To say that metal fabrication has come a long way since manufacturers first began processing alloys would be an understatement. This is apparent with just one glance at the latest automated cutting solutions. Not unlike high-tech laser cutting solutions, today’s industrial sawing units are boxed in shells where the most impressive bits are hidden away. Raw material is automatically fed in while precision cut parts are methodically churned out and then guided to downstream areas based on part type.
Technological advancements have enhanced precision and accuracy while the speeds associated with processing cut parts is basically in the “blazing” range. BLM Group is helping to shape the technological landscape in that regard, producing sawing solutions that paint a picture of the future while tackling today’s sawing needs.
BLM’s laser cutting solutions are well-documented with manufacturers across the globe,, yet others are invested in the company’s automated saws. Case in point is the TS72 – a robust, reliable automatic cold saw capable of handling round, square and rectangular tubes with ease. It can be programmed to cut up to four different lengths on each bar of material. It’s basically a “set it and forget it” situation.
Gunar Gossard, director of sales at BLM Group, says the TS72 has offered high-end automated cold sawing for going on 15 years, receiving upgrades as needed, including going from a 5-kW to 7-kW system for improved cutting power.
“This product has evolved over an extensive period of time,” he says, noting the CNC component, communication software and modern menus that have assisted in closing the gap created by a generation of outgoing skilled laborers. “It’s user-friendly and conversational in its programming. It makes operating steps simpler.”
BLM Group offers advanced metalworking solutions, including the TS72, which is touted as a cutting-edge machine offering numerous benefits for fabricators looking to prolong blade life, gain more flexibility in cut lengths and improve cut quality. For users unfamiliar with high-end automated cutting solutions, the machine will be nothing short of revolutionary for them. Even those familiar with automated machines will have something to gain.
There are production facilities where speed is the most valued component of the sawing department, but for many, precision is the key. In order to be considered a “cutting-edge machine,” the saws on the market today must produce flawless outcomes, which includes, above all else, the quality of the cut. Automation and precision are now production goals joined at the hip.
The saw is often the first machine to process parts that can go through dozens of other steps before a finished product comes off the production line. As just one example, robotic welding is a step that requires a high-quality cut from the manufacturer’s saw. Timothy Robbins, business development manager at BLM Group, says manufacturers’ demands for tight tolerances and improved cut quality drives them toward saws like the TS72.
“What you’re seeing is a trend toward accuracy in the sawing department,” he says, adding that the machine can hit extremely tight tolerances between 10,000ths and 12,000ths of an in. “Downstream we’re seeing a lot of customers with robotic welding, so you have to have accuracy when you get into fixtures in robotic welding.”
And the TS72 delivers. Victor Wooster, application engineer at BLM Group, has heard feedback from users who say they have completely eliminated secondary work on the cut parts because they come off the saw so clean. As an added bonus: Getting that quality cut doesn’t require any added training.
“You’re cutting within a day or so,” he says of the gap between implementation and operation.
Robbins adds that with the ease of operation and conversational programming aspect, the learning cycle is short and rarely does he hear from a customer requiring assistance beyond 30 days of implementation.
Even high-production facilities where massive amounts of parts are produced every hour require some variation in cut lengths. But it’s these differences in lengths that can sometimes lead to an abundance of costly scrap. Without an accurate measuring solution, fabricators don’t get the most out of their raw materials and the scrap adds up over the course of a day, month and year.
The TS72 allows for continuous measurement changes, even in small batches. In fact, an operator can program a cut list that includes four different part lengths cut from the same bar. Utilizing a motorized locator, which moves quickly along the saw’s feeding line, it intercepts the programmed lengths with great precision. The part arrangement is automatically optimized, which helps in reducing scrap by maximizing every inch of material.
Scrap that is generated is directed to a specific bin, separate from those where the usable cut parts are directed according to their lengths.
Heavy demands lead to heavy use, which means in the sawing department, changing out blades is a common occurrence. On machines where monitoring blade use isn’t standard, a blade can be used beyond its projected lifespan, leading to poor cut quality and increased scrap, not to mention emergency production shutdowns as a result of a broken blade.
BLM utilizes Blade Saver with the TS72. This function basically monitors the torque on a blade as it processes material, providing vital information the operator can use to make decisions that result in less scrap and better cut quality. Furthermore, the monitoring ensures that the blade is operating optimally through the varying thicknesses of a piece of material, so it is providing consistent chip loads throughout the cut.
Robbins says one of the most common compliments he hears from customers is the saw’s ability to prolong blade life. One customer commented that he’s able to do more work for customers and is, in turn, getting more work.
“He’s now more competitive and winning more business,” Robbins says.
Yes, there are many, many saws on the market today. They come in different shapes, sizes, offer different levels of cutting power and are built for cutting different types of material, but one aspect that can differentiate them is the level of service behind them. BLM Group offers the BLMportal, which is an online resource that customers can use by simply signing in and gaining fast access to assistance.
BLM Group also offers resources for assisting users in reducing downtime, maximizing plant productivity, planning maintenance work around production needs and maintaining the value of their machines over time.
“With anything BLM does,” Robbins says, “support is huge. There are so many saws on the market; you must have a good service foundation.”