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Sawing/Cutting

Military grade

By Gretchen Salois

Arming those tasked with protecting the public, a workhorse cuts reliably and stands the test of time

October 2019 - A bullet weighing roughly half an ounce can cause irreparable damage. In military or law enforcement scenarios, hitting the target is the difference between life and death. Every millimeter counts.

Since its inception in 1751, gun manufacturer Sig Sauer has evolved as an established presence in the industry. Sig Sauer handguns are in service with the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. The manufacturer also equips law enforcement and special forces teams throughout the world.

“After winning the U.S. military contract, we had to expand our manufacturing capabilities significantly,” says Tom Taylor, Sig Sauer’s chief marketing officer and executive vice president for commercial sales.

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Amid the sophisticated technologies, including the latest CNC machinery and robots at work, are four Behringer workhorses: three automatic horizontal band saws and one high speed carbide circular cold saw.

“Our factory is equipped with the latest equipment. We need accuracy and repeatability and, while the Behringer machines have been around for years, they continue to work [consistently] and nonstop,” Taylor says.

“We need to be able to switch over from size to size cuts for each job without making mistakes, and the Behringer automatic saws allow us to do that,” says Peter Shutt, CNC operator at Sig Sauer. “They just don’t break down. Our saws are cutting stainless and aluminum all day long and it doesn’t stop. It’s all day long, six to seven days a week.”

Sig Sauer will cut thousands of parts in one run, switching between varying lengths and gauges. “The longest we’ll cut is 7.8 in. long—anything down to 3-in.-thick stainless steel. We’ll cut extruded aluminum in 12-ft. beam sizes. Job to job, the metal might change as well as the sizing,” Shutt explains.

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The U.S. military tightened its shooting accuracy requirements by 80 percent. Sig Sauer's guns must be able to achieve 10 shots at 25 yards within a tight 2.85-in. circle.

Raising the bar

Reliability is more important than ever for Sig Sauer because its latest military contracts call for an 80 percent improvement in shooting accuracy. “With the prior U.S. military handgun contract, you had to achieve 10 shots at 25 yards within a 9-in. by 11-in. window. Now, the requirements are 10 shots at 25 yards within a tight 2.85-in. circle,” Taylor explains. “This is impossible to achieve when shooting by hand so we have to use a bench rest fixture to make it possible to stay within the much more stringent parameters. In other words, the gun will shoot better than a human can shoot it.”

Behringer’s HBP413A horizontal band saw has been available for the last 15 years—and demand for the workhorse has not waned. “Our saws have heavy-duty builds so they last and continue to meet the tight tolerances and high production required by today’s standards,” says Joe Suydam, Northeast regional manager of Behringer Saws Inc., Morgantown, Pennsylvania.

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The saws are as practical as they are steadfast. To combat chip buildup, Behringer created a custom-built output table. “If Sig Sauer was in the process of cutting rounds, they found they would accumulate chips of material,” Suydam explains. “Now once parts exit the saw, the coolant and chips fall down through the saw as opposed to a flat output table configuration. This makes it easier on the operator—they don’t have to sit there and clean the machine after every cut.

“We listen to customers in order to continue to improve our machines but in the case of the HBP413A, it’s proven reliable and is a staple that keeps customers happy,” Suydam says.

Through the years, Sig Sauer performed its due diligence and purchased different bandsaw brands to keep its options open. “The saw we had was a beast and did its job but we had trouble with repeatability,” recalls Shutt. “We’d be 0.030 in. to 0.050 in. off, depending on the run and, at this point, we couldn’t tolerate it any longer. We needed something consistent as well as powerful.”

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Sig Sauer will cut thousands of parts in one run, switching between varying lengths and gauges on its Behringer saws.

The three horizontal saws Sig Sauer runs are the same model, just built in different years. “They all look exactly the same with the same controls, the same ease of use and the same capabilities,” Shutt says. “We make a lot of guns, so we continue to run at capacity. We’re running thousands of parts, not hundreds.”

As demand continues to rise, “our quality can’t go backward,” says Sig Sauer’s Taylor. “We maintain virtually the same employee base but have quadrupled our tech base and equipment. We plan to continue to win military-level contracts. In order to do that, we need to continue to push forward.” FFJ

Sources

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Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

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Alliance Steel
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Mazak Optonics Corp.

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AMADA AMERICA, INC.

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MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys
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Barton International
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Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
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Behringer Saws Inc. Omax Corp.
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HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Beckwood Press Co. Titan Tool Supply Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company
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