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cost per cut

How Blade Care Affects Your Metal Service Center’s Bottom Line

September 5, 2014 / , , , , , , , , ,


When it comes to selecting the right metal-cutting tools, most managers focus on two main features—performance and cost. In fact, most forward-thinking managers would probably even agree to spending a little more on a blade if it could clearly outperform others on the market.

However, what many managers fail to see is that the value of a blade goes far beyond its cutting time or its price tag. The real value is in the blade life. This is especially true in service centers, where managers are trying to balance tight delivery schedules with high variability. There is just no time to constantly change out blades. As this article from Forward magazine describes, a growing number of service centers are starting to measure overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) to gauge the availability, performance, and yield of their equipment, and blade life can play a key role in optimizing equipment.

Put simply: blade life matters. It affects your productivity, your cost, and your quality.

While advancements in tooth geometries and materials have certainly helped extend blade life, how your operators care for your blades is what really helps you get the most bang for your buck. Below are some tooling tips managers can apply to optimize their blade life:

cost per cut

Five Tips for Achieving the Perfect Cut in Machine Shops

August 20, 2014 / , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


In the busy production environment of a machine shop, achieving the perfect cut is key to maintaining quality and productivity. Premature blade failure and excess scrap caused by operator error or equipment misuse can create quality issues, bottlenecks, and increased costs. In other words, it pays to get it right.

The LENOX Institute of Technology (LIT) knows what it takes to get the best cut out of your operators and the best “cost per cut” out of your blades. The following are few tips and tricks machine shops can use to optimize their band-saw cutting operations:

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more metal-cutting tips and tricks, you can download the complete white paper, Understanding the Cut: Factors that Affect the Cost of Cutting, here.

cost per cut

Reducing Scrap in Forges that Cut and Process Metal

July 25, 2014 / , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


In industrial metal-cutting, a small amount of scrap is inevitable. However, reducing material waste should still be a top goal for forges that cut and process metal. Like all other forms of waste, scrap negatively affects profitability, especially if it is generated out of error.

The truth is that any amount of scrap or rework you’re experiencing in your operations provides an opportunity for improvement. Taking the time to reduce scrap often leads to better productivity and higher quality cuts. According to this article from CONNSTEP, a Connecticut-based continuous improvement organization, reducing scrap and rework rates can also improve cash flow. “The number one reason small businesses go out of business is lack of cash flow,” the article states. “If the scrap rate is 8 percent of your production now and it is reduced to 6 percent, that newly created 2% may now be used to produce new/additional product and your savings should account for the cost avoidance of using new/additional material to complete the existing order.” In other words, by reducing rework and scrap from occurring, industrial metal-cutting organizations can actually generate money that goes right to their bottom line.

If you are a forge that cuts and processes metal, here are a few strategies we gathered to help you reduce your scrap rates:’

 

In the end, scrap is just one of the many areas of waste that today’s leading forges are trying to attack. However, with the cost of inventory being so high, no industrial metal-cutting organization can really afford to ignore a pile of wasted material that could have been used for profit. When it comes down to it, every piece of scrap counts in today’s lean manufacturing world. However, by implementing some of the above strategies, not every piece of scrap has to count against you.

cost per cut

Metal Cutting Tips and Tricks for Fabricators

July 10, 2014 / , , , , , , , ,


At first glance, achieving the perfect cut may feel like a minor detail to a high-production fabricator. With a host of other operations taking place, a simple process like band-saw cutting may seem like a small fish in a sea of looming operational challenges.

However, as the industry continues to adopt the principles of lean manufacturing more and more managers are realizing that even the smallest details can have a huge impact on an operation. From shop organization to preventative maintenance checks, every improvement—and managing every bottleneck—has a bottom-line implication.

This requires today’s fabricators to focus on improving individual processes like metal-cutting, not only for the small productivity gains they can achieve, but also for the benefits it could offer down the line. Case in point: Straight cuts are necessary for a proper weld. When cuts aren’t straight, welders have to fill gaps with filler or welding wire, both of which can affect the overall quality of the part. Or, in a worse-case scenario, the metal might have to be completely scrapped—a huge waste of time, material, and, of course, money.

On the other hand, if the right equipment and metal-cutting procedures were used, the cutting and welding aspects of the operation would be optimized, costs would be controlled, and time would be saved. In other words, it pays to get it right.

The LENOX Institute of Technology (LIT) knows what it takes to get the best cut out of your operators and the best “cost per cut” out of your blades. The following are few tips and tricks fabricators can use to optimize their band-saw cutting operations:

For more metal-cutting tips and tricks, you can download the complete white paper, Understanding the Cut: Factors that Affect the Cost of Cutting, here.

cost per cut

Metal Cutting Tips and Tricks for Forges

May 25, 2014 / , , , , , , , , , , , ,


As any industrial metal-cutting leader knows, optimization is not only about high-level thinking and strategy. In a manufacturing environment, it often starts with having the right tools for the job.

In band saw cutting, for example, proper blade selection is key to optimizing cut times, cut quality, and blade life. This is especially true when cutting tougher metals like super alloys, and it is even more critical when cutting forged materials, which require aggressive blades that can get underneath any scale buildup. While a low-cost blade may get the job done, the “right” blade should be efficient, effective, and reliable. It should help keep tooling and maintenance costs under control, quality high, and production flowing.

In some cases, optimization may mean upgrading tooling and equipment. For example, one metal-cutting company featured in a white paper from the LENOX Institute of Technology (LIT) found that switching from a bi-metal to a carbide-tipped band saw blade provided a substantial improvement in productivity. With the bi-metal blades, the company was having difficulties cutting stainless steel and was missing productivity goals. However, after switching to the carbide-tipped blade, the company reduced cut times by one half and doubled blade life. While the short-term cost of the newer blades was higher, the long-term productivity benefits made it a worthwhile investment.

However, new tooling isn’t always the answer. As this IndustryWeek article explains, a common misconception among managers is that getting “leaner” requires investment. “Lean is not about spending money,” the article states. In fact, the IW author says that “proper lean mindset first looks to avoid spending the capital in the first place.”

While it is fundamentally important to have the right tool for the job, proper utilization of the tool is just as important. In fact, it could help save you money. If you are a forge that cuts and processes metal, here are a few tips and tricks we gathered to help you optimize your cutting operations:

For more cutting tips and tricks, you can download the complete white paper, Understanding the Cut: Factors that Affect the Cost of Cutting, here.

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