Wednesday | 01 April, 2009 | 7:14 am

Rail-time efficiency

By Modern Metals' staff

AME's cutting system maximizes productivity for one satisfied customer

April 2009 - Two-and-a-half minutes. It may seem like a short duration to someone who works a tedious desk job, but in the world of material handling--where efficiency is king--it's a significant amount of time that shouldn't be taken for granted.

That's why California Rail Supply Co., Santa Fe Springs, Calif., is excited about a long-overdue upgrade that it's made to one of its processes. Thanks to the addition of an automatic rail saw and handling system from Advanced Machine & Engineering Co., Rockford, Ill., a cut that once took 3 minutes has been reduced to 32 seconds. That's 2 1/2 minutes. Multiply that by the number of cuts made each day, and the numbers add up to significant savings.

Cut time vs. cost
Before getting in touch with AME, California Rail had been cutting materials with a hand-operated circular saw. The method wasn't necessarily ineffective, but with increasing production demands, an enhancement was in order. Customers were asking California Rail for larger orders, and to accommodate them, the company needed to revamp its system. That meant acquiring new machinery.

"I saw an ad and contacted [AME], whose sales engineer then made a trip to see our operation," said John McCormick, project engineer at California Rail in a press release. "Our greatest concern was accuracy, as well as recognizing the speed and improvement in production possible with an automatic sawing system."

AME's engineers suggested the Amsaw R300R, an automatic sawing system designed specifically for rail cutting. From clamp to clamp, cut time totaled 32 seconds, down from 3 minutes. That 148-second difference, coupled with the accuracy the machine displayed, was enough to outweigh California Rail's cost concerns.

"It was clear to us that despite the capital investment required, this new system had great potential for our company," said McCormick in a press release.

Getting more out of the material
Equally pleasing to McCormick and his company was the news that the system would save them blades and, as a result, dollars each month. The old circular saw was burning through close to 70 blades in 30 days, piling up the costs and wasting time for changeovers. With AME's system, blades can be resharpened as many as 40 times before needing to be replaced.

The R300R has made an undeniable difference in California Rail's shop. Aside from the two days set aside for installment, the new system has accelerated the company's production levels in a surprisingly waste-free fashion. The in- and out-feeds work in tandem, resulting in smooth discharges, minimal downtime and virtually no cleanup. Most importantly those large orders don't seem so daunting.

"We've been extremely satisfied," said McCormick in the press release. "The results we're getting, both in terms of the cut-time reduction and the blade-life costs, convince us we made the right choice. Plus, the support we got from the team at Advanced Machine was first-rate, before the sale, during the installation and since then, as well."

AME's upgrades have made everyone's jobs a little easier, and they've allowed the supplier to keep pace with its customers' demands. MM

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