Case Histories

Commitment to Cutting: Streamlining Operations, Reducing Costs and Loyal Customers Pay Off for Family-Owned Company with Deep Roots

> Previous Page

HBP-800/1204 Semi-automatic Bandsaw

HBP-800/1204 Semi-automatic Bandsaw Offers Increased Productivity

At Steel Services, Inc., strong ties to its past and a customer-centered focus have always been part of the company’s philosophy of doing business. But, as the third generation of Starke family members took over the firm they realized they could not sit on their laurels. They knew they had to keep moving the company forward to meet today’s challenges and build upon their accomplishments to continue to be successful.

As experienced by many firms, Steel Services was under pressure from customers and the competition to deliver finished goods faster and more efficiently. In order to do so, they looked to new ways to complete a variety of tasks better and quicker and upgrading how they were producing parts. This had to be accomplished while still remaining competitive in pricing to their customers.

One area where the company knew it needed to upgrade its operation was in the actual handling, sawing and cutting of stock. Older, less productive saws needed to be replaced and new material handling systems were required to save time and avoid the arduous and back breaking task of moving tons of steel from machine to machine.

“With our long history and a diverse customer base ranging from welding shops to large OEMs, we generally do not cut the same things over and over again,” says Larry Dickson, General Manager. “Over any given time period, we cut structural beams for commercial building projects, tubing for sign manufacturers, angle clips for welders and products for the railroad industry. We do straight cuts, repetitive cuts, bundle cutting and more.”

Following a meeting with Behringer Saws and an in-depth analysis of cutting processes and requirements, both parties identified issues surrounding the integration of material handling and sawing equipment with their control systems. Steel Services had older sawing equipment equipped with non-OEM controllers which were added to the machines in later years. After extensive consultation and review meetings, the saw manufacturer recommended a combination of automatic and semi-automatic bandsaws with measuring systems, all with fully integrated conveyors and controllers to upgrade the service centers’ current line-ups.

“With Behringer, the draw was that we could purchase integrated saws and material handling systems from the same vendor rather than buying saws from manufacturers which used third-party controllers that might or might not work well with one another. It was a situation we had experienced in the past and wanted to avoid in the future,” says Dickson.

“In the end, we ended up selecting three machines from Behringer Saws to meet our needs — a fully-automatic Behringer HBP-513A bandsaw and two semi-automatic models, HBP-800/1204 and HBP-530/4S,” states Dickson. “Each machine was selected to increase our productivity and build upon our current offerings and capabilities. The sales staff from Behringer was very knowledgeable about sawing and material handling. They worked hard to sell us the systems that fit our needs and not on features we would not use.”

“We found that the saws from Behringer were very user-friendly, especially in the setting up of jobs. When new operators were assigned to one of the saws, it was faster and easier to get them up to speed than on saws we had in the past,” says Dickson. “The technology built into Behringer products took all the “voodoo” out of the programming process such as setting cutting lengths and speed and feed rates.”

Dickson says that due to the ease of set-up and efficient operation of the machines and the ability to cut larger and multiple bundles, the company experienced improved material cutting times by 40% across the board. This benefit allowed projects to be completed, packaged and shipped faster while reducing the company’s operating cost factors. Another immediate result Steel Services experienced was a significant reduction in waste from inaccurately measured and cut materials, a factor that directly and positively impacted their bottom line.

While customers were benefiting from these internal operational upgrades, an even more important result was realized with improved customer satisfaction once products left the service centers. With the new systems in place, returns of shipped and rejected parts due to the old method of incorrectly measuring materials have been reduced in the range of 80-90% over past projects.

Long-term and ultimate customer satisfaction is something that both Steel Services and Behringer Saws can agree upon. According to Dickson, “Behringer believes in and supports their products. They made sure that their products performed as promised and that we were happy with them and the results. That’s exactly the approach we’ve taken with our customers since this company was founded.”