Value-added automation

Bringing fully and semi-automatic solutions to manufacturers that deal with a variety of angles and other applications

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Value added” should be a familiar phrase to anyone invested in improving business. For manufacturers looking to add value to their current lineup of saws, Scotchman Industries Inc. has solutions.

 width=Operators using CPO 315 RFA, Scotchman’s largest automated saw, can easily punch in cut lists on a touch screen control panel placed on the saw, as seen in this video.

Scotchman, which celebrates 50 years in business next year, has long been known for its cold saws and ironworking solutions. However, thanks to a partnership with RazorGage, a company that specializes in automatic feed systems (Programmable Stops) and software for automated processes, Scotchman is now bringing the value added slogan to customers old and new.

Mike Albrecht, national sales manager at Scotchman, says customers are seeking out technology that allows them to take the labor out of the hands of the saw operator. The push system created by RazorGage uses software designed in-house that operators can access via a tablet or large touch screen attached to a saw’s control panel where they can enter their cut list. The technology is intuitive and easy to use.

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Scotchman’s HFA fully automatic saw features touch screen controls and adjustable indexing feed speeds. Four separate cut lengths can be programmed for each job.

A New Angle

Engineers are becoming more creative in their designs, which means manufacturers need more options to get the efficiency they need when making multiple-angled cuts. Albrecht says he’s seeing a require to help manufacturers make more exotic profile cuts.

“Nothing is straight square, up and down anymore,” Albrecht claims.

“There is always some geometric profile added to designs.”

Albrecht admits that mixing miter saws and automated sawing is “kind of a tricky process,” that Scotchman has tackled by pairing its non-ferrous, metal-only saws with a feed system (also referred to as a push system) and software from RazorBlade called AngleMaster. The target audience has traditionally been door and window manufacturers, but he also has some fabricators and a trailer manufacturer as users. The AngleMaster paired with Scotchman saws, he says, is a good fit for an operator that currently has to manually turn the head of the saw with every new angled cut.

 width=In this video, Scotchman features the AngleMaster feed system on its SUP- 500 upcut saw, giving operators a semi-automatic sawing solution for a variety of angled cuts.

“I don’t like to limit it to any one industry,” Albrecht says. “This saw takes the labor out of the jobs that require a variety of angled cuts per part, and it takes the error out of it.”

The AngleMaster automatic feed solution feeds stock material into the miter saw at the proper length according to the cut list that can be entered on the touch screen or through saved cut lists that can be uploaded via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB.

The cut lists direct the saw head to automatically rotate to the angle that the operator has punched in for each specific part. Albrecht says one of the big perks of having the Surface Pro tablet, or the 23-in. PC touch screen for operators who want a bigger view, on the saw is that when the operator runs into a problem, they can pull up instructional videos and troubleshoot the issue.

“I think a 12 year old could walk up to this machine and make parts in minutes,” Albrecht says.

Semi all the way

 width=Check out Scotchman’s GAA 500 90 DT-20, an upcut saw with a drilling component. It comes in fully and semi-automatic versions.

The AngleMaster with added value from RazorGage doesn’t make it a fully automatic saw, and that’s a good thing. Albrecht explains that when dealing with various wedges and angles, operators need to visually inspect the placement of the material before the cut is made, especially with material that has a 9-in. profile (the maximum diameter for the AngleMaster).

Albrecht says the mitered profiles have more of a tendency to push away from the fence as the push feeder is indexing the material, which would lead to an improper cut. Because Scotchman’s upcut saws have an acrylic hood, the operator can see through to the material being held by the clamps.

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The RFA bundle loader can handle raw stock up to 24 ft. long, giving operators more options when it comes to handling varying lengths of material.

“Those exotic profiles can get very expensive,” Albrecht explains. “So mistakes are very costly. Running it semi-automatically allows the operator to make sure that his clamps are holding the part properly before he actually sends the blade up through the cut.”

Albrecht says the semi-automatic solution does most of the work for the operator. It does the critical thinking of setting the angle and indexing the material to proper length.

Drilling option

Scotchman recently jumped into another sawing solution that had some people scratching their heads. The GAA series delves into vertical drilling – a first for the company. The GAA 500 90 DT-20 comes in semi- and fully automatic versions. While it is an upcut saw with an automatic feeder, it also has the ability to drill and tap.

Adding the drill, Albrecht says, allows the saw to go into many shops, expanding its target audience. With the GAA series, operators can program automatic indexing of a single length of material and the saw drills, taps and cuts off the part at the same time.

“People were wondering why we wanted to go down that road because it’s out of the normal realm of what we do,” Albrecht explains. “We have learned you have to add value to everything you do. Our customers want to be more productive. We’re constantly trying to add more value, even with our ironworkers.”

Hfa and rfa

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Scotchman marked a jump into drilling and tapping with the GAA-500 DT. Available in fully and semi-automatic versions, this saw has a cutting speed of 3,000 RPM.

Scotchman offers a series of HFA (hitch feed automatic) and RFA (roll feed automatic) saws for customers that need a one-length-only sawing solution. The HFA series is designed with an automatic feeder, which is sometimes referred to as a shuttle feed. Operators simply load a piece of material into the HFA saw and set the length manually. Powered by an air cylinder, the saw grabs the length of material, indexes forward, the main vice clamps the material and the saw makes the cut.

“It’s a great automatic saw that can run unattended once you start the one bar or bundle of tubes,” he says.

Albrecht says the HFA saw is built in two versions – the standard as described above, and in a CNC version, which is new to Scotchman this year. The difference is that the CNC version doesn’t require manual indexing and makes an accurate first cut every time. It’s a belt-driven system that is accurate to ±0.006 in.

“You can save plenty of time on the setup,” Albrecht says of the CNC version, “but we’re catering to two different kinds of customer. The standard manual length set saw is ideal for somebody who might cut thousands and thousands of that same length part, which doesn’t change very often. But the guy who has a part list or cut list that’s changing constantly is spending more time adjusting the stop than he is cutting and would benefit by choosing the CNC version. The CNC version also has the easiest setup software in the industry; input the data and cut parts in seconds.”

“Nothing is straight square, up and down anymore.There is always some geometric profile added to designs.”
Mike Albrecht, national sales manager, Scotchman Industries Inc.

The RFA saw is the largest automated system that Scotchman offers for a cut-to-length tube saw. It’s also the only saw offered that has a full supply table/magazine loader that automatically loads a piece of tube into the machine, indexes it through, cuts to length and automatically loads the next one right behind it. The RFA saw also automatically ejects the part when the cut is complete.

It delivers every length possible to be cut on each tube. Many machines leave large remnants. With an RFA, the operator can get every part possible out of each tube. The remnant will be shorter than the cut length.

“Basically,” Albrecht says, “all the operator has to do is set the length, load the machine full of tube and it will automatically take off and cut the desired number of pieces. There are definitely other saws on the market that offer a much higher volume, but with a much higher price tag. The CPO 315 RFA ST, for the price and the automation it provides, is probably cost per cut one of the best values in the market.”

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