5-2009 Spotlight on Technology: Amada
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Pulse Cutting Cancels Vibration to Boost Productivity

When it comes to sawing metal, vibration is the enemy and productivity the casualty, especially as industries strive to cut harder materials at ever-faster rates. Amada Cutting Technologies Inc., based in La Mirada, Calif.,

has joined the fray with what it calls “pulse” cutting technology, designed to quiet vibration during sawing operations and speed the cutting process, while also extending blade life.

Amada Cutting Technologies demonstrated its latest pulse cutting machines during an open house earlier this spring at the company’s new solution center in the Chicago suburbs (see sidebar). The pulse series includes the PCSAW330, 430, 530 and 700. The PCSAW700 goes a step further with “double pulse” cutting technology.

Vibration has always been an inherent characteristic of metal sawing. With varying success, saw makers have devised damping devices, while blade makers have experimented with varied pitches and tooth designs, all in an effort to reduce vibration and increase blade life and cutting rates.

Using a special pulse drive motor for the longitudinal force, Amada PCSAWs send a counter pulse in the horizontal direction to prevent frictional vibration. To reduce vibration and heat generated by the penetrating force, the blade pulses up and down so that it is not in constant contact with the work piece. Equipped with Amada’s new AXCELA carbide-tipped band saw blade, the saw generates shorter, more uniform chips, which minimizes tooth wear and extends blade life, say Amada engineers.

The combination of the PCSAW and AXCELA blades improves the cutting rate up to 10 times faster than conventional sawing machines with standard bimetal blades, depending on the hardness of the material. This translates to a cost savings of over 40 percent for easy-to-cut material and over 60 percent for hard-to-cut material, Amada claims.

Typically, there is a tradeoff between cutting rates and tool life—cut faster and achieve more parts per hour or slow down and achieve more cuts per blade. Amada’s new pulse cutting technology allows users to have both, company officials say.

One of the first users of the new technology is Alro Steel, a Jackson, Mich.-based service center and metal processor with 50 locations in 12 states. Alro specializes in next-day delivery of small custom-cut orders, so the productivity gains offered by Amada’s new equipment proved particularly valuable, says Randy Glick, Alro vice president of operations.

Alro did its own tests comparing Amada’s CTB400 saw with a standard carbide blade vs. the PCSAW430AX with pulse technology and an AXCELA carbide blade. The service center documented improvements in the cutting rate ranging from 42 percent on 1045 medium carbon steel up to 70 percent on A2 hardened tool steel.

Glick lauded other features of the Amada system, including the chip brush that removes metal shavings and helps extend blade life, as well as the back gage that holds bar remnants in place and allows them to be cut as short as

1-3/8ths inch, which eliminates a lot of waste. The AXCELA blade also produces a near-milled surface finish on the cut piece.

“There was excitement at all levels after our people had a chance to work with these saws. Every operator gave positive feedback,” Glick added.

By Tim Triplett, Editor-in-Chief

Amada Shows Off New Solution Center

Despite the poor economy, the new Amada Solution Center has earned strong reviews from fabricators and processors. The 133,000-square-foot facility, located at 180 Amada Court in Schaumburg, Ill., opened its doors last October. One of 18 similar Amada centers throughout the world, the structure draws design elements from the one at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo.

The attractive glass and steel structure, which features 122-foot-long beams that require no internal columns for support, houses areas for equipment demonstrations and testing, classrooms for training and sales support, plus a lecture and a dining hall. Within the building is a Manufacturing Verification Center used to showcase innovations such as the Virtual Prototype Simulation System, which helps customers analyze and improve their part manufacturing process. The Laser Technical Center offers technical seminars, machine demonstrations and skills training on Amada laser processing systems. The “System Up” Factory is a working factory dedicated to the complete testing of customized systems prior to their delivery and installation.

The March open house featured comments from executives at Alro Steel, who reported success with Amada’s new sawing equipment, as well as remarks from the president of Amada Cutting Ltd. of Japan, the CEO of Amada North America Inc., and a ceremonial Japanese sake toast.






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