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A perfectly adapted solution comprising automated conveying systems, a high-powered sawing solution and flexible sorting of cut sections

A perfectly adapted solution comprising automated conveying systems, a high-powered sawing solution and flexible sorting of cut sections

Investment in optimizing production and increasing efficiency with the aid of automated plants will quickly be recouped. A perfectly adapted solution comprising automated conveying systems, a high-powered sawing solution and flexible sorting of cut sections can save an enormous amount of time, as essential auxiliary tasks such as loading or order picking can take place during running machine operation. In the stainless steel trade particularly, large series sizes are not particularly common, as one-off cuts and frequent bar sizes changes are the norm. This means that major importance is attached to the task of material handling. Automation processes tend to apportion the highest priority to flexibility and user convenience, providing maximum system support to operators and leaving them free to concentrate largely on the preparation of material.

Loading the bar stock magazine on the infeed side generally takes place directly from the storage facility using a hall crane or fork lift truck. Another alternative is to create a direct link to a cassette store. The clear subdivision into compartments allows sawing jobs to be easily allocated to the different starting materials and processed. Markings made prior to cutting allow precise assignment of cut sections after the sawing process is complete.

The ideal system for this type of sawing process is an automatic high-performance bandsawing machine from the HBM series by Behringer for dividing round stock such as stainless steel, duplex steel or non-ferrous metals. “To maximize plant throughput, obviously our customers also work with carbide bandsaw blades”, explains Achim Müller, Head of Sales at Behringer in Kirchardt.

The SC (speed cutting) kit for high-performance bandsawing machine HBM offers a real bonus for customers needing to saw stainless steel or materials with difficult cutting properties. The benefits are illustrated by outstanding cutting output levels and an extraordinarily long bandsaw service life which would have been thought inconceivable only a short time ago. This level of performance is made possible by the combination of different features provided by the SC Kit. A heavy-duty, play-free gearbox and high-performance saw drive guarantee precise cutting at speeds of up to 200 m/min. A servo feed system working in conjunction with cutting force regulation ensures constant chip removal by a linear feed movement. This has a favourable impact on the life of bandsaw blades, while also ensuring high cutting outputs. The blade guides have also been modified in comparison to the standard HBM and adjusted for high-performance operation. The bandsaw blade life has also been extended many times over by optimum coolant feed using special nozzles directly into the cutting channel, and a coolant cleaning system. An ingeniously engineered chip cleaning concept using self-adjusting double brushes and a generously dimensioned chip conveyor ensures dependable bandsaw blade cleaning and process-reliable discharge of chips from the machine.

Following on from the sawing process, a gripper in the cut section sorting system initially draws the finished parts, offcuts and short remnant pieces away from the cutting point and places them on a roller conveyor featuring intermediate cover plates. The parts can then be removed from the discharge roller conveyor on both sides. A rod store with partially closed table can be set up to handle long and heavy cut sections. Offcuts and remnant pieces land in the provided containers. Good parts are distributed on an order-specific basis to different storage positions on the plant itself, in containers or in drawer systems.

The benefits of a fully automated system require little explanation: “A system complete with an HBM-SC Kit will always result in increased capacity with the same number of operators, and make best use of the existing space conditions”, explains Christian Behringer. Loading and discharge operations can take place without interrupting the automatic process, resulting in enormous time savings.

Fully automated plants also represent a worthwhile investment in view of the demographic transformation currently taking place. “We are already experiencing a shortage of skilled labour, and this is a situation we can defuse by introducing the wide-ranging automation of our plants” adds Christian Behringer. Importantly too, future developments in the industry such as the interlinking of different machines mean that Behringer GmbH is on the right track with its networked systems. Link-up to commonly used ERP systems is not a problem, meaning that the plant comes an important step closer to fulfilling the criteria for Industry 4.0.

From the very first cut, the overall plant is capable of working through actual orders, provided the sawing plant employees have completed an intensive training course prior to acceptance and commissioning of the sawing system. “The most important points relating to the saw and its periphery can be absorbed and discussed more effectively in a calm atmosphere without the distractions of day-to-day business”, says Müller. By taking up the offered training package, he emphasizes, customers will save not only time but also costs for wasted material and costly mistakes due to operating errors.

Elquip Solutions and Kinkelder partner for long-term cutting-edge excellence, return-on-investment and lower cost-per-cut

Elquip Solutions and Kinkelder partner for long-term cutting-edge excellence, return-on-investment and lower cost-per-cut

Gerrit van Oosterum, Commercial Manager: Kinkelder during his recent visit to the Machine Tools Africa expo held at Nasrec earlier this year.

Manufacturers who use large capital equipment sometimes shy away from purchasing top quality machines. The most common reason for this is the initial capital outlay. However, is this always a wise decision? Mike Cronin, the Managing Director of Elquip Solutions, gives good reasons why it is not.

Firstly, the life-cycle costs of an inexpensive capital equipment item or consumable could be appreciably higher than those of its more expensive counterpart. One has to question: Will the cheaper machine give the same level of performance and produce the desired product quality? Will the cheaper machine be prone to more downtime and, when it needs repair, is the required aftersales support readily and speedily forthcoming?

Cronin has always believed in distributing top-quality capital equipment and consumables. “If you have capital equipment cutting steel bar, for example, you need to know the cost of each cut that the machine makes. A premium quality machine from a recognised supplier will invariably give the lowest cost-per-cut in the longer term,” he says.

Elquip Solutions therefore specialises in the supply of specialist cutting capital equipment and consumables which will truly give their users the sharpest competitive edge in the cutting of steel and other metals.

“A prime example of the kind of quality of product which we sell are the circular saw blades from our well-known Dutch principal Kinkelder, an international producer of top quality blades for the industrial and manufacturing sector,” Cronin explains.

A professional quality circular saw blade might look to the layman like a very simple device – a flat metal disc with sharp teeth on the outer rim. “However, there is definitely nothing simple about the design of a Kinkelder circular saw blade,” says Gerrit van Oosterum, Commercial Manager for Kinkelder.

He explains that significant research has been invested in Kinkelder blades, and that the manufacture of their blades is almost as much an art as it is a science. Much of the quality of Kinkelder blades lies in the years of development of tooth design and tooth spacing. In addition, there is a vast store of underlying expertise in the metallurgy of every blade.

“The key element in the specification of a saw blade is about the cutting angle, and also the tooth angles that give space to the blade after the cut. The blade must not bind in the cut otherwise excessive heat could be generated which will shorten the life of the blade,” van Oosterum advises.

Another factor is the tension of the blade body, which is very important because when a blade is in use, its operating temperature rises, which releases the tension in the blade. “If the blade loses too much tension, the blade starts oscillating sideways and cuts inaccurately, a so-called ‘side run out’.

Blade tensioning is a very precise science, which involves striking the body of the blade with a specially designed hammer. By rotating the blade and striking it at specific points on its radius, tension is built up in the blade which imparts rigidity to the disc – even under heat-inducing conditions.

It says much about the care that Kinkelder takes in the manufacture of its blades that with its top-of-the-range blades, each one is individually tensioned by a skilled craftsman. “In this age of Industry 4.0 and increasing automation, this time-honoured skill is something highly valued,” says van Oosterum.

“In addition, the tensioning process serves as a form of quality control, where human intervention serves to evaluate each blade and reject those that do not come up to standard,” he explains.

During manufacture each blade is specially coated, a factor that is of crucial importance. There are several reasons why a blade should be coated. For example, carbon-based coatings give the blade body a smooth low-friction finish; while a key quality of mainly aluminium-based coatings is to greatly reduce heat build-up in the blade.

However, despite inherent quality and many features and benefits, it is a natural tendency for buyers of circular saw blades to look for the lowest purchase price. Does buying cheap result in higher cutting costs in the long run?

Here van Oosterum gives a similar answer to Cronin. Automation is a key factor in the trend towards Industry 4.0 and the establishment of ‘smart’ factories. Automation, to be effective, has to have machines that can run unattended for long periods without unscheduled stoppages. “This is not possible with cheap circular saw blades as they need to be changed more often and someone has to be on standby as inexpensive blades tend to fail more often,” he says.

Elquip has vast experience in the marketing of Kinkelder blades as the relationship between the two companies began nearly two decades ago. “We have had a very good relationship with Mike and his team, as he is very proactive in the market and has well-trained staff assisting him. Elquip Solutions is a valued extension of our footprint in Southern Africa,” asserts van Oosterum.

“You need to be able to count on the quality of the blade to render effective cutting over a longer time span. Ultimately, the choice of a premium quality product such as Kinkelder will result in a lower cost-per-cut,” Cronin continues.

The great pride that Kinkelder has in its blades can be seen in the company’s head office in the Netherlands. Examples of gleaming blades have been beautifully framed and hang in the reception area. “Kinkelder sees these blades rather like a rock star’s gold records – every blade a hit,” he concludes.

Elquip Solutions sharpens cost-competitiveness and productivity with leading cutting capital equipment and consumables at Machine Tools Africa

Elquip Solutions sharpens cost-competitiveness and productivity with leading cutting capital equipment and consumables at Machine Tools Africa

L – R: Gerrit van Oosterum, Commercial Manager, Kinkelder; Mike Cronin, Managing Director, Elquip Solutions; Cedric Folschweiller, Sales Manager, Tube Tools, Saar-Hartmetall; Bella Lin, Regional Manager, YLM; Michael Popa, Export Manager, Behringer; Lars Borkowsky, Head of International Sales and Marketing, Rontgen

Steel fabrication follows a sequence, of which cutting is the first crucial step. The faster and more efficiently fabrication companies can cut components, the greater the final productivity and profit margins. Elquip Solutions specialises in the supply of specialist cutting capital equipment and consumables which will truly give their users the sharpest competitive edge in steel cutting.

This year, from 9 to 12 May, Elquip Solutions welcomes fabricators and manufacturers to its stands G03 and G05 at Machine Tools Africa 2017 (MTA). Elquip is, amongst others, proudly showcasing a number of capital equipment offerings from its principals Behringer and Behringer Eisele at MTA. “One of the most powerful yet versatile cutting ‘weapons’ in the fabricator’s arsenal is the bandsaw,” explains Elquip Solutions Managing Director Mike Cronin.

Behringer’s HBE 321 A Dynamic bandsaw is a response to market demands for more efficient, precise and economical primary cutting. Behringer has increased performance while using servo-driven down feed and the latest generation of drives with high torque and reduced energy consumption – as well as optimising the machine’s footprint – without compromising occupational safety, ease of maintenance or handling simplicity.

“To protect against overloading, for example, the HBE 321 A has the Automatic Feed Control feature fitted as standard,” Michael Popa Export Manager for Behringer, explains.

For the precision cutting of solid plates and blocks, Elquip is also exhibiting the Behringer LPS 60-T bandsaw. One of a series of bandsaws in the LPS range, the LPS 60-T features a host of elements such as automatic feed control, servo-driven table positioning, chip conveyor and laser-assisted manual material alignment to ensure ultimate cutting precision.

“Furthermore, as Behringer shares Elquip’s concern for the environment, a highly accurate micro-dosing unit can be added in order to eliminate excessive blade lubrication,” Popa continues.

The LPS60-T has recently been sold to a local manufacturing company where it will be used to cut tool-steel slabs.

From Behringer’s subsidiary, Behringer Eisele, Elquip is exhibiting the HCS 90 E circular cold saw. The powerful fully enclosed HCS 90 E has an exceptionally robust base, which eliminates vibration for a long service life, optimum power transmission and a precision cut without fail. For further cutting accuracy, the HCS 90 E has a feed axis with a servo motor. The machine’s tilted sawing console ensures efficient removal of flying chips while the robust, hydraulically operated multiple-point clamping device allows for quiet, smooth cutting.

In terms of consumables, Elquip Solutions is showcasing the latest in circular saw blade technology from its Dutch principal, Kinkelder. A global market leader, Kinkelder’s main business focus is to understand and anticipate the market’s requirement for ever-lower production costs.

“Kinkelder analyses the sawing processes, and identifies key variables in both material and machine conditions. By doing this, it has driven down production costs by optimising cutting finish and performance, and eliminating waste and costly secondary operations,” explains Kinkelder’s Commercial Manager, Gerrit van Oosterum.

Kinkelder’s high-speed steel (HSS) and tungsten carbide-tipped (TCT) blades for the cutting of tube and bar are on display. A good example these are the TCT Series CX saw blades, which combine the advantages of high cutting speeds of friction sawing, with the fine cut finish of cold sawing. Based predominantly on coated tungsten carbide-tipped blades, these are suitable for very high-speed cutting of tubes, pipes, sections, solid ferrous materials and stainless steels.

“The benefits of these blades are increased uptime, increased line speed, improved blade life and burr-free cutting,” continues van Oosterum.

Apart from cutting equipment and consumables, Elquip is also displaying the following from its leading international principals: tube-bending equipment from manufacturer YLM; bandsaw blades from manufacturer Röntgen; and a wide range of tools from specialist tool manufacturers Saar-Hartmettal and the Hoffmann Group.

“When it comes to tools, look no further than our principal, Hoffman, a leading German tooling specialist, as its range includes nearly every conceivable tool one could ever need. At MTA, among other ranges, Hoffman is displaying the house brands Holex and premium-quality Garant range,” comments Cronin.

He adds that, from YLM, a leading Taiwan-based manufacturer of tube bending equipment, Elquip is featuring the state-of-the-art CNC 38-RSM five-axis 38mm bending machine, with a punching function included. This machine has recently been sold to one of Elquip’s customers. He adds that YLM also offer a fully automated working cell – including cutting, bending, end-forming and robotics – which makes quality and state-of-the-art technology both accessible and affordable to customers.

In addition, and bringing its 100 years of experience in metal-saw blades, Röntgen has their complete range of bimetal and carbide-tipped band saw blades for the cutting of metals from standard materials up to super alloys on display.

And finally, for blanks, tools, roll rings, tungsten carbide wear resistant parts, PM alloys and steels, one need look no further than the Saar-Hartmetall display on Elquip’s stand at MTA. A speciality of Saar-Hartmetall is its range of internal and external deburring tools, which are used for finishing cut tubes.

“If you are either in the fabrication or manufacturing sector, you will surely need to cut steel and – more importantly – you will be looking to cut costs. At MTA this year, we are delighted to share our team of highly experienced international principals’ – and our local team’s – knowledge and expertise; which will set our customers firmly on the path of lowered operational costs and increased productivity,” Cronin concludes.

Elquip Solutions showcases excellence in cutting capital equipment and consumables at Machine Tools Africa 2017

Elquip Solutions showcases excellence in cutting capital equipment and consumables at Machine Tools Africa 2017

Artist’s impression of the Elquip Solutions exhibition stand at MTA 2017.

This year, the 9th of May is a key date for anyone involved in manufacturing, as this is the day the Machine Tools Africa 2017 opens at the Expo Centre at Nasrec, Johannesburg. This important four-day event showcases tools and equipment that rotates, turns, cuts, forms, bends, shapes and more.

Elquip Solutions, an established local provider of quality global electrical, automation, mechanical and consumable products as well as capital equipment, welcomes visitors to its stand in Hall 6 (stand G05) at this prestigious exhibition.

Elquip Solutions Managing Director Mike Cronin explains: “Machine Tools Africa is not only a valuable opportunity to showcase both our capital equipment and consumables ranges to the market, but also gives us a good opportunity to engage with our valued customer base.”

Commenting on the range of capital equipment that will be on display, Cronin explains that machines from Elquip Solutions’ international principals Behringer and YLM Group will be on display.

From Behringer – a technology leader in the field of bandsaws – Elquip will be proud to have the HBE 312 A Dynamic and the LPS 60-T bandsaws; and the HCS 90 E circular cold saw, from Behringer’s subsidiary Behringer Eisele – also represented by Elquip – on show.

“The sub-Saharan machine tool market is extremely important both to Behringer and Behringer Eisele; and, for this reason, we are very pleased to partner with our long-term local representative Elquip Solutions at Machine Tools Africa 2017,” says Export Manager for Behringer, Michael Popa.

The cutting-edge Behringer LPS60-T semi-automatic vertical bandsaw which will be on Elquip’s stand has recently been sold to a local manufacturing company. The customer will be using this machine to cut tool-steel slabs, an application which required a machine which would be equal to the demands of this exacting application, while delivering a favourable return on investment for its owners.

From YLM, a leading Taiwan-based manufacturer of tube bending equipment, Elquip will be featuring a CNC 38-RSM five-axis 38mm bending machine, which has also recently been sold to a customer. “This state-of-the-art machine, with a punching function included, will enhance the productivity of any manufacturer or steel fabricator,” explains Regional Manager for the YLM Group, Bella Lin.

Meanwhile, Elquip’s consumables principals, Kinkelder, Röntgen, Hoffmann and Saar-Hartmetall will also be on display. From Kinkelder, a leading manufacturer of high technology circular-saw blades, examples of their technologically-advanced carbide blades for cutting tube and bar will be on display.

Röntgen will be featuring their complete range of bimetal and carbide-tipped band saw blades for cutting of metals from standard materials up to super alloys.

From leading German tooling specialist, Hoffman, Elquip will be displaying their house brands, Holex and the premium-quality Garant range.

From its principal Saar-Hartmetall, a manufacturer of blanks, tools, roll rings, tungsten carbide wear resistant parts, PM alloys and steels, Elquip will be displaying their range of internal and external deburring tools, which are used for finishing cut tubes.

“It has always been Elquip’s mission to source and deliver the very highest quality electrical automation and mechanical products, systems and solutions,” says Cronin.

“While the products we feature at MTA represent only a small part of the Elquip Solutions range, we are very proud to showcase these state-of-the-art professional capital equipment and consumable products from leading international manufacturers. We look forward to welcoming you, our valued customers, to Machine Tools Africa 2017,” he concludes.

Elquip Solutions and Hoffman offer a catalogue of tooling excellence unmatched for its range and quality.

Elquip Solutions and Hoffman offer a catalogue of tooling excellence unmatched for its range and quality.

Elquip Solutions Internal Sales Engineer Daniel Cox with the catalogue and a single open-ended ratchet ring spanner from Hoffman’s in-house brand Garant.

While all of South Africa’s tool importers have catalogues of their products, none of these online or print publications contain nearly as wide a range of tools and ancillary products which are contained in the Hoffman Group catalogue, explains Elquip Solutions Managing Director Mike Cronin.

“Experience has taught us that manufacturers prefer to source all their tool requirements from one highly reputable supplier who is able to offer ready availability,” says Cronin.

Elquip Solutions, founded in the 1980s, is an established Southern African provider of quality global electrical, automation, mechanical and consumable products as well as capital equipment. One of Elquip Solutions key overseas principals is the Hoffman Group, a major international company which supplies 500 brands of tools, ancillaries and other manufacturing-related products from global leaders in their various fields of manufacture. Based in Nuremberg, Germany, Hoffman features Europe’s largest tooling logistics centre.

“By approaching the world’s best tool manufacturers to manufacture specifically for them, Hoffmann accesses vast experience and expertise for the benefit of its customers,” explains Cronin. “We are proud to be able to pass this on to our South African customers,” he adds.

Every year, the Hoffman Group issues a catalogue of the tools it is able to offer.

“As an indication of the sheer extent of their tool range, the most recent catalogue comprised some 1,655 pages. In these catalogues, manufacturers will find every conceivable tool or ancillary to maximise the productivity of their businesses. Therefore, no matter what field of manufacture you are in, you will find the right tool at the right price in the latest Hoffman catalogue,” continues Cronin.

In the pages of the catalogue, customers will find well-known names of the world’s leading tool suppliers. With this colossal range, the catalogue only has sufficient space to list 65,000 of the 500,000 listed tools that Hoffman supplies. The catalogue is also able to offer a choice between premium, standard and economy brands of tooling. In the premium range, Hoffman is able to offer its own in-house brands of Garant and Holex.

In the prevailing tough economic conditions, flexibility in tool choice is a strong advantage. Hoffman’s Garant brand markets excellent products of optimum quality which are guaranteed to exceed expectations and offer the certainty of an optimal cost/benefit ratio. However, when pure functionality is a requirement, Hoffman – through the medium of its catalogue – is able to offer more affordable alternatives.

Among the pages of the catalogue are many award-winning tools. For example, Hoffman’s electronic torque wrench manufactured by Garant was the winner of the coveted Red Dot Design Award this year, an international product design and communication design prize awarded by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, Germany. A testament to the scale of this achievement is that competitors from 57 countries took part in the competition with a total of some 5,200 products and innovations.

“What is absolutely vital for Elquip Solutions is that we not only supply the best products and solutions, but also ensure our clients have the expertise to use our tools and equipment to maximum effect,” says Elquip Solutions’ Internal Sales Engineer Daniel Cox.

To this end, the catalogue contains specifications for the optimal use of particular tools. As an example, the catalogue explains that Version 20 3009 of the Garant solid end carbide end mill is ‘specially for machining stainless steels such as duplex steels at high rates of metal removal’.

“For Hoffmann, the catalogue is in fact a key sales tool with the innovative and extensive range of the 65,000 various tools it supplies. In South Africa, customers place orders for tools which Elquip imports, allowing South African customers to source high-quality tools from Hoffmann at affordable prices,” explains Cox. In order to bring the latest tooling expertise to Elquip’s South African customer base, he recently attended intensive training at Hoffman’s headquarters in Germany.

“Elquip Solutions is much more than simply a supplier of tools,” Cronin elaborates. “Through the tools and equipment we have to offer, we are able to add real value to our customers’ operations through a strategy of innovation, product excellence and unmatched support. We encourage all South African industrial manufacturers are encouraged to contact Elquip Solutions to get a complimentary copy of this extremely valuable tool reference and resource,” he concludes.

Elquip Solutions and CE Mobility: ‘welding’ a sound relationship to assist in providing ease of mobility to the physically challenged

Elquip Solutions and CE Mobility: ‘welding’ a sound relationship to assist in providing ease of mobility to the physically challenged

While November 2016 saw the commemoration of national disability rights awareness month in South Africa, many are still unaware that approximately 10% of the country’s entire population is actually in some way disabled. This translates into some 250,000 people who may require a wheelchair or other mobility aid. In addition, there are the elderly – and those who have suffered some form of temporary disablement – who also may require various mechanical mobility aids.

CE Mobility, a company based in western Johannesburg, has been South Africa’s leading manufacturer of mobility aids for the past 65 years. The company produces a full range of wheelchairs from the most basic to sophisticated motorised models. Many of these are further customised to meet clients’ particular individual requirements.

The company also produces other aids such as canes, crutches and walkers. In addition, as a sideline, CE Mobility manufactures tent poles, directors’ chairs and lawnmower handles.

With 120 employees involved in the manufacturing process, CE Mobility prides itself on the high level of localised, South African content in its products. A vertically integrated operation, the company performs functions such as CNC machining and cutting, powder coating, bending and notching in-house at its factory in Maraisburg.

“This approach allows us to produce wheelchairs and other mobility aids at a highly competitive cost without compromising on quality,” says CE Mobility Manager, Rodney Outram.

However, wheelchairs have to be very robust as they are very often in use 18 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their strength is achieved through their tubular construction and the actual quality of the steel that is used in manufacture.

“Generally we use SAE1010 in the manufacturing process; however, when very high steel strength is required, we use ‘Docol’ steel imported from Sweden. This is thinner – but far stronger – than other grades of steel typically used. Whereas normal mild steel strength is rated at 380 MPa, this high tensile, ‘Docol’ steel rates at 1000 MPa,” explains Outram.

“At CE Mobility, we carry out our own in-house quality testing to standards which not only meet ISO benchmarks but exceed them,” he continues.

In spite of stringent quality standards and controls, under the burden of constant use, even the strongest of wheelchairs wear out and need replacement with newer models. Pivotal to the company’s manufacturing process is CE Mobility’s tube mill, which converts flat steel into steel tube. The tube mill has a welder fitted to it, to join the seam in the pipe and complete the process.

However, CE Mobility’s tube mill/welder combination was 48 years old. While this did not overtly affect the efficiency of the mill, the valve welder – now obsolete – was starting to show its age. “Over the past five years, increasingly, the valve welder we had was proving to be a production bottleneck,” explains Outram.

To find a solution regarding the ageing welder, Outram consulted Elquip Solutions’ Managing Director Mike Cronin. “Eleven years ago, we had purchasing consumables from Elquip Solutions; and this developed into a really cordial and mutually beneficial working relationship,” Outram elaborates.

“We had in our product range a technically advanced ‘solid state’ (SS) welder ideally suited for this application, which we sourced from our international principal Unitherm,” explains Cronin. In addition, Elquip Solutions upgraded the mill with modern motor drives. The combination of a new welder and upgraded mill has meant faster production with improved quality and less waste for CE Mobility.

However, as the mill is a key part of the company’s manufacturing process, the downtime caused by the upgrade and modification needed to be kept to a minimum. “The installation and commissioning process was quick and efficient, and we planned our production schedule around it accordingly. The mill and welder being able to return to service after just two weeks,” explains Outram. “We were also extremely pleased that Elquip’s principal, Unitherm, sent a technician to South Africa, who worked with us and the Elquip team on-site, especially to assist with the installation.”

The outcome of the completed project is that the mill/welder now runs at twice the speed, which halves the production time; and the troubleshooting which had to be done with the old welder is now a thing of the past.

“We are very pleased with the upgraded mill and new welder. The welder technology is modern and user-friendly. It is also fully integrated into the overall operation of the mill,” adds Outram. “The productivity improvement has been so successful that we now have spare production capacity,” he adds.

“In fact, Mike Cronin and his team at Elquip Solutions have really gone the extra mile – and further – in order to accommodate our every requirement on this project. They have gone to any lengths to ensure that CE Mobility benefits from the very latest, state-of-the-art technology. Reduced production times, better processes and manufacturing efficiencies, in the end, result in our customers benefitting from a stronger, easier to use, more cost-competitive product,” says Outram.

“We have been delighted to work with CE Mobility as they are an innovative, open-minded customer, always willing to try new approaches and technology – which ultimately lightens the burden on those in society who have to contend with physical mobility challenges,” concludes Cronin.

Elquip Solutions’ long-term relationship with IMET brings the very latest cutting-edge sawing solutions to South African industry

Elquip Solutions’ long-term relationship with IMET brings the very latest cutting-edge sawing solutions to South African industry

In the world of fabrication or manufacturing, one of the first steps invariably involves cutting components from raw material. The faster, more efficiently and cost-effectively this can be done, the greater return-on-investment the product generates.

Elquip Solutions, a leading local provider of global quality electrical components, tooling and machinery is keenly aware of this and has, for this reason, over the years, established an excellent working relationship with a number of overseas principals in the cutting industry. One of these is IMET, an Italian company, which has been manufacturing bandsaws, circular saws and sawing machines since 1968.

“Elquip Solutions is much more than simply a supplier of tools or equipment,” says Managing Director Mike Cronin.

“We are dedicated to adding value to our customers’ operations through a strategy of innovation, product excellence and unmatched support,” Cronin explains.

Commenting on why the relationship with IMET has gone from strength to strength, Cronin says that Elquip combines decades of personal experience with an impressive product portfolio.

“This brings our customers the most efficient and effective technology solutions available – tailor-made to specific requirements. We do this by maintaining close contact with both our principals and our customers to ensure our clients are able to conduct their operations with reliable, high-quality, energy-efficient and affordable solutions that put them at the forefront of their respective industries.”

This strategy is matched in Elquip’s relationships with its overseas principals, IMET being a prime example. IMET has long been known for the quality and innovation that it brings to its range of industrial saws. Always at the forefront of innovation, this year IMET introduced the XSmart3 DC12A-NC automatic double-column bandsaw, which is intended for high-volume production of a variety of materials.

This state-of-the-art, fully programmable machine can execute serial cutting of various lengths and quantities, and store the jobs for ease of future set-up. The saw features IMET’s XSmart3 CNC operating system that allows the loading of up to ten jobs, each with as many as ten different lengths and quantities. Among many features is the capability whereby all cutting functions display at the operator console, which shows error messages and the nature of each error as they occur.

In addition, the XSmart3 features include easy mounting of infeed roller conveyors, a cut-off trough that allows work-pieces to drop off into a parts bin or optional conveyors, and easy access to an optional chip conveyor and flushing/cleaning hose. Furthermore, the saw vice holds material on both sides of the saw blade, thereby eliminating drop-off burrs.

The advanced features of this new product were a remarkable success at the recent Paris Industrie 2016 Fair.

In collaboration with IMET, Elquip Solutions ensures that it maintains an extensive inventory of spares in South Africa. “This inventory is both of our company’s commitment to our local customer base,” continues Cronin. This is supported by Elquip’s skilled team members, who have the technical training, experience and knowledge to assist customers to get the very best out of their IMET products.

“At Elquip Solutions, we are proud to be a long term distributor of IMET quality cutting products, which continue to assist in keeping South African industry at the cutting-edge of excellence,” Cronin concludes.

Kinkelder saw blades: Cutting at its best from Elquip Solutions

Kinkelder saw blades: Cutting at its best from Elquip Solutions

Elquip Solutions seeks out the latest industrial technology to supply to the South African market. As an established local provider of quality global electrical, automation, mechanical and consumable products as well as capital equipment, the company aims to provide quality at all times to its customers. In the current economic downturn, it is also equally concerned with providing them with the best value for money.

As such, Elquip represents and distributes many well-known industrial brands, which are synonymous with quality and value for money, locally. One of these is Kinkelder, a family-owned business based in the Netherlands, with a focus on saw blade manufacture dating back 55 years.

“We have successfully represented Kinkelder and supplied their blades to the local market for over a decade now. Their superior quality is a perfect match with what we always aim to achieve at Elquip,” says Mike Cronin, Managing Director of Elquip Solutions.

Kinkelder is located in the east of the Netherlands, in the city of Zevenaar, which is close to the leaders in European research and development in machine tool manufacture. The company also participates in joint research projects with industry and universities. This ensures that the Kinkelder manufacturing plant improves the performance of its saw blades on an ongoing basis, meeting the latest customer requirements.

“We have this continuous improvement approach in common with Kinkelder, also going beyond merely delivering products. As such, we work closely with our customers to understand the requirements of their current project and provide the most effective solution,” Cronin advises.

Kinkelder has a range of specialist blades able to meet a variety of material specifications and cutting speed or finish requirements, and Cronin adds that Elquip Solutions will assist customers to select the correct blades for their particular requirements.

“We also provide a value-add in terms of evaluating the set-up of our customer’s cutting equipment, to ensure that they achieve the best speeds, production efficiencies, cost-per-cut and ultimately, return-on-investment,” he explains.

The newest addition to Kinkelder’s impressive range of blades is the TCT (tungsten carbide tipped) ‘Champion’ blade, designed for high-volume steel tubing and solid cutting. The blade is manufactured from tungsten carbide and PVD (polyvinlidene) formulations, which significantly reduce wear and provide cutting speeds of between 180 and 300 m/min.

Cronin, delighted with the assortment of blades from Kinkelder says: “Kinkelder blades can not only cope with an assortment of material, but also have blades suitable for many types of sawing machines: from the lighter sawing machines to the automatic variety”.

Another impressive Kinkelder product is their TCT flying cut-off range for standard, orbital and scarf cutting. These industrial blades are perfect for instances where high mechanical stresses and operating temperatures place great demands on the blades. The blades are designed to service the ERW (electric resistance welded) tube and pipe industry.

“Kinkelder HSS blades can be repaired and re-sharpened by Elquip Solutions at our on-site blade sharpening facility, which is a fantastic value-added service offering to our customers,”’ enthuses Cronin.

The HSS (high-speed steel) blade is used for either steel-based or non-ferrous materials, such as brass and aluminium. Sizes range from 150 mm to 630 mm in diameter with a number of tooth styles available as standard stock. There are several different coatings available such as flash chrome, titanium nitride (TiN), titanium carbon nitride (TiCN) chromium nitride (CrN) and titanium aluminium nitride (TiAlN).

“We are really excited to be able to offer, along with our valued and long-standing principal Kinkelder’s expertise, blades customised to our customers’ exact requirements, which provide them with the best cutting speeds and cut quality, and meet any production needs,” Cronin concludes.

Training – the essential ‘tool’ to ensure customers get the latest technical expertise from Elquip Solutions

Training – the essential ‘tool’ to ensure customers get the latest technical expertise from Elquip Solutions

While being able to access quality tools and equipment is a major advantage, expertise in their use is also essential.

To ensure that its customers get exactly that, Elquip Solutions’ Internal Sales Engineer Daniel Cox recently attended key training by two of the company’s international principals, to bring this expertise to South Africa.

These training courses are a substantial investment by Elquip Solutions in its staff and also to ensure customers receive the latest technical expertise and product knowledge.

“It is important that we not only supply the best products and solutions, but also ensure our clients have the expertise to use our tools and equipment to maximum effect,” says Mike Cronin, Managing Director of Elquip Solutions.

July 2015 saw Cox in Munich, Germany to attend a two-week course at Elquip’s international tool supplier Hoffman. In April this year, Cox also attended a week of intensive training in New York with Magnetic Analysis Corporation (MAC), a leader in non-destructive testing (NDT) equipment, and also one of Elquip’s international principals.

‘Non-destructive’ expertise

At MAC, Cox’s training focused on the MultiMac®, an NDT device that detects defects in newly-manufactured steel tube. In 2015, he completed Level 1 operator training. This year, Cox’s goal was Eddy Current Level 2 certification, which qualifies him to set up MultiMacs®.

In tube mills, new steel tube is passed immediately beneath the eddy current coils of the MultiMac®. Signals from the coils are fed to a computer where smart software picks up eddy current spikes caused by welding defects.

Keeping up with developments

While he spent most of his time in lectures taking in all the formulas and trigonometry, Cox was also required to get ‘hands on’.

“In MAC’s workshops, we saw how the systems are assembled,” he explains. As a bonus, he was also given the opportunity to acquaint himself with other advanced MAC NDT equipment.

Cox successfully completed a closely-invigilated practical end-of-course examination, during which he had to pick up defects in test pipe. In the future, he is looking forward to completing Eddy Current Level 3 certification, which covers aspects such as MAC’s Ultrasound and Rotary NDT equipment.

With this training behind him, Cox will be responsible for maintaining MAC installations in South Africa. “I am now able to help our customers’ shop floor operators set up their MultiMacs® correctly and sort out any operational problems they might have,” he explains.

Training in tools

International tool distributor Hoffmann made a successful entry into South Africa when Elquip took on this distinguished agency in early 2015.

Hoffmann’s key sales tool is its innovative and extensive catalogue of the 100 000 various tools it supplies. In South Africa, customers place orders for tools which Elquip imports, allowing South African customers to source high-quality tools from Hoffmann at affordable prices.

“Hoffmann stocks all of the major tool brands – those brands that every artisan or technician wants to have,” says Cox. By approaching the world’s best tool manufacturers to manufacture specifically for it, Hoffmann accesses vast experience and expertise for the benefit of its customers.

In addition, Hoffmann also has its own extremely competitively-priced in-house brands, Garant and Holex, comprising premium-quality and industrial tool ranges respectively.

Cox’s training at Hoffman instilled excellent product knowledge. “I got to closely examine the tools and was able to compare the quality of Hoffmann’s premium brands,” he says.

The catalogue – a powerful tool

“The catalogue is a major tool on its own,” explains Cox. Far more than simply a list of tools, it is also a source of application knowledge.

“For example, if you are cutting a certain grade of steel, the catalogue will specify the correct tool for the job,” he adds.

Now equipped with even greater knowledge of Hoffmann’s 503 leading brands and a sample case, Cox is ready with in-depth technical knowledge and advice for Elquip’s customers, as they buy the world’s best tools from Hoffmann.

“Daniel seized both the MAC and Hoffmann training courses as valuable learning opportunities, with great energy and enthusiasm. I am looking forward to seeing our customers benefit tremendously from his enhanced knowledge,” concludes Cronin.

Safe and sound: Zanardo enclosures from Elquip Solutions protect the electronic nerve centres of SA business

Safe and sound: Zanardo enclosures from Elquip Solutions protect the electronic nerve centres of SA business

Electrical and automation systems are central to the functioning of businesses across South Africa, and damage to this equipment can lead to expensive delays. It makes sense, then, for companies to source enclosures for electronics and automation with the same care they would use to select the systems themselves.

Zanardo has positioned itself as a global leader in the enclosures market, producing products which can be seamlessly integrated into operations, from office to factory floor.

Based in Northern Italy, Zanardo has more than 30 years of expertise in the field of metal carpentry.

“Items manufactured by the company range from boxes, suspension and roof ventilation systems to cabinets for housing network servers and distribution boards,” says Mike Cronin, Managing Director of Elquip Solutions, which has been Zanardo’s local South African distributor for the past 15 years.

“Zanardo prides itself on producing enclosures which are sufficiently versatile to meet the most diverse systems requirements, yet robust enough to guard against wear and tear.

At Elquip Solutions, we in turn pride ourselves on a comprehensive stockholding and competitive pricing structure, thereby ensuring Zanardo’s local customers of easy accessibility to their products and a great deal besides,” Cronin advises.

The company’s product lines make use of casings constructed from welded steel monobloc structures, and steel sheet drawn-column bearing frames. Side panels, back panels and doors are manufactured in steel sheet with a thickness of 1.5mm or more, while internal plates come in galvanised steel of 2mm and upwards.

Among the host of features which customers can expect are transparent doors, doors with keyboard and mouse-supporting systems, single or multiple cable entry flanges and polyurethane sealing gaskets.

Pre-drilled internal supports for elements mounting and removable shelves on telescopic guides allow for ease of assembly – while the use of thermosetting powders for painting guarantees that Zanardo’s painted sheet products are able to tolerate temperatures from -40°C to +60°C.

The items are available in multiple sizes and configurations, and the company also manufactures units in stainless steel: including junction boxes, hanging boxes and control consoles. Zanardo will customise its products for customers who cannot find an exact match for their requirements in the company’s extensive catalogue.

“Thanks to the variety and quality of their enclosures, Zanardo has found a market for their products around the world. We are proud to have represented them, and to have supplied their products to South African industry, for the past 15 years,” says Cronin.

On the success of Elquip’s relationship with Zanardo, he adds: “We share the conviction that building lasting relationships with customers is not simply a matter of equipment changing hands – but of ensuring that these purchases translate into meaningful solutions to our customers’ challenges on the shop floor.”

Security and safety considerations are addressed through, among others, PVC locking systems as well as M4 and M6 pins for earthing. Zanardo enclosures have been tested by several organisations, including the Technischer Überwachungs-Verein (TÜV SÜD) and the Centro Elettrotecnico
Sperimentale Italiano (CESI), to ensure that the items meet requirements for withstanding impacts, waterproofing and the like.

Furthermore, products are certified according to ISO 9001/2008 regulations, and the range also complies with EN 62208 and EN 61 439 regulations.

Additionally, Zanardo offers a vast number of accessories, both for its products in painted sheet and those manufactured from stainless steel. These include padlockable covers for locks, keys (double-comb, triangular, yale and FIAT), die-cast hinges and back-fixing blocks. Customers in search of sheet accessories can choose from Zanardo’s plinths, bases, panels and doors.

“We can ensure rapid delivery of Zanardo’s products, and can also assist with installation where necessary. We are very proud to be the long-term local distributor of such an extensive range of quality products, which assist in protecting the electronic nerve centres of South African business,” Cronin concludes.