Volume 15 | Issue 3 | Year 2012

Today, the company he established leads the world when it comes to metal band saw and circular cold saw technology, reports Dan Harvey.

In 2013 Hyd-Mech will observe its 35th anniversary – a celebration of a company that, in three decades, became a global leader in metal band saw and cold saw technology and metal sawing solutions.

The occasion will also celebrate the company’s creative character. Through its history, a progressive attitude combined with an innovative design and manufacturing approach that resulted in the most advanced solutions for customers wrestling with the most complex sawing challenges.

Necessity typically mothers invention, but so can frustration. The story begins in 1978 in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada (current company headquarters), where Polish immigrant and engineer Stan Jasinski founded Hyd-Mech. At first, the company served as an engineering consulting firm that specialized in hydraulic and forestry equipment. “Then he focused more strongly on the saw industry, a shift that basically resulted from his frustration. No existing saw machine suited his needs,” relates Rick Arcaro, Hyd-Mech’s national sales manager. “He finally said, ‘I’ll just design and build my own.’”

A visionary engineer, Jasinski developed his own mitering sawing equipment in 1980, which substantially changed his company’s direction. His better mitering saw captured the imagination of colleagues and machine dealers, who realized how this technologic development could advance their own cause.

From there, innovation proved a defining component. In subsequent years, Hyd-Mech pioneered innovations such as swing-head versatility on its scissors-style saws. Now, the enterprise consistently delivers the widest range of saws to a broad client list – serving international clients involved in aerospace, automotive, steel services, and metal fabrication activities, among others. Hyd-Mech is part of the MEP Group, a coalition of manufacturers and distributors of industrial band and cold saws. Headquartered in Italy, the MEP Group – along with its members – offers the largest variety of metal cutting solutions for customers in Italy, North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim.

“Our products relate to manufacturing and fabrication,” describes Arcaro. “We serve whoever needs to cut and fabricate steel. Place it in the mill, and our machines will cut it to size. That’s the easiest way to define what we do.”

Hyd-Mech’s 150-strong employee roster includes the industry’s most talented engineers. They’ve pioneered products that have revolutionized the sectors in which Hyd-Mech operates. Its broad range of products include portable and single miter saws, double miter band saws, horizontal band saws, and cold saws, and more.

The engineers continue Jasinski’s legacy of originality and creativity. For instance, the company set a benchmark with its scissor-style band saws. The S-series saws were the first to incorporate swing-head capability – an innovation that had industry-shaking (and shaping) impact. The versatile, miter-cutting scissors style machines were designed for multiple medium duty applications at oil refineries and in machine, fabrication and automotive shops.

Models in this category come available in manual, semiautomatic, and fully-automatic iterations, with mitering capability of up to 60 degrees. The semi-automatic and automatic S-20 models possess environmentally-friendly “On Demand” hydraulics. The S-20A model features a very accurate and quick material indexing ball screw. The category also includes the S-23 models, which Hyd-Mech takes great pride in. “These small fabricating machines increase capacity, provide quicker cycle times, and boast better technology,” reveals Arcaro.

The new S-23A band represents a complete redesign. It features a larger capacity (16-inch height by 20-inch width) and an enhanced ability to miter from 90 to 30 degrees in both manual and automatic modes. The automatic, programmable control provides storage for 1,000 jobs and the ability to run 100 jobs in a production queue.

When executing jobs from queue, operators can choose from four different machine behaviors in automatic cycle. Continuous cycle progresses from job to job without stoppage. Sequence cycle pauses between queued-up jobs, allowing operators to change a discharge bin, thus preventing parts from being mixed. According to the company, sequence cycle pauses after the first cut between jobs in queue, enabling a first-off inspection before proceeding. The loop cycle executes a single cut from multiple jobs. This proves helpful when a customer needs to cut a complete set of parts for an order. Further, the S-23A automatically returns to manual mode when stock runs out.

The standard PLC can be set to run in different languages, and it digitally displays blade tension, speed and feed rate, as well as head height, time of cut, total time the machine runs, and actual blade motor current consumption. That last element is important in determining how hard the machine is working, the company points out.

The S-23P semi-automatic scissor style band saw represents another redesign. As Hyd-Mech describes, it provides exceptional miter cutting capability for light- to medium-duty applications. This revamped technology features a manual to semi-automatic mode control with an LED readout for blade speed and tension, parts counting, head height adjustment, laser light, amperage draw of blade motor, cut duration, head position, and overall machine run time. Like its S-23A cousin, it operates in different languages.

The S-23P miters from 90 to 60 degrees and, like the S-23A model, features 16-inch height by 20-inch width capacity. An attractive option is the direct down feed that provides easy adjustment of both head feed rate and cutting pressure. All things considered, with the S-23P, customers realize the highest productivity levels.

Other products that Arcaro highlights are the Futuro band saws. These saws feature fully automatic operation with storage of up to 300 jobs and material indexing of up to 23.5 inches in a single stroke (driven by a steppor motor and ball screw assembly). A heavy-duty, cast iron head reduces vibrations and increases stability blade life. The cutting library features materials list with pre-set parameters (e.g., blade speed, feed rate, blade tensioning, amperage draw, and chip load).

Also, Hyd-Mech builds vertical band saws. These heavy-duty, high-performance vertical tilt-head saws demonstrate superior flexibility for cutting two-way miters. The V Series is available in semi-automatic and automatic modes of operation with cutting capacities of up to 30 inches and barfeeds ranging from 40 to 120 inches. Most of these saws will miter up to 60 degrees, left or right.

About this portion of the product line, Arcaro provides an intriguing “stay tuned” pronouncement: “At the next FABTECH show, we will have a new introduction.”

FABTECH is North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing conference, and it places participating companies in a bright spotlight. “We’ll be introducing new vertical technology called the V-20,” says Arcaro.

Arcaro indicates why potential buyers should be interested: “It will be the first of its kind, as far as machine construction and operational controls. It will provide vertical capacity that competitors can’t offer. It will be bigger, stronger and faster than similar technology.”

That leads to an important point. Hyd-Mech’s technology appears to be quite complex. However, and ironically, the key to the company’s success is its equipments’ ease of operation. “In our industry, Hyd-Mech’s are the easiest machines to master,” comments Arcaro.

That provides a substantial benefit. “In today’s industrial sector, in many factories, manufacturers’ are faced with accomplishing more but with less people,” says Arcaro. “That’s a significant challenge that we’re addressing by advancing automation, with things such as bar loading machines, simplified controllers and saws, as well as the material handling systems that we now also offer. In the past, many companies couldn’t get by without highly trained and skilled employees to run the machines. We’ve simplified things.”

This international enterprise manufactures its wide array of products primarily in two centrally located facilities: In Woodstock, Ontario (a 200,000-square-foot plant) and Conway, Ark. (a 76,000-square-foot plant). Both locations operate within an integrated network of sawing application specialists and dealers servicing North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim.

“We also have manufacturing operations in Suzhou, China and in Pergola, Italy,” says Arcaro.

Arcaro succinctly states what makes these facilities so industrious and, in turn, profitable. “We produce high-end technology by deploying high-end technology.”

That’s in line with the company’s quality commitment – its “Quality Pledge.”

Says Arcaro: “We get quality built product out of the door in timely fashion. We ensure that our customers receive the best cost-per-cut solution through advanced engineering technologies.”

This commitment resulted in robust 2011 revenues. Last year, the company enjoyed a “personal best” boom. Sales surged 65 percent over the first quarter in 2010. Swelling numbers came from increased business in the Canadian, US and Mexican markets, as metal cutting and fabrication customers sought greater efficiency to boost their own bottom line.

Hyd-Mech is a rock solid partner for a company to lean against. Indeed, “Rock Solid Solution” is Hyd-Mech’s tag line – and philosophy.

The company is the rock upon which Jasinski built his industrial “church.”

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