Taking control

By John Loos

Marvel Mfg.'s TouchTech 60 delivers quick, high-quality cuts with the touch of a button

April 2010 - In any industry, there are leaders, and there are followers. Whereas some companies seek to do what’s already been done in more efficient or economical ways, those that truly differentiate themselves push the industry forward with continuous innovation.

Throughout its 100-plus-year history, Marvel Mfg. Co. Inc., Oshkosh, Wis., has been a leader in the sawing industry, introducing revolutionary technologies and always striving to improve its available products.

Marvel Mfg. started in 1904 making hacksaws and hacksaw blades, eventually moving into the band saw market. In 1917, it introduced the world’s first vertical tilt frame. More recently, the company was the first to implement programmable controls to vertical saws, as well as manufacture vertical saws that could miter 60 degrees.

One of Marvel’s latest vertical band saws, the TouchTech 60 Series 2125, is in some ways the culmination of the company’s decades of innovations.

Designed to run multiple shifts in demanding environments, the saw features a standard capacity of 20 in. by 25 in., 60-degree mitering both left and right, a 3-degree forward canted blade, smooth precision positioning, a rigid linear guide system for greater accuracy, a vector-control electric blade drive and a 48-in. automatic servo drive bar feed with an index speed of 60 fpm.

Marvel developed the TouchTech by using customers’ feedback and suggestions to create a sawing system that was fast, efficient and easy to use.

"What we hear from a lot of our customers is [that] they need to cut faster," says Don Armstrong, national sales manager for Marvel. "They might say, ‘We’re looking at a second machine,’ or, ‘We need a machine that’ll actually cut faster.’ And when you go in and look at the operation, what you find is the number of minutes out of any given hour that they’re actually cutting metal [is] pretty minor. Where the real time loss is is in moving the material through the saw. So that’s one of the reasons we went with the higher speed on the bar feed and the longer bar feed lengths too."

Simple sawing
According to Armstrong, the TouchTech 60 perpetuates two of Marvel’s engineering cornerstones: It expedites sawing processes, and it’s simple to program and use.

"The big advantage to [the TouchTech 60] is it’s fully automatic," he says. "You can plug in the length of the piece you want, the angle that you want, the ends cut to the number of pieces that you want, and the machine will feed, tilt and cut automatically."

Armstrong adds that the number of pieces that can be programmed in the TouchTech is unlimited. Also, the bar feed is adjustable from its 4-ft. standard length and is available in lengths of 8 ft., 13 ft. and 18 ft. to accommodate larger jobs.

However, Armstrong says the standout aspect of the TouchTech 60 is the touch-screen Cutting Edge control. Windows-based and featuring advanced graphical programming, the control settings can be adjusted to the operator’s preference.

Automatic jobs that are programmed include a finished-part diagram that displays the length and degree of any miters. Overall job settings for different materials, speeds and sizes can be selected and saved in a single, easy-to-navigate window.

"If you’ve made a mistake or you need to enter something that you haven’t yet, or if you need to clamp one of the vises before the run, it’ll tell you," says Armstrong. "It’s step by step, so it’s really easy to use. "It also adds a lot of flexibility, and whether you’re doing long runs of pieces or just one or two of the given piece, you can do both," he continues. "And it’ll save the recommended blade speeds."

The Cutting Edge control takes job management a step further by offering a comprehensive part inventory database that can be accessed to help expedite job programming.

"The other nice feature is you can build this library of parts and put all of your custom part numbers in there," says Armstrong. "It has an optimizer feature where you can go in and say, for example, ‘This is 4-in. square tubing, and I’ve got so many feet of it, and I want to cut these parts.’ It’ll tell you what order to cut the pieces in to minimize scrap. You can go through and search and [ask], ‘What other parts do we commonly cut out of this material?’ and it’ll give you a list."

Vertical growth
One company that has been growing fast and wanting to streamline its sawing operations is East End Welding, Brimfield, Ohio.

East End Welding has been in the custom metal fabricating business for more than 60 years, growing from a garage-sized shop in the 1940s to a full-capacity fabricator located in a 133,000-sq.-ft. facility.

In the last two decades, East End Welding has looked to upgrade its machines to accommodate its expanded market focus, which today covers power generation and construction equipment, among other industries.

In the past, East End Welding had used several Marvel saws and had good experiences with them. However, the company eventually replaced those older models with a competitor’s machine, which proved to be a problematic fit.

"We had multiple unsupported issues with the machine and actually had to modify the machine to keep it running," says Mike Benyi, project manager for East End Welding. "When it was time to upgrade, we looked to Marvel. The regional [sales] representative and our distributor, Ram Sales, scheduled a visit to a shop in the area that had a saw they felt would be a good fit. Originally, we were looking at the basic 2125 model, and this company had the TouchTech 60. When I saw [the TouchTech’s] capabilities, I knew we had have to one. With the TouchTech 60 in place, we doubled our production that we were getting on the old saw. We were so pleased with the machine, two years later, we purchased another one."

Benyi found the heavy-duty design of the saw a notable advantage, along with "the ease of use with the touch screen, the ability to store multiple jobs and, of course, the 60-degree mitering capacity. In a few minutes, we can create a program or pull up a previously stored program, load the saw, make a square cut and hit the start button, and just like that, we’re making parts."

Support system
Beyond its actual sawing systems, Marvel has a team of service technicians, both in-house and regionally located, to address any questions or issues with its saws that may arise. Benyi, in particular, finds Marvel’s support infrastructure to be a big benefit.

"When there’s a problem, there’s an immediate response to get you back on the road," says Benyi. "That’s something you can’t put a price on." FFJ

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  • East End Welding
    Brimfield, Ohio
    phone: 330/677-6000

  • Marvel Mfg. Co. Inc.
    fax: 920/236-7209


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