With order sizes becoming ever smaller and the variety of cut sizes increasing, Finnish steel stockholder, Kontino, has invested in a computer-controlled sawing centre from German manufacturer, KASTO. Its UK subsidiary reports on the success of the installation, which has allowed Kontino to become much more competitive and profitable.
Kontino’s project manager Kari Röntyen commented, "At first we thought we had found a good solution using new saws and improved material infeed technology, but it did not solve the problem of restricted space at our Tampere site.
"Moreover, supply of stock to the saws would not have been continuous, which would have created lower machine utilisation, more bottlenecks and less productivity."
Measuring just 8.5 by 30 metres, the automated KASTO store avoids these drawbacks by ensuring reliable, 24/7 supply of material ranging from 20 to 320 mm in diameter and up to 3.5 metres long to two integrated sawing machines.
One is a KASTOvariospeed SC 15 circular saw that uses very thin, disposable carbide blades to minimise kerf and hence material loss. The other is a KASTOtec SC 3 bandsaw which also uses tungsten carbide tipped blades.
In addition, there is a stand-alone KASTOtec FC 7 bandsaw for processing bars up to 730 mm in diameter and 7.2 metres long. All three saws are equipped with sorting and palletising of cut pieces.
The store is 8.2 metres high and has 514 cantilever locations, each of which can support up to 2.5 tonnes to a total system load of 1,150 tonnes. A gantry crane, travelling on elevated rails, effects storage and removal of material. With the help of two quick-change stations and a cart, it feeds the two integrated saws as well as the non-integrated bandsaw.
The sequence is computer-controlled and fully automatic, so it can run unattended overnight and with minimal manning during day shifts.
In conclusion, Kari Röntynen commented, "Our personnel had no previous experience of such huge, automated systems, so KASTO trained our personnel before the system was installed.
"After installation and commissioning, which went ahead without any problems, we needed about six months until everything worked flawlessly. Even the change to carbide saw blades worked well.
"The fact that hardly any personnel are needed to run the system, as well as the space saving due to the compact footprint, means that return on investment will be even faster than we originally calculated.
"A huge advantage for us is that we are now able to consolidate all our activities in Tampere and do not need satellite storage locations. Productivity has increased threefold and the quality of our products and just-in-time delivery to customers are greatly improved."