sawing technology

The Marathon M42 bi-metal bandsaw blade is an all-purpose blade used for cutting medium and large cross-sections.

Silver linings
An unresponsive vendor forced one fabricator to find a new saw blade supplier

saw blade is useless if it never arrives. After its saw blade vendor left one too many calls unanswered, K&B Industries decided to look for a new one. “We needed to get the blades on time and have someone return our calls,” recalls Randy Duarte, process and finish supervisor at the Houston-based provider of OCTG tubular threading, machining, manufacturing and assembly services.

After researching different blade manufacturers, Duarte says WIKUS blades proved to be reliable and consistent. K&B uses WIKUS 22 ft. by 11 in. by 0.063 in. by 3-4 TPI Marathon M42 blades. “A WIKUS technician came to the shop to check out our pressures and feed speeds. When we started using their saw blades, we immediately noticed a better, faster cut,” Duarte says. “We dropped our cutting time in half compared to what we were doing before.

“These blades cut different alloys without us having to change them out with each job,” he continues. “The blades can cut any kind of material as long as we have the right feed and speed rates programmed.”

K&B regularly cuts carbon steel and one-off projects that call for chrome or up to 935 Inconel. “While we usually cut carbon, when we do need to cut harder alloys, we can do it easily,” Duarte says. “It takes longer to cut the harder alloys but the WIKUS has cut that time down dramatically compared to the rate we were able to cut before.”

Volume varies, as K&B will cut small batch orders for customers. “One saw is capable of cutting 20 in. OD and two smaller saws can cut up to 12 in. OD,” Duarte says. “So we can load up anything whether on the large saw or for the smaller saws.”

Recently cut 6 in. round tubing of Q-125 material.

Case by case
Depending on a customer’s saw make and model, WIKUS technicians determine the proper blade. “We also take into consideration the material they are cutting, what size of material is being cut, whether it is a single or bundle cut, and whether it is a constant or interrupted cut,” says Jacob Lilley, regional sales manager, WIKUS Saw Technology Corp., Addison, Illinois. “We use that information to recommend not only what blade is best for their unique application, but we also recommend what speeds and feeds to use on the saw in order to get the optimum performance out of the blade.”

WIKUS offers customers “Paramaster,” a smartphone application available for customer download. “The app includes a large database that produces speeds and feeds based on the saw model, the type and size of material being cut, and how it is stacked,” Lilley says. “Many factors are taken into consideration for how those speeds and feeds are determined, including the saw’s maximum capabilities and the recommended removal rates for any given material being cut.

We dropped our cutting time in half compared to what we were doing before.
Randy Duarte, K&B Industries
“The app also suggests multiple WIKUS blades that could accomplish the cut as well as provides data on how to run those blades on any given saw,” he continues. Should a customer’s cutting situation not be available in the existing library, technicians work with customers to provide a custom solution.

WIKUS saw blade tooth size and configuration are determined by each individual application. “The geometry of the tooth and its rake angle are determined by what material is being cut,” Lilley says. “This is what makes sawing such a technically demanding industry—having the knowledge of what blade configuration is best suited for the customer’s unique application.”

As K&B knows firsthand, logistics play a major role in overall success. WIKUS’ order-to-delivery turnaround time is 48 hours or less. “We put internal processes in place to guarantee that we have enough coil stock on hand to service all customer demand requirements,” Lilley says.

WIKUS has two corporate welding facilities as well as dozens of channel partners across the U.S. that carry its coil stock and weld blades on-site. “In some circumstances, we can have a blade welded at a local distributor and delivered to an end user within hours,” Lilley says. “Having partners like AJ Rod, which services their local markets, ensures that the end user has a reliable source for WIKUS products.” AJ Rod, Houston, Texas, is a distribution partner that sells WIKUS blades to K&B.
Machinery in welding facilities
Now that K&B can cut faster, the manufacturer has welcomed new jobs that otherwise might not have been feasible with its old blades. “When we need to figure out how to get the speeds, feeds and input right for a job we haven’t run before, we input the info into Paramaster and it calculates the best feed and speed to cut effectively. It’s quick and helps us turn around jobs,” Duarte says.
K&B Industries,
Schriever, Louisiana, 985/868-6730,
WIKUS Saw Technology Corp.,
Addison, Illinois, 800/369-0447,