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Optimize Metal Fabrication with Band Saw Automation

The use of automation in Newport Industrial Fabrication’s shop has helped them complete a large project involving precise layouts and nearly 50,000 different cuts. Automating their existing band saw to optimize metal fabrication was the most economical and practical way to ensure accuracy and flexibility while processing long parts.

Newport Industrial Fabrication Makes the Cut

Newport Industrial Fabrication workshop with large steel panels.

Newport Industrial Fabrication Inc. fabricates steel, manufactures components, and applies coatings to metal from a 35,000-square foot facility in Newport, Maine. They recently won a job that involved assembling 3,700 fabricated steel panels.

“Each panel required a high mix of 10 to 25 square or mitered cuts, which is around 50,000 total cuts. To efficiently process this variety of saw work, we recognized the need for a computer-driven layout device,” Newport Vice President Ryan Gerry says. He concluded that advanced software would be needed to make such a large number of accurate parts. Gerry and his colleagues researched various operating systems, but eventually decided to work with Vancouver, Washington–based TigerStop.

TigerStop was founded in a garage in 1994 by Spencer and Mary Dick and is now the global provider of stop-gauge and material-positioning systems with a second factory in The Netherlands serving the European market. These automated systems attach to a user’s cutting device to help precisely and rapidly position and cut ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics, wood, composites, and other materials without the use of a tape measure or a manual fence. TigerStop also produces turnkey fully automated saw systems.

“Ultimately, we chose TigerStop for its adaptability, CAM integration (barcode scanning) and small footprint,” Gerry says.

Automating with TigerStop

Newport Industrial Fabrication purchased a 10-feet-long TigerStop “to aid in their metal fabrication process needs,” says Elizabeth Dick of TigerStop. The unit, attached to Newport’s metal fabrication band saw, “greatly helps increase cutting station accuracy and repeatability for longer parts. We specialize in add-on automation. This means our customers can attach our equipment onto their new or existing band saws or other metalworking machinery including drills, ironworkers, and cold saws. This gives customers ample flexibility in terms of time, cost, and space. Rather than buy new equipment they can simply retrofit it with a TigerStop. Add-on automation is great for entry-level users with minimal space and huge operations alike.” The tool allows companies to save money on materials, labor, and rework.

Steel support with many panels in Newport Industrial Fabrication workshop.

“Most metal fabricators find that using a TigerStop on their saws, drills, presses or ironworkers greatly reduces part accuracy errors, which means no more wasted raw materials ending up in the scrap pile and no more time spent reworking inaccurate parts,” she says. “Tight tolerances are vital to fabricators and TigerStop equipment results in accurate parts cut quickly over and over again.

Optimizing for Great Results

With our optimization software, Dynamic Optimization, customers are able to maximize their material yield on the fly,” she continues. Gerry confirms the software has helped the company to eradicate unnecessary downtime and has strengthened Newport’s manufacturing production, performance, and yields.

“By using a barcode scanner, we are able to efficiently communicate cut length between our custom work-packaging software and the saw operation,” he says. “This eliminates human error, tape measure work, and rounding dimension error. As a result of the construction method, rounding error can severely affect our fabrication process.

The TigerStop consistently cuts parts to their intended lengths, instead of their rounded lengths.” Since the initial installation, followed by the need for technical support, Newport’s staff has roundly praised TigerStop and its
vast array of features and capabilities. “We are a specialty job shop that focuses on architecturally exotic steel structures and we pride ourselves in ‘hotrodding’ equipment to perform special or custom tasks,” says Gerry. “TigerStop is a versatile tool that has been easily integrated into our process. We are very happy with our investment.”

Steel panel and pipe at Newport Industrial Fabrication workshop.

Reaching for the Sky

One incredibly ambitious project Newport Industrial Fabrication is in the midst of, is helping construct a 950-foot-tall residential skyscraper at 220 Central Park South in Midtown Manhattan. It’s going to be one of the tallest residential buildings in the US. This uber-luxurious building will have the most expensive residential condos in New York City. The 66-story superstructure will contain 116 apartments, including a penthouse that just sold for approximately $250 million. The building is also going to be a celebrity magnet, and stars like Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler, and hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin have reportedly purchased units.

TigerStop is contributing to the creation of New York City’s newest skyscraper, according to Gerry.”I was personally involved in our TigerStop purchase and now I’m watching as the tool plays a role in the development of our 220 Central Park South project.”

While TigerStop LLC and Newport Industrial Fabrication are located roughly 3,315 miles apart from one another, they are together helping to define the beauty and durability of a landmark building project that will forever change the Manhattan skyline.

By: Colin Linneweber, FFJournal Assistant Editor


To learn more about TigerStop equipment for forming and fabrication work, and how to automate your band saw for metal fabrication and more, contact us today.