Tuesday | 18 January, 2011 | 3:25 am

Laser focus

By Lauren Duensing

January 2011 - Laser-point accuracy is a valuable commodity when working with heavy-duty band saws. Rather than compromise its needs, Central Steel & Wire Co., Chicago, Ill., contacted Behringer Saws Inc., Morgantown, Pa., for a customized job. "We did a lot of research with different manufacturers of band saws," says Darisu Nausedas, mechanical designer of operations engineering at Central Steel. "Behringer fit us best and was also the only company willing to engineer a laser measuring device we could use."

Central Steel's situation was unique because the company needed a laser-measuring system for its mainframe, which wasn't completed. Behringer was able to work with Central Steel to develop a customized solution to meet its needs.

The BSI Laser Length Measuring System from Behringer is designed to be used on sawing systems that have handling components to move materials into the work area. The mounted laser unit automatically detects the material and sends overall dimensions to an easy-to-read control panel. According to Behringer, the operator can then move the material with powered roller conveyors to the correct length for cut off. Once in the correct position, the operator can make the cut and resume the cycle.

An innovative solution
Behringer's design can be used with a manual or semi-automatic saw, adding a certain level of automation without the significant expense of a CNC system, says Richard Klipp, president of Behringer Saws' North American operations. "This system can take the tape measure out of [operators'] hands and eliminate potential human error," says Klipp, noting that the amount of time saved by using this system is also a positive factor.

"The whole design process was based on the initial customer need. Working closely with them, we designed the laser enclosure and controls to meet their particular needs," Klipp says. "The beauty of the system is that it can be supplied on a new saw or retrofit to virtually any piece of equipment."

Such flexibility is invaluable to customers who run their saws continuously. "We are very hard on our saws here," says Nausedas. "They run 24 hours a day." Behringer's saws offered a unique twist with a smaller horsepower output motor than competitors' offerings."[Although] most companies are pushing how much horsepower they have, we were interested in how Behringer geared their smaller horsepower motor to achieve better results than the larger horsepower motors while reducing electrical draw," Nausedas says. "Cutting corners on consumables is always beneficial."

After a year of using Behringer's saws, Central Steel says it has not needed much attention from its maintenance department. Less time and resources spent on upkeep allows Central Steel to continue running its saws continuously while tackling heavy jobs.

According to Klipp, the applications for the laser system are very broad. A piece of steel can be measured "truly anywhere" and this technology can be applied. Steel service centers, fabricators and OEMs can all benefit from this system. "Standard length measuring is generally accomplished one of three ways. A fully automatic and programmable saw, a semi-automatic saw with a length measuring stop or with a tape measure and marker. This laser system adds a fourth affordable, simple and accurate means of measurement," says Klipp.

Less waste
"In most situations, end user customers can accept a longer piece than they ordered but it is generally unacceptable to ship a shorter piece," says Klipp. "With that in mind, it is not unusual for operators to err on the side of longer, rather than shorter." He adds that the savings is in reduced labor and scrap reduction, due to under cutting or shipping excess materials.

"Behringer offers a diameter band wheel [more] in proportion to capacity than most manufacturers. This reduces blade wear," Nausedas adds. He says Behringer's saws used five less blades last year compared to Central Steel's previous saw. The customized saw is designed with a tilted head which also reduces blade wear. In addition, Nausedas says that Behringer adds "substantial weight to their saws without filling the bed with concrete, which some companies do to achieve this weight factor," says Nausedas. He adds that Behringer's helpful service contributed to Central Steel's decision to purchase another Behringer product, which the company recently installed and plans to start up in the coming weeks. "This will be the first of its kind in this industry as far as I know," notes Nausedas. "The laser will measure the size of the piece that was cut and record it on the mainframe associating to the order number." This precision will allow operators to make less errors reading tape and should reduce the amount of orders Central Steel has to cut from stock because of incorrect length. MM

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