23 09 25 Kasto Pi Kast Osort Tower 02 6513050896f31

Maximizing efficiency and space in metalworking with automated sawing and storage

Sept. 26, 2023
Kasto rethinks material flow

Factory-floor real estate is always at a premium. Manufacturers are always looking to expand operations and distribution facilities. According to CBRE Research’s 2022 U.S. Industrial & Logistics Occupier Survey, which included more than 100 industrial participants, 64% expected to expand their total warehouse footprint in the United States over the next three years.

Almost a quarter of the respondents were in manufacturing, building materials and construction. Couple this with a lingering lack of skilled workers, and the situation worsens. For metalworking companies, the ability to combine and automate sawing and storage processes would be keenly valuable.

Get your subscription to Control Design's print magazine, free to qualified individuals in North America.

According to the CBRE survey, most companies are improving wages and the work experience for employees, but even more important is the revelation that automation continues to gain traction to counteract the worker shortage.

A space-saving, fully automated sawing and storage system from KASTO is designed to enable manufacturers to automate in the tightest of spaces. "This concept is a world first for unstaffed processing," says Sönke Krebber, KASTO board member and husband of the great great great granddaughter of Karl Stolzer, who founded the sawing and storage company in Achern almost 180 years ago. "Up until now, the saw storage system has just fed the bar stock for processing. Now, the saw can feed the storage system.” The sawed parts are stocked on the other side of the process.

The KASTOsort tower is designed for metalworking companies that already use a high-performance saw with or without robots (Figure 1). For an efficient process, the parts must be sorted by order after sawing and handling and placed in appropriate boxes (Figure 2). One of the solutions has been a container carousel with eight pallet spaces on which the robot can independently place and fill the respective boxes. This is a simple and cost-effective way to buffer manageable quantities of material. "The recirculating sorter has its strengths, but it was clear to us that we wanted to offer customers an alternative for confined spaces," says Krebber.

Smart combination

With the integrated KASTOsort tower, there is now more storage space available in a smaller area. The space requirement is only a little more than 11 sq m for a KASTOecostore storage system in medium format. To realize the idea, the developers combined KASTO technologies into a concept, which consists of a chain magazine at the infeed side, a KASTOvariospeed circular saw, a KASTOsort robot and a KASTOecostore storage system. However, other KASTO saws can be connected. The tower storage system utilizes vertical space with high storage density, and it has flexibility in material intake and short access times (Figure 3).
The KASTOsort tower saw works regardless of whether the operator has time to fetch the filled boxes and send the empty ones. The machine can saw much more material without a pallet having to be fetched in the meantime. The lifting beam is also highly flexible. For example, it brings a pallet support with three Euro pallets, which are sorted by the robots. Only then is the tower storage system moved again to store or retrieve a load carrier. The pallets are removed from storage via the drive-through station at the back of the storage system. This plays a key role in the whole concept: from there, the collection vehicle, usually a forklift, picks up the pallets as needed.

Quick processes

The KASTOsort tower does not just save space, but it is also smart: the ProControl control system is designed to ensure fast, error-free work processes and smooth interaction of the components. The KASTOlogic mobile app can be used to manage storage. The user can record the goods seamlessly and see where the material is at any time.

Of course, KASTO also adapts the new concept to the customers' specific needs. “We are currently working on the integration of the KASTOtec automatic bandsaw machines and transport with an automated guided vehicle (AGV),” explains Krebber. “Our aim is for as many metalworkers as possible to benefit from the new, fully automatic all-around solution and use the space they have available in the best and most productive way possible."

About the Author

Mike Bacidore | Editor in Chief

Mike Bacidore is chief editor of Control Design and has been an integral part of the Endeavor Business Media editorial team since 2007. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning multiple regional and national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at [email protected] 

Sponsored Recommendations

Case Study: Conveyor Solution for Unique Application

Find out how the Motion Automation Intelligence Conveyor Engineering team provided a new and reliable conveyance solution that helped a manufacturer turn downtime into uptime....

2024 State of Technology Report: PLCs & PACs

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) have been a popular method of machine control since the PLC was invented in the late 1960s as a replacement for relay logic. The similarly...

Power Distribution Resource Guide

When it comes to selecting the right power supply, there are many key factors and best practices to consider.

Safe Speed and Positioning with Autonomous Mobile Robots

Here are some tips for ensuring safe speed and positioning for AMRs using integrated safety technology – many of these tips also apply to automated guided vehicles (AGVs).