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Barrett Steel Group, a UK-based independent steel stockist, has installed four Kasto bandsaws for cutting nickel alloys, stainless alloys and low-alloy steels.

In April 2010, the company decided to break into the oil and gas sector by introducing nickel alloys to its product range, as well as some stainless and low-alloy steels.

A separate processing and distribution facility was opened in Rotherham under the name Barrett Nickel Alloys, which offers both stock and bespoke near-net-shape products for customers around the world to forge or machine into finished components.

It decided to install four Kasto bandsaws for cutting the new materials.

The latest model, a Kastotec AC5 automatic bandsaw, was delivered at the end of 2010 to raise production output.

With capacity to process stock up to 530mm in diameter, the machine uses tungsten-carbide-tipped (TCT) bandsaw blades to cut the tough alloys, as do the other bandsaws on site, which offer capacities of up to 660mm.

A hydraulic top clamp was manufactured by Kasto in Germany to Barrett’s design to allow more than two round bars of larger diameter to be cut simultaneously; otherwise, there is a risk of the middle bars being forced upwards when the side clamps close.

Keith Fowler, managing director of the Rotherham centre, said: ‘We have grown our operation to 14 people in the space of a year, taking on expertise from the oil and gas, aerospace and steel stockholding sectors.

‘Many of our staff reported previous good experience using Kasto saws, which is part of the reason we chose to standardise on them,’ he added.

There are also many similar machines operating within Barrett Steel Group.

The Kastotec AC5 automatic bandsaw is designed and built specifically to extract maximum benefit from TCT blades.

The machine has a steel-/mineral-cast composite construction that is six to eight times more vibration absorbing than cast iron and a powerful main drive through a rigid, play-free, spur bevel gear delivering 98 per cent of the available power directly to the drive wheels.

Double bearings on both the driven and idle blade wheels promote stable, even power flow and allow band tension to be raised, which translates into higher-accuracy cutting.

Precision is achieved by having blade guides as close as possible to the stock on both sides and maintenance-free linear guides for the hydraulic infeed.

Together with feedback on cutting force, blade speed and position, they provide consistent feed per tooth, irrespective of the ambient temperature.

Other functions of Kastotec AC machines include the automatic slowing of band speed and feed rate during entry and when exiting the cut to prolong blade life, and optional, non-contact deflection monitoring to detect if the band is wandering outside preset limits.

A patented feature involving retraction of the stock and blade on completion of a cut avoids marking the face of the material or cut piece and eliminates the risk of damaging the teeth.

Rest piece length is down to 35mm in automatic mode, allowing users to save thousands of pounds per year through a reduction in scrap levels, particularly when expensive materials are being processed.

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