Striebig Wall Saw
Striebig’s 50,000th vertical panel saw has been sold to Ireland’s only independently owned extruded aluminium profiles manufacturer, Architectural & Metal Systems Ltd (AMS). Part of an ambitious growth plan that will see the 22-acre site in Cork, Southern Ireland increase its processing capabilities to 23,000 tones a year, the company is continuing to invest in high-quality machinery to grow its extensive range of aluminium products and sell to industries across the world.
“We didn’t set out to be a manufacturing company,” begins Ronan McGrath, Sales Director of AMS. “The company started life as a windows and doors systems company but in a bid to widen our markets and expand our portfolio, we needed to reduce our reliance on other manufacturers and gain control in-house. Today, we can offer a complete, turn-key solution on all aluminium products thanks to our state-of-the-art extrusion, powder coating, anodising, decorative sublimation and fabrication facilities.”
Vertical Panel Saw
It’s this vision of offering a complete solution under one roof – from conception to project delivery – that is behind the company’s investment in a Striebig Control vertical panel saw. “We invested in the wall saw for a specific fabrication project. We had been using pre-cut 8mm multi-wall and 8mm clear polycarbonate panels from a third party manufacturer but this ran the risk of sheets being cut incorrectly or arriving damaged. To compensate for this, we carried more stock but with so many unique sizes requested, this wasn’t a practical solution. In an attempt to keep production moving, we even started working on doors while we waited for the material to arrive but this meant dismantling and reassembling the doors when the polycarbonate was eventually delivered. This wasn’t an efficient way of working. We were doubling our workload.”
The bottleneck in production was identified quickly. “It was clear that the solution was to cut the panels internally and keep our entire manufacturing process under one roof,” says Ronan. Following a recommendation from an existing Striebig customer and a demonstration at TM Machinery’s showroom in Leicester, AMS purchased their first Striebig Control vertical panel saw.
“It was the saw’s automation that grabbed our attention,” explains Ronan. “We didn’t have any experienced saw operators working for us. We needed a machine that was easy to use and simple to learn. For us, the uplift in price for this automatic model compared to the potential issues that could arise from materials being cut wrongly or the saw used incorrectly on a manual model was justifiable. Plus, with the addition of the saw’s in-built optimisation software, it went a step further in eliminating human error as cutting lists, sizing and product bar codes could be generated automatically.”
Installing the New Wall Saw
Partnered with an AL-KO Power Unit – which was built with an extra silencer for even quieter operation – the new wall saw was positioned and installed on a dedicated mezzanine floor within eight weeks. “We worked with TM Machinery’s Irish partners, TI Machinery who surveyed the site. It made the installation hassle-free and if we had any questions, TM Machinery were only a call away. Within two days, the saw had been installed and our staff felt proficient in using it.”
The Striebig Control’s simple operation and clever design features helped AMS hit the ground running. “We were promised a machine that could help us achieve greater efficiency without having to source experienced operators. It did just that,” admits Ronan.
The rear support on the machine has been designed to stop lightweight material like 8mm polycarbonate flexing when cut and, unlike manual machines, the feed speed is automatically controlled by the machine, so the cut is always clean and made with pin point accuracy. The saw also comes with a plethora of built-in features as standard to assist in the cutting process, including a 12” touch screen, panel end recognition, constant return speed of the saw unit, an operating-hour meter and a digital measuring system on both axes.
“We now only cut material when required,” admits Ronan. “Our newly trained operator can use the vertical panel saw for three hours and generate enough work for a full week. No more mistakes or hold ups mean our fabricators can get to work more quickly, halving lead times. It’s made the whole process much more efficient.”
Ronan admits, “We know we’re not running the machine hard – we’re cutting 800 panels a month – but it’s quickly become an integral part of our production. The clincher for us in the potential this machine has for our business. Where we may have shied away from a project that required a third party to cut sheets to size in the past, we now have the ability to do this ourselves and exceptionally well.”
When it comes to ROI, it’s clear that this isn’t always a numbers game for AMS. “I’m a big believer in buying the best you can afford because it pays off in the end,” says Ronan. “For us, a return will come in two to three years but it’s important to consider the wider benefits and the opportunity this machine offers us. We can be sure of a 20% labour saving and a substantial reduction in used floorspace now we no longer stock pre-cut material. These savings were seen immediately but are more difficult to quantify. That said, our customers were seeing the financial benefits from day one as they no longer needed to pay for pre-cut material to be delivered to us or have the stress and worry of working with multiple suppliers.”
Incorporating the Striebig
So, what’s next for AMS? “A third extrusion line is already nearing completion, and another new building will be constructed in the new year, bringing our total floor space to 400,000 square feet. When it comes to the Striebig, our goal is to grow this area of the business and triple production in the next two years. We see the Striebig running four to five times a week and helping feed our fabricating line further. The saw has the capabilities to handle much higher volumes and we’re looking forward to putting Striebig’s 50,000th saw to good use for many years to come.”