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Intelligent Mitre saw extends steel stockholders service
Intelligent Mitre saw extends steel stockholders service

Intelligent Mitre saw extends steel stockholders service

Added to MTDCNC by Kasto on 10 September 2014

One of the largest independent steel stockholders in the UK with an annual turnover in excess of £50 million, Hall & Pickles has extended its service to customers by installing a circular saw at its Poynton facility.  Called KASTOflex A, the machine allows any length of stock to be mitred to any angle quickly and economically, irrespective of batch size.

When making frames, for example, customers often want a small number of short infill parts that in the past they tended to cut in-house.  Now the stockholder can produce these shorter mitred lengths for them at competitive prices using the automatic circular saw from KASTO.

Having dealt with this supplier for over 30 years, and with a bandsaw of that age still in daily use alongside four newer models, the company returned to KASTO, Southampton, for the up-rising circular saw, which is the first of its type to be installed in the UK.

A notable feature of the machine is that the operator can choose four master programs from the KASTO CompactControl panel, according to the type of section and cut required.  First is a straight cut program that Hall & Pickles rarely chooses, as it has many bandsawing machines to produce square ends.

The second program is called parallelogram, which allows parallel cuts to be made, normally at 45 degrees but not necessarily.

The third program automatically switches the angle of mitre on each successive upfeed so that dis-similar angles can be produced at either end of a cut piece, for example 30 degrees at one end and 45 degrees at the other.

If the fourth program is selected, the control automatically recognises that it is mitring angle stock.  The saw head turns through 90 degrees after each cut so that the end that has just been sawn is re-trimmed.  Although wasteful of material, it is almost always required when processing angle, as well as other stock that is not symmetrical around the central longitudinal axis.  The reason is that the cut material, if flipped through 180 degrees, does not mate with the previously sawn end, whereas symmetrical stock does.

Sitting beneath these master programs is the order program, comprising values for mitre angle, length of cut and required number of pieces.  The parameters are quickly keyed in on the control’s touch-screen, after which the machine can be left for hours producing large batches of components with minimal operator attendance for manually positioning the material on the infeed table.  The person is therefore free for long periods to carry out other duties.

Another intelligent feature of the machine that Hall & Pickles particularly likes is Zero Start.  Each time a new piece of stock is fed into the machine, it has to be trimmed before production can commence.  Traditionally it is done by pushing the stock underneath the blade manually, aligning the end by eye and pushing the start button for a single cut.

With KASTOflex A, the process is automatic.  All the operator has to do is enter the length of trim cut into the control and the machine does the rest.  Each new length of stock is fed forward until it breaks a light beam, which datums the end.  The material is then advanced by the required amount past the saw blade, typically 10 mm, and the trim cut is made, whereupon the order program immediately starts or resumes.

Having flexible mitring capability for small stock has made a big difference to the stockholder’s business.  It is winning extra business involving straightforward 90-degree bandsawing, as it is able to provide a more comprehensive service by producing small runs of mitre-cut parts economically.

Capacity of the circular saw is 270 by 20 mm flat, 140 mm square and 150 mm diameter round, although Hall & Pickles tends to saw stock well below these maximum figures, eg 30 by 6 mm flats and 100 mm square box section of 4 mm wall thickness.  The solid, high-speed-steel blade is resharpened repeatedly, saving on the cost of the consumable.  Accuracy of cut is said to be spot-on, well inside the ±1 mm requested by customers.

The company is also complimentary about the service it receives from KASTO.  For instance, when using the standard vice for cutting bundles of flats or vertical stacks of square tube, the material previously moved slightly, compromising accuracy.  At no charge, the German manufacturer supplied rubber lined jaws that prevent slippage.

Provision of spares from KASTO's Southampton base is also singled out for praise, as is the faultfinding service provided by engineers over their mobile telephones.

Since the automated circular saw was installed at Poynton, preceded in the last few years by modern KASTO bandsaws fitted with the same CompactControl, the level of customer complaints at Hall & Pickles has fallen to its lowest ever level.  There is now far less chance of operator error leading to lower scrap levels, higher profitability and happier customers.

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