German sawing machine and storage system manufacturer, KASTO, took a last-minute decision to send a new vertical bandsaw for launch in the UK at MACH 2010. Called KASTOverto, it made its world debut only weeks earlier at the manufacturer’s in-house show, FutureDays, in Achern.
Ernst Wagner, Managing Director of KASTO in the UK, said, "It was fortuitous that the machine made an appearance, as we sold one from the stand to Hanson Springs and received two further strong enquiries that look likely to result in additional sales.
"Unlike many exhibition orders announcements, which tend to be stage-managed, this sale was completely unexpected. The customer is not even an existing KASTO saw user.
"Hanson Springs is known to us, however, as we are getting ready to install at their Rochdale factory an external, 25 metre high, double storage tower for holding 680 tonnes of steel in a 12 m x 6 m footprint."
The small footprint of the KASTOverto (2,365 mm x 1,350 mm) was one of the main reasons for the spring manufacturer placing the order for the vertical bandsaw. The owners, Mr and Mrs Hanson, also liked the design of the machine, which they feel matches the build quality and appearance of other machine tools on their shop floor. This is in contrast to products from many saw manufacturers, which often pay little attention to the finish and design of their machines.
KASTOverto is a highly productive and economical, straight cutting saw with impressive band speeds, feed rates and capacity. It is ideal for cutting metals in low to medium volumes. Cutting range is 260 mm diameter (round), 320 x 260 mm flat or 260 mm square. The smallest diameter that can be sawn is 10 mm.
The bandsaw is equipped with a material input system that can feed lengths of just a few millimetres up to 850 mm. Depending on the material and shape, the cutting feed can be varied between 12 and 120 mm/min. Features include hydraulic band tensioning, easily exchangeable band guide jaws, the ability to replace the band without using tools, and a 60-litre coolant system with three supply nozzles.
Full cladding around the machine provides protection for the operator as well as keeping the working environment clean and quiet. The enclosure design, which extends around the section of input conveyor within the machine, meets all current EC regulations as well as, unusually, the latest guidelines that have yet to become law.
Better than expected enquiry level
Mr Wagner pointed out that nearly all of the 92 enquiries taken on the KASTO stand during MACH were top quality leads. Many visitors were senior managers and directors from large manufacturing companies. Just over half of the enquiries were for sawing machines, including 15 for high-performance saws. The remaining enquiries were for material storage and retrieval systems, 60 per cent of which were for large installations valued at more than £250,000.
Since MACH 2010, but not connected with KASTO’s participation at the show, a further seven requests have been received for surveys and initial consultancy to be carried out. KASTO saws or storage systems, or in some cases both, will be assessed to see whether they can address the expansion plans of the interested parties.
"The upturn in serious enquiries for automated tower stores in particular indicates a paradigm shift in attitudes in the UK towards the technology," claimed Mr Wagner.
"Instead of leaving research into this area to the last minute, companies planning factories or distribution centres on greenfield sites are speaking to us early. So too are existing operations looking to expand.
"While this approach is usual in continental Europe, it is the first time that I have experienced it in the UK and it is very encouraging."
He said that companies are realising that overheads such as rent and utility bills can be minimised by intelligent choice of how best to store material. Alternatively, 3D storage can free space on a shop floor for additional machine tools, allowing a manufacturer to expand its operation without the expense of moving premises."
On the sawing side of KASTO’s business, the outcome of recent consultancy meetings have again shown that, using the latest KPC (KASTO Performance Cutting) technology, payback in under one year can be clearly demonstrated. Although the equipment is the most expensive being considered, the payback is the shortest due to the 50 to 70 per cent saving in operator-hours. This is achieved through increased output per machine and more efficient process management.
One stockholder confided to Mr Wagner that it wants to double the size of its operation. Apparently the increased level of business is there to be had as we emerge from recession, especially as there are fewer companies around now to service the market so competition is less. All the same, growth targets of this order are far from trivial and the most up to date sawing and storage technology will be needed to make them a reality.