Cut to fit: component saws are getting a productivity boost from computer automation

Cut to fit: component saws are getting a productivity boost from computer automation – Product Info

Stephani L. Miller

In the manufacturing business, component saws are a production staple that, like much of the industry, is getting a boost from modern technology. And while the machinery itself hasn’t changed all that much from the very first models manufactured in the early/mid-1960s, some notable improvements have been made–automation being the biggest. Most new models of component saws are no longer hand-cranked and blades are no longer hand-positioned, and a computer does all the necessary calculations for cutting.

As a result, component saws have evolved into more efficient, easier-to-operate cutting machines. Computer operation also provides the ability to monitor output, allowing owners to calculate the productivity of their operations if they choose. “Today everything is fully automatic, powered through software, PCs, and drive motors, which drive the equipment,” says Jerrold Taylor of Monet Desauw, a manufacturer of component saws.

Jerry Koskovich, owner of component saw manufacturer The Koskovich Co., explains, “Each machine has a PC in it … that accepts downloading from a design office and sends out instructions to controllers on the machines, which then position the saw blades to make the cuts and report back to the PC, which then instructs the operator to start the saw motor and start feeding lumber.”

“The computer eliminates human error and improves time,” says Taylor. Automated saws also are easier for operators to learn, according to Jerry Halteman of Wood Truss Systems, an independent representative of component saw manufacturers.

Component saw manufacturers in the United States include MiTek Industries, which makes the Cyber-Saw and several other models (circle 101); Alpine Engineered Products, which offers the new AutoMill RS model (circle 102); Monet Desauw makes the DeSawyer 2000 (circle 103); Koskovich, which makes the new Miser (circle 104); and TrusWal, which manufactures the iSaw (circle 105).

As component manufacturing grows, one direction the industry will likely move toward, according to Halteman and Koskovich, is manufacturing in small “job packs.” Koskovich’s vision is one in which a customer could approach a kiosk in the lumberyard and enter specs for a particular type of structure into a computer design system, which would then produce a list of building materials. “We have not yet been successful with [implementing] this,” says Koskovich, “but we anticipate it ultimately happening with lumber suppliers.”

In addition, he says, the materials list and the accompanying design information could be downloaded to a program that would automatically send cutting and marking information to a component saw in the lumberyard, which would cut and mark the components into a job pack–essentially a building kit–for the customer.

“We’re not too far away from people being able to input these jobs at the lumberyard themselves,” says Halteman. “Contractors and available technology have not quite met yet, but it would be a huge boon for lumberyards. If you had that kind of package to deliver, that would keep you wildly competitive”

COPYRIGHT 2003 Hanley-Wood, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group