Banner
Sawing/Cutting

Creative sawing

By Russ Olexa

Automated material handling and sawing systems help meet customer demands

When metal forming and fabricating companies are constantly altering the types and quantity of products they’re producing due to fierce competition throughout the world and lean manufacturing, they at the same time put pressure on their steel service suppliers to react to these changes.

Often instead of ordering enough steel for thousands of parts or products, they order only enough for several hundred or perhaps just for one prototype. To react to these new demands, steel service companies are embracing new automation technology for both material handling and sawing that can easily handle smaller orders.

One of these companies is metals distributor EHG Stahlzentrum West in Dornbirn, Austria. EHG is one of the largest steel service centers in Austria and also sells to other steel service centers. It handles many different types of bar stock in various sizes and profiles including aluminum, copper, bronze, and stainless steel from 5 mm to 400 mm and steel up to 600 mm in diameter. It also handles steel plate with automotive as a big customer, structural I-beams for buildings and tool steels.

By stocking 6,000 items, with more than 100 different material types and 20,000 to 25,000 tons of bar stock, EHG has the inventory to satisfy its 800 customers that are primarily located within 180 miles of the facility. With 100 employees and 16 trucks on the road, they promise to deliver an order within 24 hours. So being able to process, pull and cut an order is of utmost importance. But how is the company able to deliver within this tight time restraint?

Automation is the key
Director Elmar Geiger states, "We offer our customers a very wide delivery and performance range with our stock. We vigorously live our motto: ordered today, delivered tomorrow. This requires an enormous amount of space, storage technology, sawing technology, commis­sioning units and personnel. Due to the high share of just-in-time (JIT) orders with detailed pre-manufacturing, we invest in up-to-date storage and sawing technology along with automation, because this is the only way to achieve profitability when handling small order batches or individual parts. Therefore the machinery at EHG is quite extensive with16 high-performance saws and automated saws from Kasto, four fully automated storage systems and a combined storage and sawing center, also from Kasto."

Geiger and his team continuously expand their product range with new items and consistenlty invest in storage systems. The newest acquisition is a Kasto Unicompact 3.0 fully automatic bar storage system. It uses a honeycomb concept that allows the use of maximum space and high storage density. This equipment uses a random cassette access principle that lowers the number of travel movements to a minimum and allows, combined with the highly dynamic travel movements of the operating gantry crane, a fast cassette delivery within about 1 minute. It’s random because the computer remembers where each cassette is located, it’s not dependent on location.

This system has 4,434 storage locations with 4,004 of those for cassettes with a loading height of 250 mm and 430 locations for cassettes with 550 mm loading height. Cassettes have an outside dimension of 7,200 mm by 630 mm by 300 mm (length by width by height) and can handle 3 tons each. A gantry crane moves the cassettes and offers high speeds in longitudinal travel at 2 m to 70 m per min. One person handles the entire system as well as supplying four automatic saws and bars and cut-piece production.

After the transfer of the cassette from the operating gantry crane to the rotary station, the cassette is transported either to the material removal at a saw or to the production area. The connection between the storage systems and the production area is a special cart moving between the stations.

Normally the operator starts the order and brings it using the conveyors to the packaging line. If the material is too thin and flexible, the operator moves the delivering cart into a different position were he pulls a wood strip from the shelf and then places the thin material on the wood strip. This ensures damage-free handling.

Says Geiger, "With the automatic storage systems, it is possible to store new grades and larger quantities without escalating personnel costs. This allows us to address known and especially new customers with an expanded product range. Both are important for our goal to create additional business. We can now serve our customers better than ever before with bar material of all types."

One of the most important saws that EHG uses is the KastoHBA production bandsaw. It uses an NC controller and has a saw head with a 3-degree incline to ease blade entry when cutting large flats or I-beams. The large bandsaws of the KastoHBA series combine advanced machine-tool design and Kasto’s knowledge in the efficient, cost-effective cutting of large work pieces. Six machine sizes cover a cutting range from 26 in. by 26 in. to 52 in. by 68 in. All six are available as semi-automatic and as fully automatic machines.

The company also uses a fully-automatic circular saw type PKS 140 for high-production cutting. The PKS circular saw uses carbide-tipped saw blades to cut materials up to 5 in. in size. The cut pieces are automatically sorted into programmed container locations while the re-useable remnants are auto­ma­tically restored in the sawing system —only to be used again when needed since the inventory computer keeps track of the actual length of the remnant. EHG serves its customers by being very creative with its equipment and taking advantage of the latest storage and sawing systems. FFJ

Banner

Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

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

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SecturaSOFT

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc. Striker Systems

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Burghardt + Schmidt Group Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. Rolleri USA

STEEL

Butech Bliss UFP Industrial

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Red Bud Industries

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Tishken Advanced Gauging Technologies Automec Inc. BLM Group

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys
Mayfran International Cincinnati Inc. SafanDarley

WATERJET

DEBURRING/FINISHING

LVD Strippit

PUNCHING

Barton International
ATI Industrial Automation Scotchman Industries Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
Lissmac Corp. Trilogy Machinery Inc.

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Osborn

METAL FORMING

Behringer Saws Inc. Omax Corp.
SuperMax Tools FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Cosen Saws

WELDING

Timesavers MetalForming Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Beckwood Press Co. Titan Tool Supply Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company
Triform

 

 

 


BPA_WW_MASTER.jpg