Two for one

By Julie Sammarco

A combined horizontal and mitering band saw saves space and funds

July/August 2012 - Whether saving space in a job shop or in a home garage, having more room for business or pleasure creates options. Space savings in the family garage could mean more room for storage, bikes or a 1968 Firebird Coupe dream car. More space in a job shop could enable additional equipment and increased capacity, ultimately leading to more business.

At the beginning of 2012, Aero Inc., a Walled Lake, Mich.-based tube-bending and fabricating company, was experiencing an increase in orders that required mitering. The company not only needed a horizontal band saw, it also needed mitering capabilities—requirements that force many companies to purchase two separate machines.

“We needed to be able to do mitering in an automated format and [we] were looking for increased capabilities,” says Frankie Geisler, supervisor at Aero.

The company, which cuts mild steel and structural, square and round tubes as well as stainless, aluminum and strip stock for the automotive industry, invested in a HBP-310/403G/A automatic horizontal miter band saw from Behringer Saws Inc., Morgantown, Pa. The saw combines the abilities of a horizontal band saw and a mitering band saw with automatic capability.

The saw allowed Aero, whose client is General Motors, to open up space in the shop, speed production and increase its capabilities, keeping orders in-house that previously needed to be outsourced.

“In terms of space and footprint, it’s definitely a compact machine,” says Geisler. “Had I bought two separate machines for these processes, I would be using twice the space. But since this machine is basically two machines in one, I’m saving half the space.”

The HBP-310/403G/A is 130 in. long, 111 in. wide, 72 in. tall and weighs 7,700 lbs. Some horizontal band saws of comparable ability are 174 in. long, 67 in. wide and 122 in. tall or larger. Then, if a mitering machine is needed, space is required for that as well.

Keeping orders in-house also is saving the company funds and time. “Nobody likes to outsource anything,” says Geisler. “The money we used to spend outsourcing is now ours. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars saved each year.”

Aero cuts small-diameter stock and bundle-cuts to make products such as trailer hitches and shipping dunnage racks. Instead of cutting six tubes at one time, the HBP-310/403G/A can cut eight to 12 tubes. Because of the machine’s accuracy, “it also eliminates some trimming, so it’s saving time there as well,” says Geisler. “If we eliminate trimming entirely, we can save plenty of money there, too.”

“It holds tight tolerances,” says Joe Suydam, sales and marketing associate at Behringer. “Once pieces are cut, they can go directly to another machine instead of having to be deburred or trimmed. People who use this machine are going to be able to weld pieces after cutting as is.”

Added benefits

Increased capacity and accuracy along with easy-to-use features and speed gave Aero the opportunity to put some of its employees to work in other areas of the shop. Automatic features on the HBP-310/403G/A make the saw faster than conventional saws and do not require workers to load it continuously.

“It’s almost running itself,” says Geisler. “We just put tube in it, and it cuts. We don’t need a guy standing by it.”

“People want to make the most of their employees, so the automatic features on this saw are huge,” says Suydam. “It takes away the manpower while those workers can go load other products that are going to be cut and do other jobs in the shop.”

For Aero, saving this kind of time, energy and space could allow it to begin making seat frames, an area in which Geisler expressed interest.

The simplicity and speed of the saw appealed to Aero, which purchased the HBP-310/403G/A after buying a straight-cut saw from Behringer eight years ago. “That’s why we bought another one,” says Geisler.

When Aero decided to purchase its second machine with mitering abilities, it first bought a miter saw from another company, but “it wasn’t anything like the Behringer,” says Geisler. “Behringer bent over backwards for us to get that machine in here. And we’re definitely reaping the benefits of it now. It’s keeping us ahead of the game.” 

The big difference

With the HBP-310/403G/A, “the mitering and feeding is automatic,” says Suydam. “You put in the information via controls, the mitering degree, the length, and you just push a button and let it go to town. Other machines may have a manual miter where you have to release a lock, move it to the certain degree, lock it back in place and feed the material through. But this machine does all that for you.”

Most horizontal band saws only cut at 90 degrees. If a company needs to cut angles, it will need to outsource the work or buy separate machines. “Having the ability to eliminate an entire machine from a shop floor with added angle abilities makes this machine really unique,” says Suydam. “Businesses will have added work space, which they can use for other purposes.” This machine cuts straight and miters at 45 degrees to the left of 90 degrees and 60 degrees to the right of 90 degrees (105 degrees total), where some mitering band saws only miter to one direction.

Designed to cut round materials up to 12.24 in. in diamater and rectangular up to 15.7 in. wide by 12.2 in. high, the machine is suited best for a high-production facility. While many customers purchase this saw for use in the automotive industry, any industry that does production cutting would benefit, says Suydam.

The HBP-310/403G/A “has been particularly popular” with customers, says Suydam. “Although it has been in the market for roughly 10 years, it has been one of our best-selling miter machines. The size of the machine has made it more appealing to more customers.” FFJ

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  • Aero Inc.
    Walled Lake, Mich.
    phone: 248/669-4085
  • Behringer Saws Inc.
    Morgantown, Pa.
    phone: 610/286-9777


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