Monday | 15 January, 2018 | 11:28 am

A fine cut

By Colin Linneweber

Above: GAA 500-90’s features include an automatic cycle, emergency stop, powered hood lift, pneumatic lubrication system and 20-inch carbide blade.

Contract manufacturer builds tools using dedicated craftsmanship, backed by a versatile, high-production machine

January 2018 - Despite being located more than 1,300 miles apart, executives at Philip, South Dakota-based Scotchman Industries Inc. and Hamilton, Ontario-based Motis Inc. developed a mutually beneficial business partnership. In 2012, Scotchman unveiled its GAA-500-90 Automatic Upcut Circular Cold Saw with an adjustable vertical and horizontal clamp system that fits the majority of profiles. The GAA-500-90 is a large-capacity upcut automatic saw that is designed to cut nonferrous materials like aluminum and copper, including large-diameter profiles up to 6 inches square or round, at angles up to 90 degrees.

Motis’ founder, Paul Terpstra, initially spotted the GAA-500-90 at a trade show and was drawn to its potency and effectiveness. Terpstra conducted due diligence and determined that Scotchman’s saw could maximize Motis’ in-house production of its Snagger Tool. The Snagger Tool is a multipurpose device that can be carried in a firefighter’s pocket to handle everyday issues they encounter on the job.

“Before our final purchase decision, I sent a piece of raw extrusion, which we use to make the Snagger Tool, to Scotchman,” says Terpstra. “They cut them to size with the GAA-500-90 saw and sent back the samples. They also sent videos they had recorded showing the saw in action and how to best mount our odd-shaped extrusion. We were impressed.”

By going fully automatic, he says, it has allowed Motis to have one person manage three processes at once: sawing, milling and vibratory deburring. “This has allowed us to produce more parts at a lower cost.”

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One person is able to manage three processes at once: sawing, milling and vibratory deburring of parts.

To ensure that every raw extrusion is being fed and cut properly, workers at Motis mounted a GoPro camera on the Scotchman GAA-500-90, according to Terpstra. The camera transmits a video feed over Wi-Fi to a display monitor in the shop, as well as to the office, which means that Motis’ employees and visitors to its facility can observe production in real time.

Bells and whistles

The GAA 500-90’s features include an automatic cycle, emergency stop, powered hood lift, pneumatic lubrication system with mist coolant spray and one 20-inch-diameter carbide blade.

“With a 20-inch carbide blade running at 3,000 revolutions per minute, this design allows an operator to load a piece of material, or multiple pieces, and have the saw index the material to length and automatically make the cut,” says Mike Albrecht, a national sales manager at Scotchman.

“This is continuous until the desired numbers of pieces are achieved or the saw runs out of material. The standard saw will index lengths from ¼-inch up to 40 inches long with maximum capacity of the saw being 6 inches in diameter or up to 10 inches by 3 inches rectangular. It is available with a 24-inch blade and can be customized to add a drill into the process, as well as a CNC programmable operation,” notes Albrecht.

The saw, which measures 77 inches wide, 42 inches deep and, from floor to vise, 35 inches high, has a length tolerance of 0.006-inch and shipping weight of 1,680 pounds. These saws are manufactured in Spain for Scotchman and available in configurations ranging from 230 to 460 volts. The GAA-500-90 also features a 20-inch by two-stroke automatic feeder, a chip collection with two chip extraction ports, adjustable leveling pads and changeable cutting and feeding speeds.

“The saw gives customers reliable accuracy when cutting high volumes of parts and is ideal for anyone needing to cut aluminum stock or extrusions to length,” says Albrecht.

He says it is “especially useful for manufacturers using aluminum because that metallic element is so common in the manufacturing trade. We offer full parts and customer service both before and after a sale and we have enough confidence in our product that we back it with our three-year warranty.”

Doing good

In addition to his leadership at Motis, Terpstra established a nonprofit company called Fusion Labworks in 2014. Fusion Labworks consists of workshops that seek to improve the crafts skills of anybody who wants to learn more about the art of designing and manufacturing.

“At Motis, we love building things and we love sharing that passion,” says Terpstra. “The primary goal of our nonprofit is to create a safe place where adolescents ages 12 years and above can build cool projects and have experience using power tools and equipment in a shop environment.

“We are creating opportunities and positive experiences for youth that can spark an interest in hands-on and skilled trades careers. At both Motis and Fusion Labworks, with Scotchman’s help, we are working to give these transforming experiences to our employees and youth,” he says.

The late Art Kroetch founded Scotchman in 1967 and the manufacturers of metal fabrication equipment remain at the forefront of its industry. By employing Scotchman saws, Paul Terpstra and Motis are fulfilling a destiny to help firefighters with a versatile utility tool, meet the needs of aluminum users with added fabrication capabilities, and guide the next generation of skilled machine shop workers. It’s all in a day’s work. MM

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