A capacity of 8m x 2.5m x 600mm deep and weighing 66 tonne, the Prosaw Danobat VLTA bandsaw supplied to British Aluminium Plate (now Alcoa Europe), is believed to be the largest machine of its type in the world. In spite of its size, it cuts aluminium plate to an accuracy of less than 1mm, and is also highly productive being able to automatically machine all four sides of a plate.
The need to invest in new bandsaw technology was influenced by customer increased expectations of dimensional accuracy and repeatability.
"The Danobat enables us to meet this requirement by cutting plate to an accuracy of ±1mm over its 8m length capacity. The confidence given by the high level of repeatability means we do not need to add on allowances 'just-in-case' and this further helps to save material."
Another major benefit is the increased throughput. Once a slab has been loaded and clamped the process continues under automatic control with no need of manual intervention. Using the Danobat with its automatic operation, output averages three times more than the older machine.
Operations may be to simply trim the ends of a slab, cut all four sides or 'slice' a slab into multiple pieces. The blade is fed along the machine for longitudinal cutting while the workpiece is driven for transverse cuts, and the blade rotated through 90 degrees to switch from one direction to the other. All movements and operations are CNC controlled. There is also a laser beam projected along the cutting line to aid the operator when setting up the work.
The Kitts Green company's decision to invest in the Danobat VLTA came after a thorough examination of the large bandsaw market mainly from manufacturers in Germany and Italy.
Mr. Lane comments "While all the other manufacturers produce large bandsaws as a one off, Danobat have a standard modular range and we were able to observe a similar one to ours cutting steel at a plant near Barcelona. That impressed us, as did Danobat's design and manufacturing facilities. They are a very 'customer friendly' organisation always keen to know of any problems that will help them to improve their product. In addition to that, we have the expertise and local support of Prosaw that was so vital during commissioning and production run-up".
Danobat is a major producer of a wide range of CNC machine tools and the design and manufacturing criterion identified by Mr. Lane. This results in a saw that is technically and cost competitive.