Aluminium Tubes, Sheets, Ingots Needs Specialised Cutting Tools

Cutting aluminium requires a range of machinery depending on the end-use application that vary from aircraft to window blinds with techniques that rely on higher speeds and lower cutting forces compared to metals like steel to ensure optimum cutting geometry. By Stephanie Riegel-Stolzer, member of the Kasto management board.

Aluminium is used for a wide range of purposes in construction, including facades, blinds and window elements. But it has applications in many other areas of manufacturing as well: ships, aircraft, motor vehicles, machines and household goods.

When it comes to machining of aluminium, numerous companies rely on the sawing technology of Kasto Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG. The company, which is a leader in sawing and storage of bar stock and sheet metal, offers a comprehensive range of machinery specially designed for aluminium and other light metals.

The Kasto portfolio includes a wide selection of machines in all sizes, from semi-automatic floor-standing circular saws for workshops to gantry-type band sawing machines for aluminium mills. Kasto, based in Achern, Black Forest, Germany, offers dependable and efficient solutions for sawing tubes, profiles and solid materials as well as sheets, plates, ingots and castings. The range includes versatile multipurpose saws for various materials, plus saws that are optimised for machining aluminium.

Special Characteristics

Owing to aluminium’s special characteristics, the rules for sawing it differ from those for other materials such as steel. Cutting speeds must be higher and cutting forces lower. To ensure clean, exact cuts, it is especially important to have an optimum cutting geometry along with good lubrication and cooling.

Chips can readily cause problems owing to the high speeds and must be removed in an effective manner. Users who saw aluminium on a regular basis are therefore advised to purchase a machine that is specially designed for this purpose.

The Kastoalu range comprises a number of floor-standing circular saws for use in workshops. They are especially suitable for aluminium, other light metals and plastics.

High-Performance Carbide

Their high-performance carbide saw blades have trapezoidal flat teeth with a positive cutting angle, ensuring perfect results even at low cutting pressures. Users have a choice of saw blades with different numbers of teeth depending on the panel and plate thickness. This allows the creation of reproducibly precise, burr-free cut parts. Less work is required for reworking, and the parts can be further processed or installed right away.

The Kastoalu range includes the semi-automatic models E 12 / U 12, U 14 and U 20, which cover a cutting range from 100 to 200 mm (for tubes and profiles), as well as the fully automatic, numerically controlled Kastoalu A 13 with a cutting range of 100 mm (likewise for tubes and profiles). The semi-automatic saws are capable of straight and mitre cuts, with an increment-free mitre angle between ±45° and ±90° depending on the machine.

The Kastoalu A 13, in contrast, is suitable only for straight cuts. All the models have a hydro pneumatic, infinitely adjustable saw feed plus pneumatic horizontal and vertical clamping elements. An efficient micro-spray lubrication system and an integrated air gun come as standard, and a connecting sleeve for installing a chip suction unit is standard as well. Various roller tracks and measuring systems are available as optional accessories.

Kasto developed its Kastospeed M line for low-cost, high-volume cutting of aluminium, copper and brass. This circular saw is available in two versions, with a cutting range of up to 90 mm or up to 152 mm (round stock). The robust machine construction with an obliquely meshing spur gear mechanism, combined with a hydraulically damped measuring stop and a bar pusher that can be moved rapidly into position, ensures precision cutting and very high output.

Saw Blades

Depending on the application, high-speed steel, carbide tipped or PCD saw blades are used. Material feeding and sorting can be adapted to the customer’s requirements by means of a well-designed modular system.

The band saws of the Kastotec M series provide a quick, economical solution for all common aluminium materials up to a diameter of 830 mm (round). A spindle-driven material advance slide exactly positions the material to be sawn.

Precision-balanced drive elements permit very high cutting speeds in combination with smooth running that is kind to the tools. Specially designed blade guides support the tool and form short chips that are easy to dispose of. The Kastotec M also has a self-explanatory control system with a clearly structured interface that makes operation much easier and reduces set-up times.

The Kastovertical M is the ideal machine for efficient sawing of small aluminium ingots, plates, castings and test strips with a maximum height of 600 mm and a length of up to 1,250 mm. A moveable material support table ensures quick, safe handling of stock.

Cutting Speeds

Precision-balanced drive elements and specially designed blade guides permit cutting speeds of up to 100 m per minute and high cutting performance while ensuring a smooth sawing process with minimal tool wear and an optimal operational lifetime.

The band wheel housing is designed to optimise the path of flying chips to a suction device. The cutting speed and feed rate are continuously adjustable, and the Kasto BasicControl system with colour-touch screen makes operation easy.

For material with large dimensions, Kastomaxcut is the product of choice. This gantry-type band sawing machine is suitable for fully automatic sawing of aluminium plates with a thickness of six to 2,000 mm.

Depending on the version, the Kastomaxcut can handle ingots with cross-sections of up to 2,200 x 850 mm and lengths of up to 4,100 mm. Its heavy-duty design makes it suitable for medium-scale to very-large-scale production. The cutting speed is continuously variable from 300 to 3,000 m per minute. Nevertheless, the saw runs very quietly and without vibration. The Kastomaxcut can be operated with both bimetallic and carbide blades.

Aluminium Plates, Ingots

This heavy-duty machine is used in aluminium mills and other facilities. For example, Gleich Aluminiumwerke in Kaltenkirchen, Germany, uses the saw to manufacture aluminium plates from ingots measuring 2,000 x 4,000 x 800 mm. The company supplies customers in the mechanical engineering, tool-making, aerospace, automotive and construction industries.

The machine has significantly increased saw blade lives and reduced downtimes, at the same time offering a high cutting precision. Moreover, thanks to fully automatic operation the company was able to increase its production while maintaining consistently high quality. The Kastomaxcut is equipped with strong roller tracks and transverse conveyors plus a vacuum transfer unit to handle the ingots, which can weigh up to 15 tonnes.

APMEN Cutting Tools, Dec 2016

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