Fastenal, a specialist in fasteners, MRO equipment and industrial supply, has over 3200 in-market locations and 15 distribution centres that span four continents. With more than 200 staff, the largest manufacturing site is located at the company’s headquarters in Minnesota, US, which is also home to two circular saw-blade sharpening machines from Vollmer.
The first arrived in 2018: a Vollmer CHD270 carbide-tipped saw sharpening machine with eight CNC controlled axes and a Vollmer ND230 automated loading station. With the capacity to store up to 250 saw blades, the four-axis robotic loading system with three loading carriages transformed production almost instantly.
“The guys on the shop floor rapidly learnt how to program and use the machine, and we soon got into a rhythm of re-sharpening and servicing special saw blades during the day shift, and then loading-up standard geometry saws and batch-run quantities on the ND230 loading station for unmanned overnight running,” explains Scott Rodeghier, operations manager. “Immediately, our team got into a routine where we could process special saw blades by day, do standards and batch-runs overnight and, in the morning, unload the finished saws and pack them to be distributed nationwide back to our customers – and then start the cycle again.”
From a productivity perspective, Fastenal stepped up from processing 25 TCT blades a day to over 25 on each shift, with capacity to spare.
This instant success resulted in the company ordering a Loroch Solution K850 grinding centre for sharpening, re-toothing and chamfering its metal-cutting circular saw blades. Delivered six months after the Vollmer CHD270 in the spring of 2019, the combination of Loroch Solution K850 and Vollmer CHD270 reduced labour requirement in the saw blade sharpening cell from five staff to two, while replacing seven machines with just two.
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