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Machines4Sale, Knockalls Farm, Mitcheldean, GL17 0DP

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An automatic KASTOtec FC 4 bandsaw has led to a three- to four-fold increase in productivity at a family-owned firm in Austria, which develops and manufactures solutions for managing torsional vibration in large diesel and gas engines. Its product range includes flexible couplings and vibration dampers made from steel and composite, which are typically used in ship propulsion systems, power generation, bulldozers and locomotives.

The saw has been equipped with a robotic system for sorting cut lengths. By connecting the cell to the company’s manufacturing management system, the user is able to keep track of all production data, ensuring reliable, safe, minimally attended operation. Since December 2016, round and flat bar of mainly tempered steel has been sawn to precise lengths on the Kasto machine, as the previous saws struggled to process the difficult-to-cut materials.

The KASTOtec, with its 430 mm cutting range and smallest cut size of 10 x 10 mm, efficiently handles all of the different sizes of steel bar due in part to the use of tungsten carbide tipped blades, for which the saw was designed. A feature called KPC (Kasto Performance Cutting) adds to the saw’s productivity by introducing measures to minimise vibration and optimise damping of the blade. For example, vibration is effectively reduced by a pair of spring-loaded guides on the side opposite the point of cutting, which also ensures quiet operation.

Before opting for this production solution, the Austrian company’s managers visited Kasto in Achern-Gamshurst, Germany, and were impressed by the technology on offer. They also appreciated the fact that Kasto was able to offer everything from a single source, including an ABB robot with interchangeable magnetic grippers to automate the monotonous and time-consuming task of removing and sorting cut parts and stacking them at four pallet locations.

The saw was also supplied with a magazine that can hold four bars up to 3,500 mm long, allowing production to run unattended for extended periods. The KASTOtec receives order data including material type, dimensions and number of cut pieces from the manufacturing execution system (MES), which is linked to the saw via a custom interface. It is therefore connected to all upstream and downstream production processes – an important step towards implementing Industry 4.0. As a result, production is considerably more transparent than previously.

Kasto’s own EasyControl ensures simple and intuitive operation of the bandsaw cell. A clearly structured graphical interface quickly guides the operator to the required functions. The link to the MES allows processes such as switching between orders to take place automatically, making work easier and ensuring greater process security. Remote access to the system allows any problems with the saw or robot to be rectified quickly.

The dramatic increase in productivity at the Austrian factory is due in part to automation and connectivity of the sawing machine and also to the short set-up and cycle times for producing some 1,000 different lengths and cross sections of material to manufacture the many torsional vibration management products. The robot-assisted sorting of cut parts has proved so successful that the company plans to use the technology to automate an additional saw. 

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