March 2010 - Every time a customer makes a purchase, it represents a choice--that individual or entity did the research, weighed the options and decided to go with a specific product from a particular company.
If the customer comes back for a second purchase, it demonstrates satisfaction with the original product, as well as the initial decision. And if that customer returns a third time? To put it simply, numbers don’t lie.
This situation applies to Braner USA Inc., Schiller Park, Ill., and Dalco Metals Inc., Walworth, Wis. The companies have been doing business for more than 15 years, and at its 105,000-square-foot factory, Dalco runs three coil processing lines from Braner.
Specifically, Dalco has a 0.25-inch slitter, a 0.25-inch-by-72-inch cut-to-length line and a 0.187-inch slitter. The company purchased the lines in 1994, 2000 and 2007, respectively.
Bill Ring, president of Dalco, says companywide growth and a desire to get into newer products helped prompt Dalco to make the purchases.
For example, the initial purchase enabled the company to begin offering coil slitting. Ring also says the second slitter increased capacity and allowed Dalco to enter the light-gauge, critical-surface market. Back in 1994, several factors contributed to Dalco’s decision to purchase its first coil processing line from Braner.
"Basically, we were impressed with Braner’s engineering, expertise, technology and their people," says Ring. "We just felt we would have a good experience with them, and we have. Subsequently, we purchased the cut-to-length line and the second slitter from them."
Finding a niche
Braner builds mill-duty coil slitting lines, automatic slit coil packaging lines, cut-to-length lines, multiblanking lines and specialty coil processing systems.
In the last 50 years, Braner has installed more than 600 ferrous and nonferrous flat-rolled coil processing lines in more than 20 countries.
"We’ve delivered lines ranging from as narrow as 12 inches and as wide as 100 inches with coils as small as 3,000 pounds through 150,000 pounds," says Chuck Damore, executive vice president at Braner. "We are presently building a 3/4-inch-thick-by-100-inch-wide cut-to-length line."
Damore also says the equipment at Dalco provides a great deal of flexibility and versatility for the company in terms of what it can process.
"At Dalco, all of the lines can handle anything from really thin-gauge, soft material to high-strength applications," he says. "[It’s] carbon steel, typically--cold rolled, galvanized, hot-rolled pickled and oiled, hot-rolled black and high-strength materials."
In with the new
Dalco’s cut-to-length line replaced an older, slower one, which Ring says increased the company’s productivity. The line consists of a leveler, a feeder, a shear and a stacker, and it has state-of-the-art automatic leveler adjustment and microprocessor controls.
The line levels and shears high-strength cold-rolled, hot-rolled black and hot-rolled pickled and oiled material 0.05 inch through 0.25 inch with yield strengths up to 75,000 pounds per square inch. It can handle coils that weigh 50,000 pounds and are 75 inches wide and 80 inches in diameter.
The cut-to-length line is equipped with a hydraulic cassette leveler with two work roll cassettes, as opposed to coming with two separate fixed-roll levelers. This provides greater efficiency and versatility and is easier to clean and maintain than two separate levelers.
"Cassette levelers are designed to operate with multiple leveler cassettes, with each cassette containing a different roll size for leveling a specific gauge range and product," according to Damore. "The hydraulic cassette leveler with two cassettes allows Dalco Metals to provide superior flatness quality throughout the gauge range."
After going through the leveler, material is driven into a free loop ahead of a precision servo feed and shear.
"The servo feed utilizes low-inertia rolls to measure and feed the strip," according to Damore. "The servo feed, electronically synchronized with the leveler, pulls the strip out of the pit and feeds the shear."
Following this step, a high-speed, overdriven mechanical shear cuts to precise tolerance lengths. The shear is powered by an AC motor, and the clearance between the upper and lower blade is adjustable to obtain burr-free cuts.
After that, the sheets and blanks, which range from 20 inches to 75 inches wide and 20 inches to 240 inches long, are stacked.
The stacker is a flipper type designed to support the sheet as it passes through the shear to prevent marking.
A sequel of sorts
Dalco’s first coil slitter from Braner is a 50,000-pound, 66-inch-by-0.25-inch Turret Head line that’s geared toward handling heavy gauges with a lot of cuts.
By contrast, the second coil slitter is a light-gauge Double-Loop Turret Head line that slits and shape corrects 50,000-pound, 65-inch-wide high-strength, hot-rolled pickled, cold-rolled and galvanized carbon steel coils. It can handle gauges from 0.01 inch through 0.187 inch at processing speeds up to 1,000 feet per minute.
"It allows Dalco Metals to choose from four processing modes: double-loop, single-loop, push-pull and tight-line," according to Damore. "Surface-critical thin-gauge coil can be processed in a double-loop mode where the uncoiler drives the strip into a free loop. ... Single-loop mode can be employed for processing light to medium gauges, and a push-pull mode is ideal for heavy slitting loads processing high-strength, heavier-gauge coils. A tight-line mode can be utilized for edge trimming."
The line also includes a 9-inch, 200-horsepower Turret Head slitter that features a pushbutton tooling lock system, which reduces retooling time and eliminates the need for threaded lock nuts.
Additionally, the line is equipped with three strip-tensioning devices--a pad tensioner and a nonmarking duplex roll tensioner--as well as a Shape-Correction Cluster Leveler, which corrects edge wave and center-buckle shape defects in the master coil to provide a perfectly flat strip, allowing Dalco to add value to the material it processes.
No matter what equipment a customer purchases, Braner always provides training.
"It typically entails setting up the equipment, getting it operational and going through whatever tuning, checking [and] setup adjustments that we need to make it run coils," says Damore. "Included with that would be hands-on operator and maintenance training."
Damore says this part of the training is documented in a manual and a checklist that is filled out by the Braner technician and the maintenance and operating personnel being trained.
There’s a list of specifics the Braner representative must cover in the training, and all the participants sign a document at the end of the training session to verify they learned everything on the list.
"That probably takes about a week to two weeks, depending on the customer," says Damore. "At the end of that training, we record who was trained on the line and the specific coils that were processed. We provide the completed checklist, along with certificates for those trained, to our customer."
Ring says he commends the training Dalco employees received on each of the Braner lines, in addition to the working relationship the companies have formed over the years.
"Braner’s always been there," says Ring. "If we need a part, have a question or need something or want to try something on the machine--they’re there to support us." MM