Bypassing bands

A new vertical product emerges to overcome the challenge of service centers and large manufacturers cutting bundles of tube and pipe


Marvel Mfg. Co. Inc. has always been on the forefront of sawing technology, producing the first vertical tilt-frame saw in 1917. The company has gone vertical again, this time at the request of customers that have for too long put up with the snags that occur due to the metal banding that holds bundled material, stacked together wide and tall.

Ross Hartwig, national sales manager for Marvel, says the Marvel Series 600A-PC3.1, which was featured at last year’s Fabtech and went into beta testing in May, is an automatic vertical saw that helps reduce waste. This non-mitering bundle-cutting saw has an easy load guide and built-in material library and it comes with a servo-driven bar feeder. The Programmable Control 3.1 (PC3.1) is a productivity reporting solution that is newly upgraded with features that offer insights into production.

Addressing an issue

Marvel’s 600A-PC3.1 allows long lengths of banded material to be cut without removing the metal banding.

Garry Toddish, a sawing expert at Marvel who served on the steering group for the 600A that began in October 2014, has watched it develop from the ground up. The target audience for the 600A is large manufacturing and steel service centers that cut bundled material. Toddish says the goal of the project was to reduce the cycle time between cuts and leave less waste on the backside.

One way to reach that goal was to address the metal banding that holds bundled material together, such as long lengths of square or round tubing, which becomes caught on just about anything on or near a sawing table.

“That metal banding can create problems,” Toddish says, “because it gets hooked on equipment such as the work table, the vices themselves, the plates – anything that can catch typically does.”

Marvel sought to develop a saw that would hold everything together while maneuvering the bundle to the cutting position with less shifting in the bundle.

The way most large manufacturing and steel service centers cut bundled material today is to feed the material onto the work table, clamp it with vice-like jaws, cut loose the metal bands holding the material together, move the material into position, make the cut and then re-band the material. It’s a time-consuming process. Furthermore, there is a great deal of shifting of the material before it hits the blade, which causes inefficient cutting and a lot of unnecessary waste.

Marvel’s unique idea was to allow the banding to remain and go through the machine.

That put the wheels in motion, and the decision was made to “open everything up and drop the table down so the banding doesn’t get hooked on anything,” Toddish says. Therefore, the team at Marvel developed a concept that would retract the machine vices, overhead clamps and table supports to the point where the banding would have nothing to catch on or get hooked on.

The bands play on

The Marvel team wanted to design a saw that could take a 40-ft. bundle of material and make clean cuts at the front end and back end of the material.

“Certainly,” he explains, “we can cut at the front end of the bundle, but how do you get to the back end without having to use extraordinary effort to swing the bundle around and trim the tail end?”

This is another reason to leave the metal banding in place – it holds everything together, allowing for easier movement.

Another issue that arises when with working with bundled material in the traditional method is that once the banding is removed and the material is in the grips of the vice, there is still a lot of jostling occurring during the process of moving it to the cutting area. The sheer weight of the material and the oil that comes in contact with it cause slippage, resulting in less accurate cuts.

“Not only do we have vices that hold the material side to side,” Toddish says, further explaining Marvel’s concept, “but we also have top clamps to pull from the top down, again to help keep that bundle secure.”

In control

The 600A uses a 2-in. blade, manufactured under Marvel’s Eagle Beak brand. The 20-ft.-long blade is typically an industry standard bi-metal (M42).

Despite Marvel’s success at preventing slippage by leaving the metal banding on, they also recognized the need for more precise cuts to get closer to the unattainable goal to “reduce remnants to zero.” They accomplished this by making improvements in the PC3, which is now PC3.1.

The upgraded software makes automated adjustments for any slippage that may have occurred before the material was put in cutting position. This means it tells the bar feeder how far it needs to travel to provide more precise length of cuts.

The enhanced PC3 control – hence the .1 addition – allows Marvel to integrate production metrics into the saw, giving insights into productivity per operator, per shift and per blade. Furthermore, the technology in the 600A tallies the number of square inches of material per cut and total number of pieces processed.

“Cut time utilization,” Toddish says refering to the technology. “A number of different metrics are built into the control that can be extracted for analysis by the customer to see which blades are working best, which shift is most productive and if there are any problems from point to point, material to material.”

This is another reason to leave the metal banding in place – it holds everything together, allowing for easier movement.
Marvel has designed and built metalcutting saws for more than 100 years. Operating under the belief that “a saw is only as good as its blade,” the company continues to improve on its Eagle Beak blade brand.

Toddish notes exceedingly few companies are producing a vertical saw such as the 600A. He says the biggest advantage to going vertical with the blade configuration is that it’s easier to lower into cutting position.

“You’re doing all the work in the front of the blade as opposed to underneath the blade,” he notes. “It just makes it easier to line things up. If there is a marked line that the operator is trying to cut, it’s easier to see it as opposed to working underneath the blade.”

Clearly, the process of cutting bundled material has been improved through the launch of the 600A and its new control. For service centers and large manufacturers, they can rest assured that they won’t be hitting any snags going forward.

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