Two Amada saws installed at Barrett Steel

Formed by Henry Barrett in 1866, Barrett Steel Ltd has grown to become the UK’s largest independent steel stockholder, today consisting of four divisions with more than 40 companies operating from 26 sites.

Due to higher business levels being experienced by the Barrett Engineering Steel division, a search was recently commenced for an efficient sawing solution that would meet requirements at two sites in the Midlands and northwest. This search prompted the company to invest in a pair of Amada PCSAW 430X/AX pulse cutting automatic bandsaws from Accurate Cutting Services.
In comparison with conventional bandsaws, Accurate Cutting Services says that Amada PC series machines deliver faster cutting by employing a novel mechanism to ‘pulse’ the blade feed pressure. This pulse forces the bandsaw’s tips to overcome any work hardening through the cut, and eliminate the unwelcome vibration harmonics that create noise and damage tip material.
Rob Fern, Barrett Engineering Steel’s Midlands branch manager, explains the reasons for purchasing the bandsaws: “In addition to build quality, the pulse capabilities provide the speed – especially on large diameters – and accuracy that we require. The main consoles also clearly display an estimated finish time for each job, which permits operatives to plan upcoming cuts, while the ability to download data related to blade performance is extremely useful for monitoring KPIs and promoting continuous business improvement.”
At Barrett Engineering Steel, the 430 mm cutting capacity Amada machines are currently being used to saw carbon and alloy grade steel, in both black and bright bar, including the company’s latest EN30B stock.
“As well as the bandsaws, we bought an RT feed conveyor,” says Fern. “The conveyor gives us the benefit of semi-automation and has resulted in a significant reduction in downtime. Indeed, the saw can run unattended for up to two whole shifts.”
For further information

XYZ puts spotlight on automation

Robo-Tend, the mobile machine-tool automation system from XYZ Machine Tools, will have its official customer launch at two events this month.

The first will be at the company’s headquarters in Burlescombe, Devon on 10 September, and be followed by a similar event at XYZ’s Nuneaton facility on 12 September. Key to Robot-Tend is said to be its ease of use and affordability. Robo-Tend can be used with any of XYZ’s Siemens controlled machining centres or turning centres, and can be relocated within the factory to wherever needed. The cost of Robo-Tend is calculated from just £2 per hour
Both events commence at 09:00 with coffee and bacon rolls, followed by an introduction to Robo-Tend from Nigel Atherton, managing director of XYZ Machine Tools, and Paul Stout, managing director of Adelphi Automation. A demonstration of Robo-Tend and a Q&A session will also take place. Space is limited at both events, so it is recommended to
book a place in advance.
For further information

Storage and sawing systems upgraded

Since 1993, storage and sawing technology from Kasto has provided dependable service to hydraulic equipment manufacturer Liebherr-Components Kirchdorf GmbH.

However, to meet increasing demand for its hydraulic cylinders, the company decided to modernise and expand its production systems. So Kasto was commissioned to upgrade the existing storage system for steel bar and tube, as well as a pair of bandsaws, and equip it with customised robotic handling.
Liebherr-Components has specialised in the production of hydraulic cylinders since 1958. Every year approximately 75,000 hydraulic cylinders, suspensions and system solutions for cylinders leave the plant to be used worldwide.
Stefan Lützel in the industrial engineering department at Liebherr-Components says: “A Kasto cassette storage system with 733 locations, an automatic cantilever arm and a large bandsaw from the KASTOhba series provided reliable service for 26 years. Until recently a production circular saw which was of a similar age from the same manufacturer was also in use.
“We have granted this saw a well-deserved retirement, as in 2016 we modernised our sawing technology and increased cutting capacity to 430 mm diameter with the addition of a KASTOtec SC 4 bandsaw, which is particularly effective at processing difficult-to-cut materials,” he adds. “The saw is able to operate with either a high-speed-steel or a carbide blade and is equipped with the Kasto Performance Cutting (KPC) package, which includes improved band guidance and vibration absorption for even higher cutting efficiency.”
Furthermore, Liebherr-Components together with Kasto developed a custom-made solution to automate the handling of cut pieces with an industrial robot moving between the two saws on a linear track. The robot is equipped with several exchangeable magnetic grippers that are able to pick-up various cut lengths weighing up to 350 kg from the sawing machines.
For further information

Friction and wear-reduction technology

Applied Nano Surfaces (ANS) of Sweden has entered into a joint development programme with Sunnen that is focused on the patented ANS ‘Triboconditioning’ process, which is designed to reduce friction and wear on a variety of honed parts and components.

Chris Miltenberger, president and CEO of Sunnen, says: “ANS is at the leading edge of friction reduction technology. We’re excited about working with ANS on the development of new products and surface-finishing methods, which will bring unique solutions to all segments of the manufacturing industry.”
Triboconditioning is a combined mechanical/chemical surface-treatment process that uses a machining procedure to level off surface peaks and apply a friction- and wear-reducing compound to the component surface. Unlike spray coatings, the compound becomes an integrated part of the component structure at a nano level.
The process is mechanically simple and, in most cases, can be performed with Sunnen honing equipment. In addition, the process is said to be very cost-efficient in mass production environments, making it suitable for in-house manufacturing. Key applications include automotive engine components, such as valve train parts, cylinder liners, crankshafts and connecting rods, as well as industrial applications like hydraulic motors, rock drills, pumps, chains, gears and compressors.
“We’re looking forward to combining our knowledge of friction-reducing technology with Sunnen’s expertise in surface finishing,” says Christian Kolar, CEO at ANS. “The solutions under development have the potential to be real game-changers in component efficiency.”
For further information

Lapping gel for ball valves

Working closely with ball valve manufacturers, Engis UK has developed a lapping gel specifically for use in severe service ball valve lapping applications such as those found in oil and gas production and petrochemical refining.

Severe service ball valves are often installed in remote and difficult to access locations, and must withstand the harshest conditions, including high pressures, high temperatures and caustic materials, while providing tight tolerances and zero-leak characteristics.
Among the main benefits of Engis LD diamond gel is said to be a reduction in overall lapping times by up to 30-40%. In addition, less pressure is required using the LD gel, reducing scratching and operator fatigue in manual operations. This attribute results in less component scrappage, while test stand failures are significantly reduced – to near zero in some instances, reports the company.
The lapping gels contain specially controlled diamond particles that are micronised in Engis laboratories. In contrast, some conventional lapping compounds, particularly those not manufactured to the most exacting standards, incorporate rogue abrasive particles and can suffer from particle agglomeration or excessive ‘dry out’ during processing, resulting in surface scratches which compromise the zero-leak goal.
Engis LD gel is available in 18 or 100 g syringes in particle sizes ranging from 1 to 60 µm.
For further information