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Sawing/Cutting

The saw that satisfies

By Caitlin Tucker

Above: The TK 130GL’s cast base gives it better vibration dampening characteristics, which enhances performance and extends blade service life.

Manufacturer’s latest cold saw meets the needs of customers old and new

May 2013 - In July 2011, Consumer Reports published “What’s wrong with customer service?,” a survey of approximately 1,000 consumers. Of those surveyed, 64 percent left a store because of poor customer service, and 67 percent hung up on unhelpful phone operators. The inability to contact a live person via telephone left 71 percent of respondents “tremendously annoyed.” 

It’s clear service is important, and for one cold saw manufacturer, customers appear to be “tremendously pleased.” Tsune America, Columbus, Ind., produces CNC automatic cold saws for a variety of metal grades, sizes and shapes. As a specialist in cold saws exclusively, Tsune guarantees high-quality machines serviced by experts whose reliability retains current customers and attracts new ones, like Wesco Industrial Products.

The North Wales, Pa.-based manufacturer of material handling equipment was first introduced to Tsune’s TK 130GL automatic saw in September 2012 at the International Manufacturing Technology Show, Chicago. 

“We had three band saws and one of them was old and needed to be replaced,” says Mike Connors, operations manager at Wesco. “We looked at a number of saws from different companies. The Tsune really had the best operational features, especially the material feeder, which could handle a wide variety of material shapes. The Tsune saw’s construction was also far superior to the other brands.” The machine’s rugged construction convinced Connors it could withstand the rigors of regular manufacturing. Wesco cuts most standard mill-run shapes including solid bar, C-channel, square and round tube, angle and flat bar.

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Short, rugged and heavy

The 130GL, Tsune’s newest machine, was first shown to the public at IMTS in 2012. “It’s a next generation replacement for what was our 102 machine,” says Tom Billington, sales manager at Tsune. “It is a CNC machine, with ball screw drives just as before for the material feed and the saw head feed. It has a large capacity for a mid-range machine,” he says, noting its ability to handle 4 in. OD with a standard 360 mm blade. “Then it actually can do an oversized 420 mm blade, with that blade it can do 5.1 in. OD, and it can do 4.3 in. square.”

Wesco uses the 420 mm blade, “and we never change it,” says Connors. “We have found that this blade cuts any of the materials we need and it also provides the largest cutting capacity.”

As a cast-base machine the 130GL is a heavier model, compared to machine bases made of welded plate. “A cast base is best for vibration dampening and if you reduce the vibration then you get longer blade life,” says Billington. “One of the changes on the new machine is the saw head is now mounted on precision ground box ways with a central loop system—and that is the same system that’s on our 7-in. It has a full roller bed inside the machine, meaning there are no gaps anywhere for material to fall into the machine,” he continues. “If somebody wants to put a short piece on the machine and process that, it’s very easily done having a full roller bed all the way through.”

The 130GL was designed to have a very short remnant, with a standard 2.2-in. drop-end. “Then if the material is a sufficient quality—if you look at the back end of the rebar stock and you feel like you can grab a hold of the back end—then you can program the remnant to be all the way down to 1 in.,” he continues. The drop-end for most machines in this size range would be 3 in. to 4 in., “so to go down to 2.2. in. or 1 in., that’s a big plus,” he says. 

Speed and efficiency 

Wesco has seen a significant drop in its cut times since purchasing the 130GL. Connors estimates an average 50 percent savings over the company’s previous band saw bundle cutting. The cutting speed of the 130GL makes cutting material one at a time faster than bundle cutting. Connors says Wesco cut 15,000 pieces in February in about 45 percent of the time it used to take to cut those same pieces with band saws. “When we bought the Tsune saw, one of the things that we were impressed with was its ability to handle all of our shapes efficiently,” he says.

Machine upgrades and reliable customer service continue to appeal to previous customers like EMJ Metals, Lynwood, Calif., which was the first U.S. company to purchase the 130GL. 

“We have such a long-term relationship with Tsune and the local Tsune America reps. We’ve dealt with their service department, we knew what to expect from the machines and the blades, so there wasn’t any tentativeness in going with the new model,” says Terry Rynard, assistant manager of operations for the Plainfield, Ind., location. “The 130 is the third generation of the 101s that we currently have. We have three models that we’ve had since the late 1990s and this is new and improved over those.” EMJ mostly uses the 130GL for carbon steel and aluminum material in round bar and tube. 

“What we liked about the newer saw primarily was the touchscreen wizard,” says Rynard. “It’s easy for the guys to program, it’s just a few steps and the speeds and feeds are automatically set.” Operators only need to enter material grade, size and length. “Also, you have the ability to store up to 50 programs in there,” he continues. “We have a lot of repeat jobs that come in every month, so it’s easier for the guys.”

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Safety and benefits

Billington says, “One thing about the Tsune machine is they’re all done the same way, in an enclosed cabinet. You’re not going to reach over the guards and get your hand caught on a saw blade. All the access doors are electromechanically interlocked and the only way to release that interlock is have the machine completely shut down.” 

In addition to safety, the advantages of using the 130GL are its setup time and blade life, says Rynard, “because it’s all programmed, the ideal speeds and feeds are used, so we get excellent blade life.”  Tsune makes its own  standard-size blades in-house, while larger blades are made in Japan. Blade builders “have been trained at the factory in Japan,” says Billington. “When we set up all our equipment here we ensure our machinery is set up to the same specs they run.”

Satisfied customers

Attention to setup detail extends to Tsune’s machine installation at customer locations. “When they install the saw, part of the package is that they stay with you through it,” says Rynard. “They train the operators we choose on all the functions of the new machine. It’s been the same process with every machine that we have bought. The support and the service are great.”

Tsune offers a plant maintenance program with four servicemen who travel to installation jobs. Most office workers started in field service, so phone operators are very familiar with the machines. “Our goal is always to get people up and running as quickly as possible,” says Billington. “Our business is Tsune carbide sawing and that’s what we do. When people call, they’re going to speak with someone who’s very knowledgeable about the machine.” 

Customers old and new appreciate the company’s quality cold saws, attention to detail and service. Connors and his team at Wesco were “just about ready” to purchase a cold saw from another company when they stumbled upon Tsune’s TK 130GL. “It was a hands-down decision,” he says. “Their saw was head and shoulders above basically all the rest of the saws we saw. The Tsune people were really good to work with and provided good support during the purchase process, installation and training.” 

Rynard has enjoyed the long-term relationship between Tsune and EMJ. “We’ve been with them a long time,” he says. “As a steel distributor, we cut a lot for a lot of different people,” anywhere from 50 pieces of 1-in. to 20,000-piece orders for other customers. “We need to be able to easily get material in the machine, get it set up and get pieces cut on the other side,” he continues. “And the Tsunes have given us great value that way. Tsune does a great job for us.” FFJ

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