Sawing Technology
Monday | 29 April, 2013 | 2:51 pm

Quality cut

By Stephanie Andrews

One high-production saw reduces backlog and custom order setup

April 2013 - For high-production companies, it’s essential that a saw run smoothly and efficiently with short setup time, so material can move quickly through the machine. Because of outdated equipment and increased maintenance, Reading, Pa.-based Summit Steel & Mfg. Inc., required a new saw that would fit its growing demands. 

“We had older horizontal band saws that were in need of constant repair,” says Gary Romig, president of Summit Steel & Mfg. “And we needed quicker cutting capabilities.” Summit Steel & Mfg. viewed various models at the 2011 Fabtech show, but the Kasto line immediately caught Romig’s attention. “It was the simplicity of the design,” he says. 

Summit Steel & Mfg. purchased the KASTOwa-90R/S from the Klingelhofer Corp., Mountainside, N.J., which has specialized in metal sawing machinery for more than 70 years. “We’ve been handling circular cold saws since 1936 and the Kasto line since 1997,” says Fred Schaefer, vice president at Klingelhofer. “We specialize in circular sawing production machines; that’s our forte.” 

The KASTOwa-90R/S was designed for high-production steel, copper, brass or aluminum applications. “People who come to us are people that have a high-production application or need a very clean quality cut,” says Schaefer.

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Perfect fit

Choosing a saw is much like choosing a car. You have to approach the purchase knowing your wants and limitations, and you have to shop around for the right fit. The car may be ultra fast or get amazing gas mileage, but if it’s only being used for the occasional Sunday drive, the price tag may not be justified. The same goes for sawing equipment. “If someone were to come to us and say, ‘I need to cut 100 pieces a day,’ that’s a really low production,” says Schaefer. “But that same customer may come and say, ‘Look, on a particular size I need to produce 400 pieces an hour.’ Now we’re getting into production.” 

When a customer comes to Klingelhofer, together they figure out the customer’s quantities, materials and lengths. From there, Klingelhofer chooses the best machine for the job. The team at Summit Steel & Mfg. came to Klingelhofer knowing they wanted to cut the minimum size up to approximately 6 inches. 

“We said to them, ‘Well where’s your real quantities because the machine that will do large sizes doesn’t necessarily do the smaller sizes,’” says Schaefer. When Summit Steel & Mfg. looked at the majority of its cutting jobs, both companies realized that Summit would benefit most from the KASTOwa-90R/S, which goes from 3⁄8 inch up to 3.5 inches. “A larger machine would not have done that, so the real quantities were in the smaller sizes, and that’s why we selected that machine,” says Schaefer. 

Summit Steel & Mfg. serves a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, construction, alternative energy, medical devices and the military. “We primarily cut solid bars and structural tube for many industries across our entire customer base,” says Romig. “Agricultural and recreational vehicles dominate the majority of the Kasto’s capabilities.” 

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Changing efficiently

The versatility of the KASTOwa-90R/S means that a customer can use not only different saw blade sizes but also different blade types. “It’s designed for using high-speed blades and carbide-tipped blades,” says Schaefer. “So it makes it a very universal machine for many different products because you can select a proper saw blade for the product that you’re going to be cutting, and it’s much more efficient.”

Being able to switch between the two types of blades has been an asset for Summit Steel & Mfg. “Our efficiency has been improved tremendously from the traditional horizontal band saws,” says Romig. 

“The Kasto has helped Summit Steel & Mfg. consistently improve its efficiency between 30 to 50 percent, depending on size and grade of metal,” he continues. The KASTOwa-90R/S’s versatility allows Summit Steel & Mfg. to quickly switch blades to cut stainless, aluminum or steel. The machine has paid for itself in faster turnaround alone. “After installation, the Kasto immediately had a huge impact on our backlog,” says Romig. “The addition of this saw definitely allowed us to aggressively go after additional work due to available capacity because of its speed and accuracy.” 

Recently, there has been an influx in custom and just-in-time orders. Therefore, the right equipment is paramount to making sure material is cut and out the door without delay or long setup times. “The real custom order advantage relates to the accuracy of the length tolerance,” says Romig. “We could never consistently hold the types of tolerances we presently do with the Kasto.” 

The KASTOwa-90R/S is designed to cut a variety of material and to make it simple for the operator to go from product to product, says Schaefer. “That’s one of the requirements that service centers have,” he says. “They don’t know what their customers want until they sell it. So the machine has to be universal. It has to cut as though it’s mass production. It has to give you a quality of cut, it has to give you the surface finish and tolerances that they require, but it also has to be able to go from product to product without a lot of setup time.” 

Summit’s new Kasto machine has decreased setup time and made processing orders easier. “The efficiencies include our ability to load the next order on the saw while the existing job is running, thus minimizing downtime.” With the increase in custom and just-in-time orders, having a saw that can decrease downtime is a money-saver. 

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Long-term loyalty

There’s something to be said for a company’s steadfast brand loyalty. It can be inferred that there is not only a strong partnership between the company and the product’s manufacturer but also that the product is one the company wholeheartedly endorses. Klingelhofer had been selling Wagner equipment until 1997, and at that time Kasto bought the rights to manufacture those machines. Klingelhofer chose to stay with the product. 

“The machine that we’re selling is the machine that was developed by Wagner in the ‘80s,” says Schaefer. “The basic machine—the concept of the pusher and length gauge—was developed by Wagner in the early ‘60s. Now that concept is something that we know works well and it’s very easy for someone to understand. When Kasto purchased the rights to manufacture it, we wanted to stay with the product because we knew Kasto has the ability to design, engineer and manufacture,” he continues. “They’re very easy to work with; it is a high-class organization and it makes it very easy for us to not only sell the product but also to work with them.” 

The loyalty Klingelhofer has to Kasto is similar to the appreciation Summit has for Klingelhofer. “Fred is tremendous,” says Romig. “He knew every capability of the machine and has been in the business for several years. His expertise helped make the decision very easy.” MM

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