The Behringer saw at Tri-Alta's facility has cut scrap rates significantly and reduced man hours by half.Click image to enlargeby Mary Scianna

The Problem: Operator error, lost productivity

The Solution: Horizontal saw to eliminate human error, improve productivity

Alberta oilfield pump manufacturer’s investment in a horizontal saw results in dramatic production efficiencies

When Chad Tomlinson saw a Behringer horizontal bandsaw in operation at the 2012 IMTS show in Chicago, IL, he knew it was the answer to his cutting problems.

Tomlinson is the branch manager of Tri-Alta Oilfield Industries Ltd., in Edmonton, AB, a manufacturer of electrical submersible and sucker rod pumps and accessories for the oilfield industry.

“The Behringer saw in Chicago was integrated with a material handling system and when I saw how it worked, I was sold on it. We purchased it six months later.”

Back in 2012, the 2,230 sq m (24,000 sq ft) plant was using a manual bandsaw to cut solid bar from 6 to 11 m (20 to 36 ft) long and heavy wall mechanical tubing with wall thicknesses up to 38 mm (1.5 in.). The manual loading of material and other inefficient processes often lead to misalignment of products on the saw, resulting in increased man hours (typically two to three hours a day) required to troubleshoot, and increased metal scrap as a result of poorly cut parts.

Reaping the benefits
Tri-Alta purchased the Behringer HBP-263A horizontal bandsaw through Behringer’s Western Canadian distributor, Can Star Industrial Ltd., based in Edmonton, AB. The new saw is equipped with an automatic chip conveyor, a hydraulic vertical bundle clamping system, an inclined bar loading magazine for 30 to 249 mm (1.18 to 9.8 in.) diameter tubes, and an automatic bar change function with light barriers.

The bandsaw and material handling system was installed in the spring of 2013. “When I saw it in operation I wished I would have purchased it sooner because it would have eliminated a lot of headaches we had been experiencing the past two to three years prior,” says Tomlinson.

Indeed, Tomlinson estimates his company has reduced human error by 80 per cent, cut scrap significantly and reduced man hours by half since the automated system has eliminated the part misalignment issue caused by manual loading.

Tri-Alta has seen a dramatic improvement in production efficiencies because of the new Behringer horizontal bandsaw.Click image to enlargeWhile the investment for the automated bandsaw and material handling system was a higher cost point than the previous manual saw, Tomlinson says it was worth it because “you get what you pay for.”

An important consideration in the purchase was the fact that the Behringer saw is made in Germany, says Tomlinson.

“Our previous saw used to be made in North America, but not anymore and reliability of parts was not good and the quality wasn’t what it used to be. We had wear issue on saw components because the parts were coming from offshore and quality tends to be inferior in comparison to products made in North America or in Germany.”

Fast learning curve
Chris Winter, operations supervisor, says workers went through a small learning curve because of the move from manual to automatic, “but it wasn’t hard. We had a person from Behringer who spent three days installing the saw and then we had two days of training to make sure we understood the programming and mechanical aspects of the saw, but it’s a pretty simple machine to use.”

The upfront support was another reason why Tomlinson selected the Behringer saw.

“One thing I like about Behringer is that the company won’t sell you a machine unless they come to do the installation and training. And that’s great, because we’re not left hanging.”

Since the installation in 2013, Tomlinson says the saw has been virtually problem-free, with only minor problems due to operator use, not to any mechanical issues associated with the saw.

“We’ve seen such a huge improvement over what we had in regards to efficiencies. We’re able to cut more material so much more quickly. It’s night and day in comparison to the sawing operation we had in place before.” SMT


Tri-Alta Oilfield Industries Ltd.

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