How to Ensure Your Choice of Linear Saw is a ‘Cut’ Above the Rest

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Issue #11245 - December 2019 | Page #45
By Ed Serrano

Investment: [ɪnˈvɛs(t)m(ə)nt] NOUN: a thing that is worth buying because it may be profitable or useful in the future.

Automating your truss and frame plant is an investment in your business and your future. Today, the American market has the benefit of having a number of linear saw suppliers all claiming their automation will improve safety and increase the efficiency of your plant. As a consumer, how can you capitalize on this choice? Simple – ask questions and put the onus onto the machinery supplier to provide answers that are correct, truthful and, where practical, can be demonstrated. Here are some key questions to help guide your decision-making process:

Floor space is valuable – can I configure a system to suit my factory? Here’s my available space – how would you recommend I use it?

To say these questions are vital is an understatement. You need to ensure your equipment supplier has an in-depth understanding of not only your space requirement but how it’s used. Your linear saw needs to IMPROVE your workflow, not simply fit into your factory. Put the onus on your supplier to make sure the equipment is configured to your needs – it shouldn’t be the other way around. Material flow, size, location of waste bins, dust extraction – all of these should suit both your factory and your manufacturing process.

How can optimization be structured to work with my existing operations? Do I need to be a mathematician to understand optimization?

The optimization of components to reduce waste and cost is a key feature of all modern, automated sawing systems. To actually benefit from optimization, it is imperative your linear saw is set up by a competent, experienced Engineer who understands the unique needs of your manufacturing processes, setup, and business. Would your production be improved by combining members together on a truss-by-truss basis only? Or by combining a few trusses together? Perhaps it’s by optimizing like members together, in a batch cutting operation? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to optimizing and systems must be tailored to the unique needs and concerns of each plant. You should be in full control of how the optimizing works and what the outcome is. Minimizing waste and cost is important, but these need to be achieved while also directly matching your production processes. A poor cutting order can easily negate savings in lumber – make sure your supplier has the tools and flexibility necessary to do the job properly.

What should my yearly maintenance budget be? Who can maintain the saw? How quickly can I get spare parts and consumables to my site?

When you invest in a linear saw, it can very easily become the cornerstone of your factory. If your saw stops, the entire factory stops. So make sure you fully understand what your options are when it comes to maintaining, servicing, and repairing your equipment. Where are replacement parts held, and are they all in stock? How long will it take for them to get to you in a pinch – and not just the most common components – what happens if something odd fails? Who can do repairs to the equipment? What tools and training are available to your staff or local contractors to enable them to complete services and repairs? What online resources are available for your staff? What does the support network look like and when is remote support available?

Don’t be afraid to ask how much on average customers spend on support and maintenance as there can be a very big difference between suppliers – a factor often overlooked. Ongoing maintenance and support is critical. Make sure you have as much control over your own circumstances as possible and then make sure that, when you need help from the supplier, you know what it’s going to cost and how long it will take.

Finally, some general things to consider –

What skill level do my operators need? How much money and time will I need to spend to keep my operators up to date?

The answers to these questions lie in the software of the machinery. A simple program that is user friendly, able to be controlled from a number of different platforms, and is designed for the most basic operator to be able to use are all key factors to consider. It is important your provider regularly updates their software to ensure your machine has access to new, innovative features that will ensure your investment keeps you at the leading edge for many years to come.

If you are looking at buying a linear saw, you need to ask the questions and more importantly, compare the answers – is it really an investment if you make the wrong choice? You want to ensure your definition of investment reads – a thing worth buying because it IS profitable AND useful NOW and into the FUTURE!

At Vekta we are confident with what we do – Why not make Vekta your first point of comparison?

Ed Serrano

Author: Ed Serrano

Managing Director, Vekta Automation

You're reading an article from the December 2019 issue.

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