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Tube & Pipe

A need for speed

By Colin Linneweber

Above: “The machine is very easy to operate, connects to most 3D CAD programs and nests most parts,” says David Carr at Watts Specialties LLC.

Wholesale supplier ramps up pipe processing capacity with sleek new cutting tools

October 2017 - “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough,” said legendary race car driver Mario Andretti. Addison, Illinois-based Porter Pipe & Supply is a family owned and operated wholesale supplier that’s provided commercial plumbing items, pipe, valves, fittings, HVACR equipment, and industrial and mechanical products to professional trade businesses since 1976.

After more than four decades in business, Porter Pipe & Supply was nearing capacity using vertical band saws. The distributor and processor, which holds $260 million in inventory—more than 30,000 commodities—across a 330,000-sq.-ft. warehouse, wanted a tool to cut pipe quickly to meet growing demand.

“We needed a way to cut pipe faster and an automated plasma cutter emerged as the right solution,” says Nick Porter, chief operating officer at Porter Pipe & Supply.

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The W-244 has a hydraulically controlled lift deck with a machine conveyor, hydraulically actuated offloader arms to transfer pipe, and a 6-axis profiling carriage on a precision machined and hardened track.

Meet and greet

Executives at the company started conducting research and became intrigued by a W-244 computer-controlled pipe-cutting machine created by Watts Specialties LLC in Puyallup, Washington. Capable of supporting 500 lbs. per ft. to a maximum of 20,000 lbs., the machine conveys and rotates pipe from 2 in. to 24 in. OD with a 20-ft. by 50-ft. bed.

Among its features, the W-244 has a hydraulically controlled lift deck with a machine conveyor, hydraulically actuated offloader arms to transfer pipe, and a 6-axis profiling carriage on a precision machined and hardened track. Porter and his colleagues met with David Carr, Watts Specialties’ sales and marketing director, at a trade show in Chicago where Carr listed some of the W-244’s advantages.

Watts Specialties offers global support with service centers across the United States and in Opladen, Germany. “The machine is very easy to operate, connects to most 3D CAD programs and nests most parts,” says Carr.

“It is also configured with in-feed staging racks, an in-feed conveyor, a cutting cell and an offload rack for finished goods. These features help reduce man hours, bolster quality and efficiency, require less grinding and promote much safer working conditions.”

“David took a great deal of time with us to learn and understand our needs,” says Porter. “He visited our site and, after evaluating our specifications for our exhaust system, offered to customize the machine using the Plymovent system.” Watts partners with Plymovent to provide solutions for the removal of cutting fumes, dust and smoke from industrial operations. “The result is a clean safe and healthier work area,” according to Carr.

Easy output

Porter Pipe & Supply soon experienced greater productivity using the W-244. In fact, by making a minimum of four cuts on each size pipe with both saws, Porter and his team conducted an in-house time study to specify improvements to its operational performance.

“After completing a time study with one of our highest-volume customers, we discovered that we were able to provide cost savings in preparation time of up to 280 percent while also increasing our sales revenue,” says Porter.

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The W-244 allows an operator to make multiple cuts by only inputting data only once.

“We can program repetitive beveled cuts into the machine and, with minimal added process time over square cuts, produce a smooth beveled edge. We can now ship a fully beveled pipe end and do it with a largely automated process.”

For multiple cuts, he continues, “we input the data once and cut many pieces without adding any repetitive setup time. None of this was possible prior to having the Watts machine.”

Watts Specialties, a U.S. manufacturer and global supplier of industrial pipe-cutting equipment, exclusively uses PypeServer software for at-machine, remote pipe cut programming, and job management purposes. PypeServer, with CAD/CAM connections and advanced material marking and tracking, is designed to simplify the importing and nesting of parts and streamline job estimating, scheduling and inventory management in real time.

Watts Specialties’ use of PypeServer was also a major bonus for Porter Pipe & Supply. “PypeServer software was a large part of the reason we chose to go with Watts,” says Porter.  

“It is more advanced and far superior to other software options we found,” he continues. “Our machine is capable of cutting double random length pipe, which helps us economically deliver beveled end pipe.”    

In operation since Gerald Ford was president, Porter Pipe & Supply has become a recognized name in its field. By investing in Watts Specialties’ W-244, the company continues to improve production but more efficiently than before.

Realizing a speedier output is something Nick Porter, David Carr and Mario Andretti can all appreciate. FFJ

Sources

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Beckwood Press Co. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters Triform

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc.

LASER TECHNOLOGY

Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. Mazak Optonics Corp. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC MC Machinery Systems Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SigmaTEK Systems LLC

BEVELING

Murata Machinery, USA, Inc. Davi Inc. Striker Systems
Steelmax Tools LLC TRUMPF Inc.

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

COIL PROCESSING

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Bradbury Group MTS Sensors Rolleri USA

STEEL

Burghardt + Schmidt Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial Automec Inc. BLM Group
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies SafanDarley

WATERJET

Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

PUNCHING

Barton International

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc. Behringer Saws Inc.

WELDING

Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company

 

MetalForming Inc.

 

 

 

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

 

 

 

Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

 


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