In November 2017, the UK's largest independent steel stockholder, Barrett Steel Group, installed a KASTOvariospeed C15 automatic circular sawing machine alongside two bandsaws at its engineering division in Maghaberry, Northern Ireland. It has increased sawing productivity, reduced delivery lead-times significantly, improved accuracy and lowered cost per cut.
Acquired in 2013, the 5-acre site with 30,000 sq ft warehouse stocks an extensive range of engineering steels including bright bar in various grades and dimensions. The site, which is also home to Barrett Ireland Processing and Barrett Steel Tubes, sells a variety of long products, hot and cold hollow section as well as plate to diverse industries such as construction, energy, agriculture, manufacturing, general and civil engineering, rail and yellow goods.
Gary Sloan, Operations Manager for the Barrett Steel Ireland site commented, "Circular sawing is many times faster than using our bandsaws. Since the C15 arrived, we have been able to reduce our turnaround time for smaller billets from between four and five days down to one or two. It is helping us to keep our loyal customers happy and win new business as well.
"The other big advantage of the German-built machine, supplied through Kasto's UK subsidiary in Milton Keynes, is that a significant amount of material is saved.
"The higher accuracy of the circular saw allows us to reduce our cutting tolerance to between + 0.1 and 1.0 mm, minus 0 mm, whereas our bandsaws have historically been programmed at +1.0 to 2.0 mm, minus 0 mm.
"Electronic blade deviation monitoring allows us to set the closer tolerance while providing assurance that there will be no scrap, which would eat into profits."
Since the circular saw was installed, Barrett Engineering Steel Ireland customers have reported that apart from receiving material a lot faster, the finish of the cut ends is of a much better quality than when the material is bandsawn. The C15 uses a mist lubrication system, so material is delivered to customers in a noticeably cleaner condition due to the absence of bandsaw swarf mixed with coolant on the surface of the cut pieces.
The machine at Maghaberry has a 12-position, chain-type infeed magazine separated by divider pins and a six-bin outfeed system with automatic cut piece sorting. The configuration allows minimal operator attendance during the day and lights-out running at the end of each shift, which according to the type of job can mean the machine runs for a few extra hours or right through the night.
Mr Sloan advised that overall, output is increased by 150 to 200 per cent due to the high level of automation and the extra cutting time available on the two bandsaws. Moreover, a lower level of operator attendance translates into more cost-effective cutting of all grades of steel into billets from 8 mm to 2 metres long from stock ranging in diameter from 10 mm up to 155 mm.
The C15 is fitted with Kasto's proprietary, top-end CNC system, ExpertControl, which not only oversees cut piece sorting but also has a multiple order programming capability to speed the fulfilment of customer orders.
Mr Sloan concluded, "The KASTOvariospeed is the best automated circular sawing centre available on the market today. It is transforming our business, allowing us to compete more effectively on price and to deliver a better quality product. It is so efficient at cutting material that we have also invested in a new, 260-location cantilever racking system specifically to feed the machine efficiently."