Cutting With Confidence

A metal cutting service center ups productivity and reduces scrap with saw updates


Like most companies that have a 60-plus year history, a lot has changed since Metal Cutting Service (MCS) was established in 1956. New materials have hit the market and new methods of working with those materials have been developed. Meeting its current sawing demands required the California-based company to venture onto new ground.

After bringing in new Kastowin saws, Metal Cutting Service significantly increased production.

MCS, the brainchild of Milon Viel and his father-in-law, Ross Clarke, was established as a two-man operation focusing mostly on manufacturing aluminum window frames. The men had experience in the aviation industry and brought that knowledge to MCS where they were able to cut a variety of materials to exact customer specifications. This was a great benefit for companies that didn’t have sawing technology of their own.

MCS specializes in cutting various materials exactly to customer specification, especially for companies that do not have their own sawing capacity.

That detail oriented approach paid off, and today, MCS is a partner and supplier for many well-known manufacturers in the aerospace, defense, aluminum and steel distribution and semiconductor industries. MCS’ sawing services are housed in more than 32,000 sq. ft. in City of Industry, Calif. The company specializes in complex geometries and large dimensions on plate, bar, forging and extrusions up to 4 ft. thick and 58 ft. long. Materials range from steel to specialty metals that are highly temperature resistant.

“In the past,” says Curt Steen, MCS plant manager, “we mainly worked with multi-purpose, so every machine basically did every job. As the requirements of our customers and the variety of their orders increased, we had to become more technically specialized, so we purchased different types of saws for the wide range of tasks we had to tackle.”

Now located in a suburb of Los Angeles, MCS was established as a two-man shop in 1956 but serves major companies in several industries today.

MCS performs those tasks for an extensive client list that includes such heavyweights as Lockheed Martin, Northrop/Grumman, Boeing Aerospace and the California Institute of Technology. Aside from the aerospace industry, MCS has also served clients with parts used for nuclear submarine components, farm equipment manufacturing, semiconductors, automobile OEMs and suppliers, space and defense contractors, and medical device manufacturers, among others.

“The display provides real-time information on the operating times and wear of the saw blades. This helps us to achieve better results and virtually eliminate scrap.”
Curt Steen, plant manager, Metal Cutting Service

The Right Fit

Steen is a long-time employee of MCS but he worked with Kasto saws early in his career and realized the value in bringing that brand to MCS. The first Kasto saw Steen sought out was the Kastobloc U 5 log bandsaw in 2004. Since then, the company has brought in five more saws from the company, the latest of which are three bandsaws from the Kastowin line with cutting ranges of 18 in. to 22 in. Kastowin saws are designed for the serial and production sawing of solid materials, pipes and sections. The saws are suitable for many tasks and are engineered to be sturdy enough to keep up with manufacturers’ high demands.

Loyal to the Kasto brand going on 16 years, MCS recently acquired three Kastowin saws and has reduced scrap drastically since implementing their use.

“We work up to six days a week, all year round in two shifts – and we have to process large and heavy parts,” Steen says. “So, I definitely say we are not known for being easy on our machines!”

Another demand from MCS was that the saws operate with carbide blades to ensure a high level productivity, which is another reason Steen says they chose the Kastowin line.

David Viel, the son of founder Milon Viel, worked at MCS through college, but came on full time in 1981. Since 1993, David has served as president of the company and helped Steen research saws, which led to the first Kasto saw purchase.

One of the earlier machines MCS invested in was a vertical bandsaw from Kasto, which offers reliability and a quality cut.

“We’ve been a Kasto customer for 15 years,” Viel says, “and the saws that we’ve been using all these years have totally convinced us they are the best due to their reliability and short downtimes.”

Steen says that another effective argument for Kasto is their focus on customer service.

“Whenever we need support,” he says, “we always get it immediately – by telephone from the North American service hotline or personally from the local service staff. Kasto is really exemplary in this respect.”

“These machines have really given us a lot of quality and value for our money.”
Curt Steen, plant manager, Metal Cutting Service

Attractive Benefits

While manufacturers desire the best saws for their shop room floors, budgets dictate which saw they’ll actually purchase. Kasto helps keep the cost down on their products by designing them with identical parts in various areas of the saw.

“These machines have really given us a lot of quality and value for our money,” Steen says, adding that MCS has benefited from the short delivery times. “The saws we ordered have always been in stock at the American branch of Kasto, although they’re produced in Germany. For example, we had a capacity bottleneck in the summer of 2018 and we couldn’t keep up with orders. We ordered an additional machine from Kasto on short notice and it was working for us in less than a week.”

Another attraction that keeps Steen and Viel loyal to the Kasto brand is the extensive range of accessories for the Kastowin line, which allows them to make modifications for very specific part production. The saw’s control system is another highlight, as it allows MCS employees to create several orders intuitively, processing them automatically, one after the other.

“We can individually adjust all the parameters, such as cutting times,” Steen notes, adding that this allows the saws to be optimally integrated into the MCS process chain.

The more insights a manufacturer has into how their production machines are working, the better positioned they are to reduce waste, increase productivity and have more quality control. To that end, Kasto has introduced BandControl, a built-in saw blade monitoring system that adds an extra layer of insight into blade wear.

“The display provides real-time information on the operating times and wear of the saw blades,” Steen explains. “This helps us to achieve better results and virtually eliminate scrap.”

And when it comes to changing saw blades, operator safety is a priority. Considering that the National Safety Council estimates that the total work injury costs in 2018 were $170.8 billion, a lot can be said for taking precautions to keep from adding to that cost. Kasto has built in safety functions that allow operators to change out blades quickly and easily, but safely as well.

“Overall, we’re very pleased with our relationship with Kasto,” Viel says. “Every saw we’ve bought from them has fully convinced us performance-wise and definitely contributes to our continued success.”

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