More sawing capacity

14 May 2019

Engineering capacity news posted by Andy Sandford

Steel stockholder Thomas Graham has added new sawing capacity to service a new 350t per annum order for boron-alloyed mild steel.

Established in 1892 and employing more than 200 staff, family-run firm Thomas Graham & Sons, now in its fifth generation, operates a multi-faceted business in Carlisle. One division is devoted to steel stockholding, which has seen a significant rise in cutting capacity following the purchase of a new KASTOwin 4.6 bandsaw built by Kasto, Germany and supplied through its Milton Keynes subsidiary.

The machine was installed in 2018 specifically to fulfil a new contract for cutting annually 350 tonnes of mild steel alloyed with boron. Used by a forestry industry truck manufacturer for producing chain links, the lengths of flat bar need to have a high boron content to promote hardness during heat treatment.

Bundles of 24 bars of 50 mm x 20 mm cross section and with two bevelled edges are sawn into 280 mm lengths, each cycle comprising 10 cuts, producing 240 billets. They are removed from the output roller table before the next cycle starts.

Thomas Graham's operations director Phil Barnes, who has been with the company for 17 years, said, "The KASTOwin is our first bandsaw from this supplier but our 11th on site.

"Boron steel is not especially difficult to cut using a standard bimetal blade, so it is a simple contract to fulfil, but the automatic Kasto saw does it extremely well, day in day out, easily holding the required ± 1 mm tolerance.

"We were expecting each bundle cutting cycle to take eight hours but in fact it is completed in just three and a half hours."

Since the bandsaw was installed, the higher than expected productivity on the boron steel job has provided spare capacity for general-purpose cutting of engineering steel bar, such as EN8 and EN24T, from 10 to 300 mm in diameter either singly or in bundles.