Wood & Panel

Fastenal sharpens its saw service offering with Vollmer

 Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Since making a perfect cutting tool, is very important in the woodworking industry, in order to achieve that perfect product, it is also essential to equip the manufacturers with apt services and ensure desired functioning of essential working tools. In past few years the Fastenal engineering team had visited numerous trade fairs and had engaged in several discussions with Shaun Loveless, Regional Sales Manager at VOLLMER of America. A major concern for Fastenal was the skill level of the local labor pool, so automation was high on the agenda. Recalling the situation, Scott Rodeghier, the Operations Manager of the Fastenal Sharpening Shop, recently mentioned that, “There is a significant skill shortage in the area and attracting skilled staff is a challenge. We knew automation was the route forward and Shaun and Vollmer showed us that route.”

The benefits of the Vollmer CHD270 in facilitating this production cycle have been significant. Firstly, despite having seven older machines, none were capable of processing special geometry saw blades. The special blades that were still serviced externally were instantly brought back in-house, giving Fastenal full process control whilst reducing lead times and dependency on an external supplier – and that’s before factoring in the elimination of subcontract costs.

From a productivity perspective, Fastenal stepped up from processing 25 TCT blades a day to over 25 on each shift – with capacity to spare. Just like the Vollmer CHD270 before it, the arrival of the Loroch Solution K850 eliminated the requirement for external subcontract servicing of saw blades, giving Fastenal the flexibility, capability and capacity to produce both standard and special geometry blades. Despite being a manually loaded machine, the Solution K850 has more than doubled production from 20 blades a day to 20 per shift. “The Solution machine typically has a blade processing cycle time in the region of 12 minutes. This means we now have one operator working across both the automated Vollmer CHD270 and the Solution machine,” said Rodeghier.

The cost reductions and productivity improvements for Fastenal have been significant. Equally impressive is the lead time reduction, as Mr. Rodeghier suggests: “With seven older machines, we had a lead time of 2 to 3 weeks, now with two Vollmer machines we have reduced our lead time to 4 to 5 days with a nationwide next day service if required. However, we are taking this service level a step further. With the Vollmer machines, we have the facility to generate hundreds of blade geometries that have been optimized for all material types. So, we can consult with our customers regarding the performance of their saw blades and we can optimize their cutting performance by tweaking the geometries of their blades. This is something that wasn’t even possible with the previous machines. We have customers in sectors as diverse as windows and construction through to oil and gas, steel demons, trailers and just about any other industry sector. So, having the facility to support all sectors is an exciting prospect.”

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