competition is becoming more international and thus more intense. Only by standing out from the crowd and offering customers genuine value can a company stay competitive in the long run. At the same time, expectations in the market are increasing. Customers are demanding more and more different products, and these must be produced in smaller batches. Production must be fast, free of defects, flexible, inexpensive and reliable.

Speed, Versatility, Precision

In the metalworking industry, for example, sawing technology must meet increasingly tough requirements. Machines and tools must not only be fast and versatile, they must also produce cut parts with precise dimensions and surfaces of excellent quality. When the parts are burr-free and reproducibly precise, less work is required for reworking. This raises production efficiency.

Moreover, users want to minimise losses at the start and end of the cut and other kinds of waste in order to make optimum use of the material. For this, high-quality sawing technology tailored to the given requirements is indispensable. When it comes to cutting bar stock in the skilled trades, manufacturing and steel processing, further increases in efficiency and cost-effectiveness can be expected in the future. In each sector, the potential for improvement differs depending on the material, order structure, production volume and personnel costs.

In particular, metal sawing machines for various purposes have been significantly improved through technological progress, with notable increases in cutting performance. Moreover, material handling for sawing has been simplified, with shorter idle times, automation of the material supply and better removal of cut parts.

Automation In Sawing Technology

The Southeast Asian market therefore has a huge demand for innovative and high-quality sawing technology. Efforts are being stepped up in all industries to deploy networking and automation to rationalise production processes.

This is where sawing machine manufacturers can provide users with optimum support. Even the standard versions of many modern sawing machines offer a high level of automation and can be integrated without difficulty into a uniformly controlled materials flow.

This is also true of combined sawing and storage systems in which all the storage, handling, sawing, marking, palletising and bundling processes are performed fully automatically—from the entry of the raw material through to the commissioning of the cut parts. These tasks are increasingly carried out with the help of industrial robots. The requirements relating to performance, efficiency and flexibility are steadily increasing, and these are areas in which robot technology offers enormous potential.

When it comes to saw blades, carbide tools promise significantly improved performance in the machining of various materials. There have also been enhancements in ergonomics and design, including incorporation of strict safety standards.

An increasing division of tasks is arising between high-volume steel suppliers and manufacturers on the one hand and smaller metal-processing companies and manufacturers on the other. The latter need low-cost, universal sawing solutions to cover a broad range of sawing applications, while high-volume producers are investing in highly automated sawing facilities with the aim of cutting personnel costs and running their machinery for long hours without staff.

Carbide-tipped sawing tools are finding increasing use in high-volume production with band saws and circular saws because they considerably reduce sawing times.

Carbide Tools, Advanced Performance

To take full advantage of the increased performance offered by carbide tools, a machine must be massive, robust and optimised to prevent vibration. Thanks to its excellent damping properties, polymer concrete is often preferred to gray cast iron for this purpose.

Other important requirements include greater drive power with a corresponding drive design, modified cutting edge feed, protection of teeth when the blade is retracted and adequate chip removal. Today’s sawing machines also include advanced components for driving, guidance and sensors. More than in the past, it is now possible to provide low-cost, custom solutions by means of fully enclosed machines based on a modular design. Modern machine control systems make it easy for operators to enter engineering and job data.

Companies that do made-to-order sawing in small and medium-sized quantities are increasingly relying on sawing machines with carbide tools. On the feed side, these machines often have magazines or are connected to a sawing centre, allowing them to run fully unattended for long periods. In addition, the outfeed side is modified to cut back on manual sorting and palletising. Robot solutions are flexibly integrated into the machine design so that cut parts can easily be sorted and other machining steps like deburring, milling or centering can be added.

Lowering Cost Per Cut

From the broad range of modern sawing machines in various performance classes and automation levels, the perfect solution can be found for every application. Significant advances in sawing and tool technology have brought about substantial reductions in production times and idle times. Although the necessary high-end peripheral equipment can be more expensive, when applied under the right conditions it can significantly lower the cost per cut and raise overall productivity.

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