Saw Manufacturer Keeps Edge in Dull Economy
Cermet tipping is achieved with an automatic Kahny brazing machine
To anyone involved in the metals industries during the past few years, it should come as no surprise that they have been riding an economic roller coaster. However, Cut Technologies (CT), a manufacturer of quality cutting saws, holds fast to the premise that a quality product, a willingness to adapt to market conditions and innovative management are still the keys to success in a struggling marketplace.
Checking saws for straightness and levelness
“Despite the economic downturn, we have continued to be a leader in metal-cutting saw manufacturing through our investment in high-tech equipment. This, coupled with our strict quality-control program, allows our manufacturing facilities to consistently produce a metal-cutting saw of the highest quality,” said Mike Cloutier, president of Cut Technologies.
However, Cloutier says the Bellingham, Wash.-based company’s key to success dates back much further than the recent downturn. He points, as an example, to the company’s long-term commitment to innovation in the industry, especially with regard to European manufacturing technology.
CT is an exclusive distributor and factory service representative for German equipment manufacturer Vollmer, whose machinery is considered among the most technically advanced in the industry. The company is also the exclusive North American distributor of Kahny automatic carbide-tipping equipment. Additionally, it has partnered with a Japanese cermet-tip manufacturer using tips only with the highest cermet properties. The use of this equipment and tips in the manufacturing of metal-cutting saws allows CT to optimize the quality of its product.
“We have traveled extensively throughout Europe, and this has really helped us to embrace the European technology and successfully adapt it to the North American marketplace,” Cloutier said.
Kevin Evans, CT’s vice president of operations, said, “We have brought European technology into our manufacturing facilities, and this has allowed us to successfully produce high-quality metal-cutting saws through this industry downturn. We are constantly striving to innovate, and you see that in all of our saws."
The company feels this innovation is especially evident in the engineering and manufacturing process of the cermet metal-cutting saw. The cermet metal saw has been present in the marketplace for about a decade but has seen great advancement, particularly in the last five years. Consequently, cermet metal saws have been replacing slower, metal band saws in forge plants, steel service centers and cutting houses throughout North America. Cermet saws not only cut twice as fast as band saws, but they do not need secondary manufacturing or finishing because of the smoothness and straightness of the cut. The saws are specially designed and tailored toward the size and grade of the materials to be cut.
CT offers three different cermet saws for the industry: a low-carbon saw designed for material under 4 parts carbon; a high-carbon saw designed for cutting materials containing between 4 and 10 parts carbon; and a stainless steel saw designed for all stainless applications. In addition, poly vapor deposition coating is available on the high-carbon saw and the stainless steel saw, which allows the saw to run for extended periods in extreme cutting conditions and when cutting stainless steel.
One of two fully robotic Vollmer grinding centers
According to Cloutier, when manufacturing saws like this, every process has to be done with 100% accuracy in order to make them run. CT uses only the highest-quality steel, which is then processed in a thermal leveling machine after laser cutting to accomplish the extreme flatness needed to make the saws run smoothly and efficiently.
CT has partnered with Japanese tip manufacturer Mitsubishi, which produces high-quality cermet tips. These are precision-soldered onto the saw body using a German Kahny automatic tipping system. When tipping is complete, the saws enter a five-part grinding process in one of two fully robotic CNC Vollmer grinding centers designed for cermet grinding. The saws are removed from the grinding center after each of the five processes and undergo a quality-control check using a computerized video tooth-inspection station, which permits the verification of the desired angles and geometry of the grinding profile.
After the grinding is complete, the saws are sent to the anvil room where they are manually checked for flatness and tension with runout set at 0.001 of an inch. The cermet saw then enters its final stage and undergoes a proprietary heat treatment that gives the saw increased stiffness and elasticity. Each saw is then hand inspected and viewed under a high-powered microscope to discover any quality issues not visible to the naked eye. This process has allowed the cermet cutting saw to be efficient and effective at some of the most productive forging mills and steel service centers in North America.
For more information, visit www.cuttech.com.