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.