North Sawn & OTC gain competitive edge with cut-and-balanced steel

North Sawn & OTC gain competitive edge with cut-and-balanced knife steel

Traditionally timber processors purchase their knife steel in bar lengths; manually cutting to size as required with instruments such as drop saws. Although this has been a satisfactory and commonly accepted practice; fewer and fewer companies are continuing this way. Drop saws generate too much heat and diminish knife steel life. Also, as market competition increases, so does the need for internal efficiencies and product quality advantages. Many timber processors are saving time and money plus improving the quality of their finished product through superior accuracy, balance and knife life.

Let’s walk through the numbers…

Say you traditionally order 650 x 50 x 6 bar length of WR knife steel and receive this into your storeroom. Now the production team are requesting this cut into specific lengths of 80 x 50 x 6. Doing some basic maths: 650mm/80mm should equal 8 pieces with 10mm leftover as waste. However, with drop saw cuts you can lose up to 3mm per each cut. So now only 7 pieces can be achieved with 21mm of saw cut and 69mm material waste. In this particular case the waste equals $22 per bar.

Now let’s look at labour costs:

It can take roughly 45 minutes per bar, from the time the grind shop was notified, sorting and removing packaging, setting up drop saws and cutting 7 pieces. 45 minutes x $25hr = $18.75 in labour costs. These labour costs have not taken into consideration the time to balance steel which is critical for product quality and finish, machine wear and wear, and overall safety.

Product waste + labour costs

Over a period of 12 months this example company may order 36 bars of 650 x 50 x 6.

36 bars x $22 = $792 bar waste 

36 bars x $18.75 = $675 labour costs  

36 bars x 45 minutes = 27 hours in labour time

This company could save nearly $1500 in waste and labour costs alone, plus regain 27 hours per year reassigning workers to more valuable tasks.

OTC give cut and balanced T1 a tick

Sometimes with up to 15 specific cut sizes of T1 in rotation, it may seem like the easy option to just order a few bars and cut in-house as required, but for OTC Timber in Otorohanga this couldn’t be further from reality.

The mouldings manufacturer is no stranger to cut-and-balanced knife steel with Ryan Walters, production supervisor stating “We have a lot of heads in our tool room, tooled up and ready to go. We understand the time and money saved with ordering steel cut-to-length, but the real value for us is the accuracy and precision with having these professionally balanced in pairs to ensure we deliver an exceptional quality product every time.” After learning Accurate offer cut and balancing at no extra charge, OTC Timber transitioned from their existing supplier.

 North Sawn Lumber switch to cut-and-balanced

“It’s no secret that our company has experienced some growth in recent times, so for us to service this growth we need to look at how we spend every minute of every day, and every cent in every dollar,” explains George Beasley, site manager at North Sawn Lumber in Ruakaka.

The Northland processor would commonly order bars of T1 and ST1 knife steel and cut into multiple sizes as required for their production runs. It wasn’t until they discovered they could buy their steel already cut-to-length and balanced, at no additional service fees, that it was logical and sensible to switch.

The potential in your business is large – you could gain hours per week, save thousands per year and achieve ultimate accuracy and precision on all your production lines.

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