Cutting costs

By Stephanie Andrews

New saw combines high performance with a smaller price tag

January 2013 - As the industry continues to pick itself up from a recessionary beating, companies are trying to find ways to keep from emptying their wallets while remaining competitive. Those looking to expand offerings or upgrade equipment during tough economic times must find ways to reinvest in the company without taking on too much of a financial burden. Most consider the financial hardships companies take when they decide to purchase new equipment or expand facilities despite economic turmoil, but what about the companies that must continue to make newer, better equipment to stay competitive in the market? For companies like DoAll Sawing Products, Wheeling, Ill., it was crucial to create a line of saws that would ring true to what the company stands for, but also go up against other competitively priced saws in the industry. 

ffj-0113-sawing-image1Changing tides

“We’ve been getting hammered, from an imports standpoint,” says Lenny Borowski, senior technical engineer at DoAll. “People wanted an inexpensive saw and we never had that to offer.” Founded in 1927, DoAll prides itself on its durable American-made saws. But being American made often comes with a hefty price. “All of our lines were built in the United States and were a bit pricey, and people are used to that when they are buying American products, but when they are comparing it to foreign products it’s harder to justify,” says Borowski. 

DoAll’s solution was simple—partner with a company overseas who would make the same durable and trusty saws, but at a fraction of the price. DoAll Europa, Netherlands, already had an established and successful partnership with a company in Taiwan that had been exporting its saws for almost five years, and DoAll saw an opportunity to follow in its European branch’s footsteps. 

“We call it the Continental line because the founding company was called Continental Machines,” says Borowski. “And the Continental Process was the way [DoAll’s founder] Leighton Wilkie connected rods and crank shafts in early automobiles—so we kept that name, applied it to [the line] and marketed it as such.” 

Despite coming late to the import scene, DoAll believes its product stands out. “We may have been a late player in getting into it and competing,” says Borowski, “but I think our product is proving it’s durable and it’s built well.” Once the saw is ready to be shipped, it’s sent from Taiwan to DoAll’s factory in Minnesota, where final inspections are performed before the saw is shipped to the customer. 

Cut-rate series

When DoAll introduced the Continental series, it turned quite a few customers’ heads. “I think a few of them are surprised that we’re selling an item such as this because we are an American-made company and strictly have been,” says Borowski. “But they realize we have to do what we have to do to survive. So from that end, when you’re geared one way you don’t like it, but if you are flexible, everyone understands that this is no longer just a small country, it’s a worldwide market. You have to deal with the world.” Stakes are higher now as the U.S. isn’t just competing within itself anymore, but globally, as well. “If you are going to compete, that’s who you’re competing with, it’s no longer just the guy next door,” says Borowski. 

And while the Continental series may seem vastly different because it’s an import, DoAll guarantees the same quality, durability and perks that come with any saw DoAll offers. “I think [our customers] have embraced it,” says Borowski. “We are offering them a quality product with our name behind it and they are pleased when they get the machines.”ffj-0113-sawing-image2

One of those customers is Industrial Motion Control LLC, Wheeling, Ill., a manufacturer of motion control components for automation equipment. With a collection of old saws requiring constant maintenance and slowing production, the company needed an upgrade. “We actually had a lot of old saws here, we had one that was just limping along and it didn’t hold the bar capacity that we needed,” says Greg Gallina, manager of manufacturing at Industrial Motion Control. “One saw that was at least 25 years old had been  through the ringer a few times, and the other two that had been around 15 years were starting to require a lot of maintenance. So we went ahead and said, ‘What’s in the market that’s competitive in price and also a brand name?’” 

Having worked with DoAll before, and knowing the company’s price point, IMC went to DoAll for a new saw. DoAll presented several options, including the DC-460NC, one of six models in the Continental series. “They said, ‘We have a beta model that we want to go ahead and do some really good testing on. Would you guys be interested?’ They gave us a competitive price and they’ve supplied us with a lot of service—Lenny had been in and out working with our operators to get it up and running. He worked together with us to maximize the blade life and cutting efficiences of the saw. He also does our preventative maintenance each quarter to ensure the saw is operating properly,” says Gallina. 

Slicing turnover time

Since installing the DC-460NC, Gallina says it’s been extremely productive. “We’ve actually seen a 30 percent increase in productivity,” he says. “It’s because of the proper speeds and feeds, it’s nice and rigid and cuts straight.” The blade life also has increased productivity for IMC. “Because of our mix, we cut somewhere, on average, of 3,000 sq. in. before we have to do a blade change, but it depends on what we are cutting. If we are cutting a lot of tool steel we have to change it more often than if we are cutting aluminum where we get more life out of it.” IMC typically uses the DC-460NC for cutting round bar stock up to 16 in. diameter, 4140 and A2 tool steel, Dura-Bar and aluminum, but DoAll says its saws can cut through just about anything. “You name it, it pretty much cuts it,” says Borowski. “We go from the softest to the hardest. It’s designed for steel warehouses. It’s heavy.”ffj-0113-sawing-image3

One of the standard features for the Continental series is variable vise pressure. “The standard features are what’s impressive,” says Borowski. “It has variable vise pressure for people who cut tubing and different structures where they need to not bend the walls but they need to hold it firmly.” The series also has nesting fixtures, so the operator isn’t restricted to cutting only one or two pieces. This, too, is a standard feature. These features, coupled with the 20-job memory and the multilingual option, make the Continental series popular with its operators. “[The operators] like it a lot,” says Gallina. “There are a couple different languages in the control. I have a lot of diversity here and it’s nice that they can go ahead and relate to it in their own language.”  

“There are four languages that can be programmed along with English,” says Borowski. “Spanish has really caught the eye of many, especially in the Chicago market. Some of [the operators] are bilingual and some of them aren’t. So when I’m in a training session, if they can see the screen in Spanish, even if they can’t understand me, they can understand the functions of the saw now.  So it’s very operator friendly.”

Chopping barriers

For IMC, buying this saw was a no-brainer. “I have worked with DoAll before and they were always very supportive, so I really wasn’t concerned about having the support,” says Gallina. Although IMC did compare this saw to American-made saws before purchasing, the durability of the DoAll saw and the budget-friendly price made this a wise investment for the company. “People are looking at what they are getting for their dollar,” says Borowski. “Everyone is looking for a value and they are looking for an investment on a piece of equipment that’s going to be around for a while.”

DoAll’s Continental series has made a name for itself among its American-made counterparts, and with the industry constantly changing and growing, DoAll has had a positive response to this imported line. “I do not think there is lot of resistance to the foreign market as much as there used to be, so I believe it’s easier to overcome than it was,” says Borowski. “We’ve had this product for four to five years, we’ve tested it, we’ve run it. We can overcome pretty much any roadblock anyone throws at us.” FFJ

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