Raising the bar at Barretts

Steel stockholder’s new circular saw shortens lead times and improves accuracy

Posted on 15 May 2018 and read 1306 times
Raising the bar at BarrettsIn November 2017, Barrett Steel Group — the UK’s largest independent steel stockholder — installed a Kasto Variospeed C15 automatic circular sawing machine alongside two bandsaws at its engineering division in Maghaberry, Northern Ireland.

This has increased sawing productivity, reduced delivery lead times significantly, improved accuracy and lowered cost per cut.

Acquired in 2013, the five-acre site with a 30,000ft2 warehouse stocks an extensive range of engineering steels, including bright bar in various grades and dimensions.

The site, which is also home to Barrett Ireland Processing and Barrett Steel Tubes, sells a variety of long products, hot-finished and cold-formed hollow sections, as well as plate, to a variety of industries; these include construction, energy, agriculture, manufacturing, general engineering, civil engineering, rail and yellow goods.

Gary Sloan, operations manager for the Barrett Steel Ireland site, said: “Circular sawing is many times faster than using our bandsaws.

“Since the C15 arrived, we have been able to reduce our turn-round time for smaller billets from four or five days to one or two. It is helping us to keep our customers happy — and win new business as well.”

Another big advantage of the German-built machine, supplied through Kasto’s UK subsidiary in Milton Keynes (www.kasto.com), is that a significant amount of material is saved.

The higher accuracy of the circular saw allows us to reduce our cutting tolerance to between +0.1 and 1.0mm, minus 0mm; our bandsaws have historically been programmed at +1.0 to 2.0mm, minus 0mm.

Furthermore, electronic blade-deviation monitoring allows us to set the closer tolerance while providing assurance that there will be no scrap, which would eat into profits.”

Improved quality

Since the circular saw was installed, Barrett Engineering Steel Ireland customers have reported that, apart from receiving material a lot faster, the finish of the cut ends is of a much better quality than when the material is cut by a bandsaw.

Moreover, because the C15 uses a mist lubrication system, material is delivered to customers in a noticeably cleaner condition, due to the absence of bandsaw swarf mixed with coolant on the surface of the cut pieces.

The machine at Maghaberry has a 12-position chain-type in-feed magazine separated by divider pins, plus a six-bin out-feed system with automatic cut-piece sorting.

This configuration allows minimal operator attendance during the day and ‘lights out’ running at the end of each shift; depending on the type of job, this can mean that the machine runs for a few extra hours or right through the night.

Mr Sloan says that overall, output has been increased by 150-200%, due to the high level of automation and the extra cutting time available on the two bandsaws.

Moreover, a lower level of operator attendance translates into more-cost-effective cutting of all grades of steel into billets from 8mm to 2m long from stock that ranges in diameter from 10 to 155mm.

The C15 is fitted with Kasto’s proprietary Expert Control CNC system, which not only oversees cut-piece sorting but also has a multiple order programming capability that shortens the time needed to complete customer orders.

In conclusion, Mr Sloan said: “The Kasto Variospeed automated circular sawing centre is transforming our business, allowing us to compete more effectively on price and to deliver a better-quality product.

“It is so efficient at cutting material that we have also invested in a new 260-location cantilever racking system — specifically to feed the machine efficiently.”

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