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Sawing of Metals is now Three Times Faster
Sawing of Metals is now Three Times Faster

Sawing of Metals is now Three Times Faster

Added to MTDCNC by Kasto on 29 November 2011


One of the UK's leading suppliers of engineering steel bar and tube, Staniforth-HKB Steel Ltd, Rotherham, has taken delivery of a Kasto Performance Cutting (KPC) derivative of the German manufacturer's TEC A5 bandsaw. According to the stockholder's operations manager, Dean Dainty, the machine cuts hard materials in one-third of the time it used to take on a larger TEC A7 bandsaw, installed in 2005.

Productivity increases of this magnitude were announced by Kasto in 2009 when it launched KPC technology in the UK. In essence, it encompasses attention to all aspects of the bandsawing process including blade ion, guidance and monitoring, machine construction, coolant delivery, feeds, speeds and control system. Specifically, it involves the innovative use of two spring-loaded tensioner guides to suppress and manage blade vibration and harmonics.

Now the claims have been substantiated in practice in the UK, as confirmed by the following example. Staniforth-HKB cuts 410 mm diameter 817M40 high tensile steel in its annealed state into 31 mm thick slices to form blanks from which circular blades are subsequently produced for processing food.

With a cermet-coated, tungsten carbide tipped (TCT) blade on the TEC A5 with KPC switched on, the material was cut in nine minutes, three minutes faster than when using an uncoated TCT blade with KPC switched off. When previously processing material of the same specification and diameter using a bimetal blade on the TEC A7, between 25 and 30 minutes was needed to complete each cut, depending on the condition of the teeth &ndash around three times longer than on the TEC A5 KPC.

Mr Dainty commented, "We took a similar material grade to various potential bandsawing machine suppliers. The feeds and speeds on the Kasto saw impressed us most, together with the quality of cut.

"Increasing business means that we are cutting-to-length larger volumes of material. Many of them are hard or tough, which is the higher added value work we target.

"So we needed an additional bandsaw that could cope with the more exacting steels. KPC processing combined with cermet-coated bandsaw blades has proven to be the ideal combination."

He went on to examine the return on investment for each type of blade, taking into account its cost and performance. Cermet-coated TCT blades are typically £350 each and cut 14 to 17 m2 of steel bar, depending on the grade. Respective figures for uncoated TCT blades are £280 and 10 to 12 m2, while for bimetal HSS they are £120 and 8 m2.

Average cost for sawing 1 m2 is therefore £23, £25 and £15 respectively for coated TCT, uncoated TCT and bimetal HSS blades. However, the labour cost associated with changing the blades is considerably lower with TCT, especially the coated type, as the 15-minute exercise takes place less frequently. Most importantly, the dramatic increase in cutting speeds leads to much higher levels of productivity.

The latest Kasto EC control with touch-screen on the TEC A5 contains optimised cutting data for a library of materials, cross sections and blade combinations, which are called up at the start of each job. Cut length and number of pieces are entered and the cycle then runs automatically. Band speed and infeed rate can be adjusted to optimise the process, as required, and the revised data stored. The control automatically slows band speed and infeed during entry and exit, when cutting circular bar, to prevent undue blade wear.

Mr Dainty said that he plans to link the TEC A5 control directly with a PC in his office so that programs can be transferred. The operator will then load the correct materials from the hard copy cutting notes, after which sawing machine operation will be monitored remotely. Actual cutting data stored, including for overnight running, will be uploaded to allow machine and blade performances to be analysed. This information is currently available within the control, accessible from the shop floor.

The TEC 7 bandsaw remains a key production centre at Rotherham, despite not having KPC. At the time of interview, the job going through was bundle cutting of 18 bars of 100 mm square, black 655M13 nickel-chromium steel into 125 mm long forging blanks to an accuracy of -0 / +2 mm. Cut time was 18 minutes using a bimetal HSS blade running at 34 m/min.

Other jobs put on the larger bandsaw recently include 300 mm diameter 080M40 bar sawn into 10 mm thick brake disc blanks and bundle cutting of 18 Cr-Ni-Mo steel bars from 140 to 365 mm diameter, two or three at a time, to produce gear blanks for a Japanese car manufacturer.

Staniforth-HKB, part of the Barrett Steel Group, has taken out a service contract with Kasto's UK company in Milton Keynes. It carries out regular maintenance not only of the TEC A5 and TEC A7, but also of two earlier HBA 420 Kasto bandsaws that have been operating successfully on the Rotherham site for well over a decade. Mr Dainty describes the service provided as very good. In the unlikely event of an unscheduled machine stoppage, an engineer is on site the same day, or early the following day at the latest.


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