Some might say that sawing doesn’t exactly move at the “speed of light” compared to other fields in the fabrication industry. Regardless of whether this is true, it’s certainly clear that it doesn’t sit at a standstill, either.
Sawing companies are continually improving their products, and as a result, customers will enjoy a variety of new developments that can accomplish anything from allowing one saw to take on the production of three, to keeping the amount of teeth in the cut consistent and even to extending blade life by canceling out vibrations.
With its SC technology – developed for its HBM machine series – Behringer Saws has enabled customers to significantly increase their productivity.
“Basically, our customers can do more with less with this machine,” says Richard Klipp, Behringer’s president. “What I mean by this is that it requires less floor space, fewer saws and fewer operators, because it can do the work of more than one saw. In fact, you could probably do the production of three standard saws with just one HBM – SC.”
Klipp explains further that since fewer operators are required, the result is lower labor costs, higher efficiency and lower cost per cut. The SC, or Speed Cutting, technology was created to provide special functionality in Behringer’s existing line of HBM saws. To make the SC technology a reality, Behringer added a ballscrew servo drive on the down feed controls, giving customers a more powerful down feed of the sawing blade through the material being processed, as well as more precise control over it. A heavier duty gearbox with higher horsepower and greater torque was also added to the machine.
These, plus a number of other important technical advancements, have led to the increased productivity on Behringer’s HBM–SC Series saws. The SC technology is also very versatile.
“You can cut anything with it,” comments Klipp. “However, if you’re looking at a more difficult or challenging cut, that would be an excellent application for our SC technology.
“For inconels, nickel, stainless steel or tool steel, this is where this saw will really shine, because in these metals, you have very slow cutting rates historically.”
When using the SC technology at its maximum capability, a 16-inch diameter stainless steel bar can be cut in only six minutes, which is a 30 SIM removal rate.
As those in saw shops are already aware, Klipp warns that the faster the saw cuts, the shorter the blade life will be. In other words, speed is always a trade-off for longevity of the blade.
To counter against the blade life issue, Behringer uses cast iron in the construction of its saws. This type of construction provides rigidity in the blade and reduces vibrations.
“With the productivity this system delivers, there is opportunity for dramatic cost savings. For example, if they’re cutting during two different shifts, they can potentially eliminate the second shift,” points out Klipp.
The HBM series is not all that Behringer provides in the sawing realm. The company is also a full systems supplier.
“[We also supply] powered conveyors, non-powered conveyors and feeding units of any kind,” says Klipp. “This all falls within our in-house capabilities here in Morgantown, PA.”
In response to customers’ desires to improve their manufacturing processes, Cosen Saws developed a control system technology called the V_Drive that makes the sawing process faster.
“In our minds the best way to do this [was] to somehow increase the rate of cutting, which would then decrease the amount of time [spent] cutting,” comments Michael Finklea, Cosen’s sales manager.
Finklea says that decreasing the amount of time that a part spends on the sawing machine will also serve to decrease fixed costs such as electricity and heating, and decreased cutting time lowers labor costs too.
The V_Drive control-system technology allows for cutting speeds from one-half to two times faster than normal when using a standard bi-metal blade. As a specific example, the V_Drive makes it possible to cut mid-carbon-type steel, such as a 4340 treated to a Rockwell C35, at 12 to 15 sq. IPM. And on 55-pH stainless steel, the system can cut from 6 to 10 sq. IPM.
“A normal cutting rate would be 2 to 3 sq. IPM [for stainless steel],” says Finklea. “So this is even more than double the feed rate.”
Noise cancellation through interacting with the inverter on Cosen’s machines is what makes this possible.
“Anytime that you are cutting, you get a vibration or harmonics while the work is actually being done,” explains Finklea. “[The V_Drive] generates an alternate frequency to the noise that is being produced, and by doing this, it cancels out the harmonics and the vibration, which allows us to run our saw blade faster. Therefore, we can cut faster.”
Canceling out the vibrations also affords another benefit: longer blade life on the saw. Finklea mentions that the chatter normally produced by cutting reduces the blade’s life. Canceling this chatter out, therefore, lengthens the blade’s life and allows customers to save money on replacing it.
“This is something that we’ve had for a while, but we really haven’t marketed it very heavily,” says Finklea.
The V_Drive system is available as an option on any of Cosen’s machines that have an inverter. Cosen is also offering fully enclosed machines as a standard option in the U.S.
Beyond these features, Finklea comments that Cosen offers a broad product line featuring 120 standard models that allow the company to provide customers with a “very customized solution for their problem using an off-the-shelf item.”
Structural Machinery Systems
Structural Machinery Systems, formerly known as Kaltenbach, Inc., recognized a fundamental problem in how conventional structural bandsawing machines cut through material.
“If the saw blade is parallel with the base of the machine, you have just a couple teeth in the cut as you cut through the flanges,” explains David McCorry, president of Structural Machinery Systems. “Then when the band hits the web, all of a sudden you can have 100 times as many teeth in the cut – and this causes problems.”
Most modern structural bandsawing machines are now of the dual-column design with the blade arranged at a fixed angle as the bow is fed through the material – this is known as the “guillotine action.” The issue here is the precise choice of blade angle: too steep, and it extends the cutting path, making for long cutting times, or too shallow, and the original problem with the uneven number of teeth in the cut remains.
“Inclining the band was a partial solution to the problem, but not a total solution,” says McCorry. “A total solution, when cutting into an H-beam for example, would be for the saw band to enter the cut at a slight angle on the first flange, then straighten up to become parallel with the machine base while it cuts down the flanges, until just before it cuts into the web. At that point, it needs to adopt the steepest angle to minimize the number of teeth in engagement with the metal, then level up again for the underside flanges, and, finally, angle slightly again for a smooth exit. Until recently, no such technology existed.”
Such technology, however, came into existence about a year ago when Kaltenbach, Germany, launched the KBS1051DG machine – a new design aimed specifically at steel fabricators and structural steel service centers.
“It’s the fastest structural steel cutting bandsaw in the world,” says McCorry.
Watch a video of the KSB1051 in action.
KBS1051 machines – available in miter-cutting DG and straight-cutting H versions – incorporate patented technology that provides a total solution to the problem that McCorry mentioned earlier in that the angle of inclination of the saw blade varies – by NC control – as the band progresses through the cut.
McCorry comments further, saying that in addition to a dedicated hydraulic cylinder, which varies the attack angle of the band, the band feed mechanism is by pre-loaded ball screw for maximum control. “The two work in tandem, via NC, to ensure the fastest possible cut combined with best possible band life.
“The dimensions of every AISC structural shape are held in the machine database. The operator simply selects the appropriate material, and the saw does the rest. No manual adjustment is required, and the saw includes all the usual safety features and overrides common in today’s high-end bandsawing machines.”
The high feed rates and the smoothness of cut afforded by Kaltenbach’s patented variable incline technology (VIT) allows carbide saw bands to be run at maximum efficiency, as there is no longer a huge variation in the chip load.
“This opens up new possibilities, particularly for steel service centers, where added value is key. Sawing large quantities of heavy beams and columns no longer need cause a bottleneck in production,” says McCorry.
In the area of circular sawing, Structural Machinery Systems, with their Kaltenbach machinery, are now using more CNC controllers, as well as ball screws, than ever before. The all-new Kaltenbach KKS463NA machine, for example, uses three CNC axes – two ball screws and the miter table – all under full numerical control. Material infeed and outfeed are controlled by opposing ball screws.
McCorry says: “This enables us not only to have total control of the stock coming into the machine, which is normal, but in addition, we control the angle of the table to get a miter cut. We also retain control over the part that has just been cut, so that it can be re-positioned, if necessary, to allow another miter cut to be made on the freshly-cut end – in fact, we can take multiple cuts on each end.”
Structural Machinery System’s Kaltenbach KKS463NA is a pre-programmable miter sawing cell capable of doing multiple front-end miters, along with multiple back-end miters on smaller structural steel shapes up to about 4-in.-sq. (5-in. round) tube. An array of auto loader magazines and a modular cut part distribution system enhance the productivity and flexibility of this technology.
The Kaltenbach KS463NA machine is also fitted with an industrial modem as standard, enabling remote operation/troubleshooting/upgrades from virtually anywhere.
“Kaltenbach saws are German-built machine tools, designed with the aim of being the best they can be,” comments McCorry. “Whereas we very much keep one eye on price, these machines are designed and built to do the job correctly – and keep on doing it.”
From cutting faster, to reducing vibrations and even to cutting interchangeably on an angle or parallel, sawing companies continue to innovate their products. The ultimate goal is to keep the sawing process productive, and these companies are doing just that.