Sawing without Gumming up the Works

Article reprinted with permission from the CUTTING TOOL ENGINEERING Magazine, August 2005


A Model CPO 315 RFA automatic circular cold saw from Scotchman Industries enables Berntsen International to saw consistent aluminum slugs, which improved the efficiency of its forging operation.

Before an aluminum part can be formed in an orbital or press forge at Berntsen International Inc., the bar stock needs to be sawed into a slug. The trick is to saw the "dead-soft" and gummy aluminum without generating a lot of burrs, which require time to remove and can cause inconsistencies when forging.

"Our forging operation is touchy, and if we don't saw a part that is very true with square corners, which we were getting with the bandsaw, or if it has some burrs on the edge, we have problems," said Tom Wildgen, vice president of Berntsen, a Madison, Wisconsin, based manufacturer of survey markers, monuments and related accessories.

The company surveyed the problem and determined that slug-to-slug inconsistency was sometimes preventing a total fill or causing too much material to squeeze out during the forming operation. "We really try to tweak the process to make it as efficient as possible," Wildgen noted.

In addition to the tolerance issued with the slugs, the company's bandsaw was wearing out, so Berntsen shopped for a cold saw as a replacement. The company looked at products from about a half dozen manufacturers and selected a Model CPO 315 RFA automatic circular cold saw from Scotchman Industries, Inc., Philip, S. D.

"Scotchman had the best price and they probably have the best support," Wildgen said.

But purchasing a new machine was only part of the solution. Berntsen needed the correct blade to saw the material cleanly and consistently. "It was more the blade and the cut that we were interested in." Wildgen said.

To determine the proper blade and cut, Wildgen said Scotchman experimented with numerous blades and tooth angles to minimize burr and eliminate string formation until it found the proper blade to improve the sawing operation. "It's not totally burr-free," Wildgen said. Because of the extremely tight fit into the press dies, Bernsten still has to run some of the slugs through the rotary deburrer to remove the skin.

Now, though, slug length tolerance is +/-0.005", which improved the efficiency of the downstream forging operation.

The machine is magzine-fed, so "we just load it up, start it and checkto see that we're getting the proper length, the proper cut and squareness on each end," Wildgen said. "Then it just goes unmanned until the last piece gets cut."

With the Scotchman cold saw and blade, Berntsen no longer has to constantly check the aluminum slugs and adjust the forging machine. "That's where the efficiency really comes in," Wildgen said. "Scotchman worked pretty hard to pull this application together. They spent a lot of time determining the correct speed of the saw and the correct grind on the tooth of the saw."



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