At the Newcastle-under-Lyme facility of special metals stockholder, Langley Alloys, two German-built KASTOtec bandsaws specified for cutting with tungsten carbide tipped (TCT) blades have replaced four out of six machines from a different supplier, which are effective only when bimetal blades are used.
As the downfeed on both KASTOtecs is three times faster, overall cutting capacity across the six machines has increased by onethird while the floor area occupied has decreased by a similar amount. This is precisely what Langley Alloys needed, as orders have increased sharply since the start of 2017 but there is no room on the site for more bandsaws.
As an added bonus, the freed space has allowed the stockholder to increase the range of materials and sizes that it holds to well over 1,000 line items. The investment, approaching £2 million in stock alone, means Langley Alloys has extended both the range and depth of material available.
Business Development Director Rodney Rice said, “Our success is despite half of our business historically being in the oil and gas sector, which has been depressed in recent years. “Offsetting that, we have seen significant growth from many of the other industries we supply, including defence, marine, pulp and paper, chemical processing and general engineering.
“Responsiveness to customer demand is crucial. Installation of the Kasto bandsaws means that we are able to stock a broader range of materials that closely match users’ requirements and cut them quickly for supply in short lead-times.” Operations director Richard Bulmer added, “Cutting with TCT blades was key to making this a reality. We tried using them on our older bandsaws but they were not rigid enough to cope. “We were only able to cut 2 square metres of nickel alloy with a carbide blade, which was about the same as with a bimetal blade but at three times the cost.
“We are not quite there yet, but we will soon be getting 5 to 6 square metres cutting area per TCT blade on the KASTOtecs, so cost per cut will be equivalent to bimetal. “Taking into account lower labour costs due to operating four rather than six bandsaws, five days a week and sometimes on Saturdays, plus more capacity for lights-out running, the new machines will pay for themselves quickly.”
He added when it came to purchasing the carbide-enabled bandsaws, there was a preconception within Langley Alloys that Kasto was the way to go, as this make of saw is used widely in the stockholding sector. As the machines were needed quickly, a decision was taken to purchase the two 430 mm-capacity KASTOtec AC4 models on display in the supplier’s Milton Keynes showroom.
One was fitted with a carbide pack, including uprated motors to allow infinitely variable band speeds up to 50 m/min, which compares favourably with typical bimetal blade speeds of a little above 20 m/min. The other was a Kasto Performance Cutting (KPC) model, designed and built specifically for cutting using TCT blades with the inclusion of patented Trum guides to minimise band vibration. Initially, Mr Bulmer took some Ferralium super duplex stainless steel bar to Milton Keynes for cutting trials, as the material forms a large percentage of throughput at Langley Alloys.
Following successful tests, a order was placed on Kasto for a four-week trial of the first bandsaw in Newcastle-under-Lyme so that further side-by-side comparisons could be made with the conventional saws. These proved that the KASTOtec was ideal for processing difficult alloys, including high strength nickels.
Both machines were duly installed. Further cost savings have accrued from reduced material wastage. Whereas the older saws are set to cut to -0, +2 mm to ensure that material length is not undersize, the Kasto machines are so accurate that they can be set to -0, +0.5 mm. In practice, they cut to within 0.1 mm. Another feature is a function within the Kasto control that allows a new TCT blade to be programmed to runin automatically at different, reduced speeds to suit the tooth pitch.
Ernst Wagner, Managing Director
Tel: 01908 571590