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Engineering Components Supplier Automates Sawing
Engineering Components Supplier Automates Sawing
Engineering Components Supplier Automates Sawing

Engineering Components Supplier Automates Sawing

Added to MTDCNC by Kasto on 24 January 2017

One of the UK's leading providers of light engineering components, Stourbridge-based Tasman Industries, has acquired two automated, pivoting-bow bandsaws from Kasto, the most recent of which was delivered in December 2016.

They have transformed the efficiency with which the firm cuts bar material in a vast array of metal types and sizes into large batches of up to several thousands. For smaller runs, say 50-off, it relies partly on a similar, semi-automatic saw installed earlier last year by the same supplier.

Tasman specialises in supplying shaft keys, keysteel, shaft collars, taper and slotted pins, precision dowel pins, screws and many more products in sizes spanning a few square millimetres in cross section up to 125 mm diameter, 100 mm x 50 mm and 75 mm square. Materials range from steels, including stainless, through nickel alloys and titanium to copper alloys, aluminium bronze, phosphor bronze and brass.

Established in 1988, the company is currently owned and managed by equal partners John Bairner and Benjamin Stirling. They oversee a complex manufacturing and distribution business involving sourcing raw material and products from all over the world and shipping it to 3,500 customers, 800 of which are active in any given month. Ranging from blue chip multinationals to individuals repairing their lawn mower, they are mainly in the UK but can be found as far afield as New Zealand.

Complicating these activities is the fact that only half of output is standard, the remainder being bespoke specials supplied to customer specification. They require a combination of milling, turning, grinding, laser cutting, heat treating and plating, carried out by around 1,200 subcontractors, only half of which are in the UK. It is truly a global operation.

The only machining performed at Tasman’s warehouse in the West Midlands is straight and mitre cutting of 200 tonnes of bar material per year. The backbone of this function are two KASTOfunctional A pivoting-bow, automatic bandsaws and a KASTOfunctional U semi-automatic model. They are of solid construction with a robust, torsion-free welded base, capable of cutting material to a maximum of 260 mm round / square. Stock can be mitre-cut to the left at up to 45 degrees and to the right at up to 60 degrees.

John Bairner commented, “We tried moving to automatic sawing a few years ago with the purchase of a circular saw from another manufacturer, but the blade kept breaking, the hydraulics leaked and overall it was not a good experience.

“We went back to using a pair of semi-automatic bandsaws, of which we still use one, but could see the benefits of automation for longer runs.

“So in 2014 we decided to go down the automatic bandsaw route and installed the first KASTOfunctional A with a roller infeed table, having been impressed with a demonstration at the company’s Milton Keynes showroom.

“The machine proved so accurate, reliable and productive that we went for the semi-automatic U version during the first half of 2016 and a second fully automatic model at the end of the year.”

A facet of the bandsaws that impresses Mr Bairner is that the material is fed accurately by a ballscrew drive, as used for axis positioning on mainstream machine tools, rather than via a leadscrew or a hydraulic cylinder.

He also likes the user-friendliness of the Kasto touch-screen control, which allows easy programming of the next cutting job. An in-built database saves time by automatically selecting the correct band speed and rate of downfeed to suit the type and size of material to be cut.

As cutting volumes increase, he will consider buying a bundle clamp for one of the KASTOfunctional As to increase sawing efficiency further when processing bar of smaller cross section. This could happen sooner rather than later, as at the start of 2017 Tasman introduced a subcontract cutting service whereby it will saw to length and mitre cut stock for other companies in the Midlands.

To prepare for this and other initiatives, in November 2016 Tasman bought a new, 25,000 sq ft premises in Rufford Road, Stourbridge, five times larger than its previous facility nearby. The company has also introduced a new business-to-business system on its website - www.keysandpins.com – so customers can order standard products online.

As a consequence, the firm will be able to spend more time on the bespoke manufacturing side of its business, which it believes to be the main area for growth. Quality will continue to be at the heart of its activities, not only through ISO 9001 accreditation but extending to reliability of service and fast turnaround backed by full lot traceability, certificates of conformance and test reports.


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