Double trouble

By Colin Linneweber

Above: Lissmac’s design for simultaneous top and bottom grinding, in effect, doubles finishing capacity.

Deslagging machine becomes an invaluable asset for national service center chain

November 2017 - The director of sales-fabrication at a major Chicago-based service center network wanted a more advanced deslagging machine than the one his company was using. While seeking a machinery upgrade for the 108-year-old Central Steel & Wire Co., Charles Cipalo discovered the deslagging equipment made by Lissmac Maschinenbau GmbH.

Based in Bad Wurzach, Germany, the company has a sales and distribution arm, Lissmac Corp. in Waterford, New York, which demonstrates its machinery capabilities at North American trade shows.

“In a previous life, I purchased a competitor’s version of the Lissmac solution,” says Cipalo.

“We used to employ a team of four workers with hand grinders and we experienced both over- and under-grinding on piece parts,” he says. “After struggling through significant fabricating issues and periods of downtime and costly repairs, our maintenance and repair organization (MRO) team embarked on a mission to find a better solution.

“We learned about Lissmac and its deslag line through industry contacts and by speaking with the Lissmac team” at an annual exhibition. “Shortly thereafter, we requested a meeting at our facility to learn more about the total value that the equipment provides.”

FFJ 1117 deburring image1

Central Steel & Wire Co. can now process more plate while improving margins with its new deslagging equipment.

Tim Corley, the director of sales and metal processing at Lissmac Corp., is among those Cipalo met with to learn more about deslagging options. Corley recounted visiting Central Steel & Wire’s 1.46-million-sq.-ft. Chicago plant, where he talked the team through the Lissmac line’s features.

“The Lissmac deslag line is made up of two machines and motorized conveyors,” says Corley. Each is designed to aid service centers and large original equipment manufacturers remove slag from material that’s been cut on plasma and oxy-fuel burning tables.

How it works

“The first machine (SBM M D2) is designed with power pin belts to ‘chip away’ the slag on the top or bottom of a part. The second machine, the SBM XL G2S2, has eight belts, four on top and four on the bottom. Two of the four on each side are grinding belts that typically come in 40 grit. However, you can order down to a very aggressive grit such as 20,” he says. “Next are the sanding block belts, which move in opposing directions, clockwise and counterclockwise, to ensure the part is getting worked from all sides. The sanding blocks are made of an abrasive 40 grit and nonwoven material stacked behind it for rigidity and cleanup.”

The SBM XL G2S2 is designed to grind any remaining vertical burrs left on the part with the first set of belts and provide a radius on the edges, as well, says Corley. “Whether you have parts that are marked with slag on the top or bottom, the machine doesn’t care. It just sets the desired material thickness and let the conveyors take the parts through the machine. You let machine do the chipping and grinding.”

This design for top and bottom grinding simultaneously, in effect, doubles finishing capacity.

Introduced to the U.S. in 2011, Lissmac’s deslagging machine consists of motorized conveyors that insert, and remove, materials. The conveyors from Lissmac are built to handle the tough working conditions seen in service centers. The conveyors are connected to the machines and run at the same speed as the parts pass through the deslag line.

“The deslag line can come as a straight line or a return style conveyor can bring the parts back to the operator to make it a one-person job,” says Corley. “A welded tube frame gives strength to withstand the heavy parts.”

Labor ROI 

“Many companies have three to 10 workers chipping and grinding. So, when you cut that labor down to one or two workers, the return on investment is fantastic. In fact,” continues Corley, “we can typically increase a customer’s efficiency by at least 60 percent. With 10 guys deslagging parts, you will not get a consistent quality on the parts. Each guy has a different idea of what is labeled as a ‘good’ part. This line makes the parts more consistent.”  

Lissmac’s deslagging machine and conveyor measures 4.92 ft. wide and it can handle plates up to 4.72 in. thick. The system’s features and size play a vital role in its ability to remove slag from parts. Moreover, this deslagging machine is recognized for its safety and security.

“Slag is often the result of cutting with plasma or oxy-fuel systems for heavy plate,” explains Corley. Often, pieces of hot metal being removed during cutting and hole drilling get deposited on the surface of the plate, which is a problem when plate consumers go on to the next step of processing or manufacturing. They typically require a smooth surface without defects. 

The heat created by the cutting torches “can cause some metal that was cut to remain on the top or bottom side of the profiles and cutouts,” says Corley. “Therefore, in some companies, you may find a secondary operation of removal/chipping off that extra metal or slag with a chisel or grinding wheel. “Considering the many dangers of manually deslagging parts, another benefit [of automating that process] is safety. Some customers have mentioned that, when chipping parts, the slag that is chipped off can hit someone or something and cause damage. Holding the heavy grinding wheel for eight hours can lead to workman’s compensation claims for injuries sustained while deslagging.”

Central Steel & Wire, which distributes processed and unprocessed ferrous and nonferrous metals out of its five service centers, has experienced a significant boost in plate processing output and improved margins since it purchased the deslagging equipment. CS&W executives have provided positive reviews about Lissmac’s customer service.

“Service after the sale has been outstanding and we have not experienced significant down time as a result of breakdowns or maintenance issues,” says Cipalo.

Lissmac, which builds deburring, deslagging, grinding and edging machines, tools and systems for construction companies, metal processors, plant engineers and material handlers, has over 300 employees in four business divisions spread across four locations in Germany, China and the U.S.

After experiencing the new equipment, Charles Cipalo has almost been able to forget about the unproductive deslagging work he encountered in the past. FFJ



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