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Two Bandsaws Do The Work Of Four Saving Space and Overheads
Two Bandsaws Do The Work Of Four Saving Space and Overheads
Two Bandsaws Do The Work Of Four Saving Space and Overheads
Two Bandsaws Do The Work Of Four Saving Space and Overheads

Two Bandsaws Do The Work Of Four Saving Space and Overheads

Added to MTDCNC by Kasto on 25 March 2015
A pair of KASTO carbide-specification bandsaws cutting nickel alloys will pay for themselves in 40 weeks
Howco, one of the largest independent suppliers of low alloy steel, Duplex and other stainless steels and nickel based alloys to the global oil and gas industry, has installed two additional bandsaws to increase throughput at its largest UK site in Sheffield. The machines, which are designed for cutting with carbide blades, were built by German manufacturer, KASTO and were supplied through its Milton Keynes subsidiary.
Howco Sheffield supplies raw material in a range of sizes up to approximately 1,300 mm diameter / square. It also has one of the industry’s best-equipped machine shops in which it manufactures components to customer requirements. These components are used extensively in subsea wellheads, topsides, downhole and surface drilling, evaluation, completion, production and intervention.
A sharp upturn in business recently resulted in turnover increasing by 36 per cent. It was consequently necessary to expand the number of bandsaws on site, which stood at 28 including a KASTO HBA 1060/1260 installed in the mid-1990s. 
Howco’s European Operations Director, Andrew Marwood, asked Warehouse Manager, Peter Connelly to research the market for the most cost-effective way to increase sawing capacity. It was needed not only to accommodate the upturn in business but also to support a reduction in lead-time for the supply of material and components to customers in the oil and gas industry.
Highly productive bandsaws were required, especially as processed material often visits them three times, initially for cutting test pieces before and after heat treatment and again for sawing the required batch, which can be anything from one-off to several hundreds. Mr. Connelly set about an exhaustive review of machines on the market, eventually deciding on two KASTOtec AC5 bandsaws. 
The machines are equipped with the German manufacturer’s optional, factory-fitted ‘carbide package’, which includes patented blade back-off on both sides of the cut during the upstroke to protect the carbide tips from damage and to improve blade life. A lower speed, high torque gearbox is fitted to optimise sawing productivity with carbide blades. Other design features of the machine are focused on reducing vibrations, particularly of the bandsaw blade.
Howco uses carbide blades extensively as they are particularly suitable for cutting nickel alloys, which tend to close on the blade during the cut, generating a lot of heat. Tungsten carbide teeth withstand the elevated temperatures well in addition to cutting the material efficiently. 
Mr Connelly commented, "The fully enclosed KASTOtecs are top-end saws that are safe to use, quiet and extract maximum productivity from Wikus and Lenox carbide bandsaw blades.
"We would have needed four bandsaws from the other suppliers we considered to cut the same amount of material, which would have taken up more space in our machine shop.
"The KASTO carbide bandsaws cut all of our materials between 40 and 50 per cent faster than our other saws on site and compared with alternative new saws we considered.
"Specifically, they cut 500 mm diameter nickel alloy ingots 50 per cent faster than other comparable bandsaws, giving us an extra 192 hours per week of ingot sawing capacity up to 530 mm diameter."
Glynn Colley, Operations Manager added, "The KASTOtecs are also very reliable, especially with the blade deviation function switched on.
"For this reason, we use the saws almost exclusively for cutting our higher value metals like nickel alloys. A single, 500 mm diameter by six metre long bar can cost over £100,000, so security of operation is important.
"The increased capacity will allow us to meet projected demand both for ingot conversion and for sawing nickel alloy to produce forged and heat treated components.
"The latest KASTO saws are so productive and require so little supervision once set that we have calculated they will pay for themselves in 40 weeks, working 16 hours a day, five days a week."
One factor in the calculation of this amortisation period is the short rest piece length of 35 mm on the KASTOtecs, which compares favourably with 80 mm on other saws. For each tonne of Inconel 718 processed, the monetary saving in reduced wastage is more than £137.50, which can add up to more than £100,000 during the course of a year.
Another financial benefit of the KASTO bandsaws comes from the significantly lower cost per cut than on other models in the machine shop. 
For example, the cost of sawing a six-metre bar of 126 mm diameter Incoloy 925 into 53 mm lengths is 59 per cent lower on a KASTOtec AC5 compared with another make of saw operating with a bimetal blade on the Sheffield site. The reduction is partly down to the sheer speed of cutting (62 cm2/min), but other factors are taken into account as well, including the price of the machine, blade cost and longevity, staff wages and other overheads.
Further tests on other materials demonstrated even higher percentage savings in cost per cut using a KASTOtec. Overall cost for sawing a length of 280 mm diameter AISI 4130 low alloy steel was 63 per cent less, while for 316 stainless steel of 250 mm diameter, the cost was reduced by 70 per cent.
A number of factors contribute to efficient cutting on the KASTOtecs. Reduced vibration is the most important, helped by optimised blade guidance on either side of the point of cutting. More copious and better targeted coolant delivery to the blade and guides also promotes stable cutting performance.
A further contributory feature is automatic adjustment of blade downfeed within the program to suit the material being sawn. If the stock is round, the infeed rate is lower as the blade enters but increases progressively as the blade penetrates the material, which acts as a support to dampen oscillations. The feed rate is lowered again as the blade exits the material and support relies increasingly on the guides once more.
With less vibration comes lower noise. When Howco was visited, a hand-held meter recorded the sound pressure at the point of cutting on one of the KASTOtecs and on another make of bandsaw cutting identical material. The latter reading was 60 dBA and the former substantially quieter at 52 dBA.
Mr Marwood concluded, "The oil and gas industry demands high quality, accuracy and fast delivery; these are at the core of our business ethos.
"The latest multi-million pound investment in our Sheffield operation has seen the installation of new CNC milling equipment, CNC lathes and purpose-built batch heat treatment furnaces as well as the extra sawing machines, underlining our commitment to deliver optimum cost and quality for our customers.
"We value ourselves as the best in our business and have a policy of buying only the best equipment to help us stay there. After researching the sawing machine market for 18 months, we opted for KASTO saws as we believe they offer the highest level of quality and performance."


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