CELSA manufacturing UK acquired the old ASW site in Cardiff in 2003. They are now the largest producer of reinforcement bar, and one of the largest suppliers of steel long products in the UK. 900,000 tons are produced annually from their mills and they employ 450 members of staff.
In 2004 their increasing production levels required a new saw, the existing machine was unable to handle the larger sections now being processed. They needed a saw with a large capacity to cut 650mm wide plate, yet flexible enough to handle small 50 x 50 angle. Their Spanish parent company pointed them in the direction of sawing specialists Prosaw. Sean Littlemore was part of the team appointed to evaluate and recommend the correct machine.
A visit to Prosaw's showroom enabled them to look at many alternatives, and the decision concluded with the model SL520. A heavy duty, twin pillar bandsaw with a large 720 wide capacity, yet the compact design enabled it to fit in to the tight space restrictions of Celsa's existing production plant. Tests conducted at Prosaw quickly established its suitability. One cut on their material usually takes an hour, but was completed within minutes on the new saw.
The need for a versatile machine was important to Sean. One of their needs was to cut small sections down to 10 x 10 mm from large plate. Previously, they roughly cut it down to a much larger size and then preformed a second cutting operation. The new SL520 eliminates the second operation with its ability to cut accurately, even down to this size. "The new saw is very flexible, we cut all types of material and this versatility is so important to us".
The blade on the SL520 is inclined at 5 degrees. This is particularly advantageous when cutting plate. The blade has a gradual entry into the material and provides a smooth clean cut. Additionally, this feature, with the automatic downfeed control, allows Celsa to use the same blade on all their material.
Another feature particularly liked by Sean is the laser blade alignment beam. This reveals the actual cutting line the blade will take once it enters the material. Hence one-off cuts are very easy and there is little material waste.
Health and safety issues are ever present in today's production environment, and whilst not one of the original specification criteria, the saw has made a positive contribution to Celsa's needs. Handling heavy steel sections is hazardous, but the design of the saw enables easy loading and manipulation.
Therefore, not only has this been a bonus for health and safety, but it has also saved many hours with efficient material handling. The saw has now established itself as the most important machine within Sean's area of responsibility. So reliability is imperative, "if the saw goes down - everything stops". However the saw has proved to be trouble free since its installation last year. If there was a problem, it was sorted within 24 hours.