Case Histories

Fast and Accurate Cutting: A Key Driver to ASKO’s Prompt Customer Deliveries and Service

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HBP-650/850A Saw

HBP-650/850A Accurately cuts solids up to 33.4″ W x 25.6″ H

Serving the metal producing, metal processing and metal recycling industries around the world, ASKO, based in Homestead, PA, produces a wide range of specialty wear-resistant tooling, wear parts and services for rolling, slitting, side trimming, sawing and shearing. This 75-year old company’s application expertise in special tool materials, technology and tooling application requirements has been continually developed since 1933 through working with mills, processors and manufacturers.

By working directly with their customers, ASKO understands what kind of products they need and what product attributes work best for their applications. ASKO’s products include replacement wear items such as caster shear and crop shear knives for hot strip mills and plate mills for both hot and cold finishing applications; cold mill and temper mill entry shear knives, rotary side trimmer knives, scrap chopper blades and welder die assemblies; bar mill shear knives and pickle line cropping, chopping and trimmer knives and related tooling; air knives for coating lines; slitter knives, spacers, stripper rings, side trimmers and accessories for all slitting machines; rotary pipe and tube cut-off knives. Plus, the company produces mill liners and wear parts that protect mill housings and roll bearing chocks, which hold the bearings in place.

Customers use ASKO’s products for cutting to length and width as well as side trimming. “Whether in need of a simple replacement tool or a comprehensive package of products and services, we pride ourselves on creating high quality solutions at competitive prices,” said Mark Nicholas, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for ASKO.

The company buys steel in bulk in long lengths at 12 to 14 ft. and then needs to cut it into parts according to the specifications of the job. The problem was getting bulk steel raw material sawed to the proper lengths and obtaining quantities more rapidly and efficiently to enhance customer deliveries and services while reducing costs.

“Our just in time inventory practices for raw materials necessitate the prompt application of material to production orders,” says Kurt Mihaly, ASKO’s material director. Several thousand parts per month need to be cut to begin the manufacturing of our products.”

ASKO had been using three older saw models, noted Jim Kassan, ASKO’s director of engineering at the Rock Hill Division in Rock Hill, South Carolina. “With the older models, sawing was a constraint. The saws were not fast enough or precise,” he said. “We wanted accurate cuts and increased throughput of square inches per cut per hour.”

ASKO decided to purchase two Behringer saws in December of 2003 to replace the company’s three other saws. The company purchased Behringer’s HBP-650 / 850A (USA) as well as its HBP-530A (USA) to increase its saw capacity and capabilities. “We decided on two different models since the larger machine was not needed for all of our jobs. A portion of our cutting mix is up to 28” diameter, but not all of it. The 530A could adequately handle cutting 16” or below, while the 650/850A could cut the remainder of the mix.”

Weighing an impressive 19,800 pounds, ASKO’s first-ever Behringer HBP-650/850A (USA) cuts solid materials up to 25.6” in diameter and rectangular shapes up to 33.4” wide x 25.6” high.

HBP-530A Accurately cuts solids up to 20.8″ W x 20.4″ H

Designed to cut solid materials up to 20.8” in diameter and rectangular shapes up to 20.8” wide x 20.4” high, the HBP-530A is constructed using heavy-duty guides and wheel bearings. Weighing 9,240 pounds, the machine is fully automated and does not even require straps when bundle-cutting. Both saws are designed with a strong cast iron frame for long-life in the shop and low-vibration through the cut.

“We put a lot of effort into the decision-making process,” said Kassan. “This wasn’t a decision taken lightly. Before making a final decision, we narrowed our selection to several different brands.”

When making a bandsaw purchase decision, basic machine design and capability need to be considered along with material capacity, accuracy, finish and quantity. Many bandsaws are not able to maintain reasonable chip loads. This inability results in poor blade life, low productivity, inaccurate cutting, poor finishes, increased costs and, in many cases, the saw is unable to cut the material due to a lack of feed pressure and control.

“We looked for accuracy, repeatability, and rigidity in our saw selection and found what we were looking for in the Behringer models,” continued Kassan. “Despite lower cost alternatives, these saws provided the best value.”

Behringer’s twin column design was a driving force in the company’s decision. “We wanted straight cuts at rapid inches per minute and the dual column design dramatically influenced the machines’ productivity, accuracy and performance.”

The increased speed inherent to the design of the machines has been a real benefit for ASKO. In addition, Kassan said that the machine’s feature to produce multiples automatically while the machine is unattended is fully utilized.

Since the machine is a parallel down-feed machine moving in a linear motion, and supported on two columns, constant feed rates are guaranteed. Double columns also give ASKO, Inc. maximum rigidity and cutting performance. The horizontal band arrangement and hydraulically tensioned tungsten-carbide guides afford the blade excellent support right up to the material.

According to Kassan, the saws have the ability to saw to lengths with greater precision. The greater precision enables sawing to near-finish sizes at the saws, resulting in reduced rough machining time downstream. In some cases, the operation of rough machining has been completely eliminated, he said. Another added benefit of sawing to near-finish size is the material savings. It can be in the form of pieces per raw material length or less material removed by subsequent machining. These savings are magnified even greater with the recent increases in steel prices.

“The ability to provide customers with prompt deliveries and unsurpassed service remains a key driver in our ongoing efforts within ASKO,” says Mark Nicholas, vice president of sales for ASKO. “The saws are an important part of our efforts to enhance these abilities.”

“The HBP-650/850A (USA) and HBP-530A have brought ASKO long-term savings,” said Kassan. “We’ve reduced costs overall. We’ve reduced our stock and improved automation. Our productivity increased by reducing material usage and scrap due to inaccurate cuts. Plus, we have the ability to move more jobs in the same amount of time.”

“We’re happy and content with our selection,” Kassan continues. “These Behringer saws have met our expectations.”