Friday 28 February 2014
Smaller workshops have traditionally had to 'make do' with less-than-ideal approaches to sheet cutting. Black Prince Holidays Ltd, based in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, found the ideal solution to this problem - without breaking the bank - in Sagetech's Zapkut ZM12 moving-column vertical panelsaw.
Proud of the fact that their 100-strong fleet of narrowboats is probably the youngest in the country - boats are retired after around four years on the water - Black Prince has developed a finely-tuned operation at their Bromsgrove boatyard.
Once painted, the steel hulls are fitted out with pre-cut interior panels, prepared off site to the company's own designs. Bed tops and interior side wall panels, however, are cut from OSB sheets at the boatyard. For many years a hand-held circular saw and a pair of trestles were the order of the day for this work. While apparently cheap and simple, this approach had a number of significant drawbacks.
Installed neatly against a wall in the company's Bromsgrove workshop after Dave's visit to W10, Black Prince's Zapkut ZM12 is easily accessible yet out of the way, and, of course, under cover, immediately removing the old problem of fair-weather-only sheet cutting.
Cutting those all-important OSB panels is quicker, cleaner and more precise with the ZM12. There's no longer any need to set up trestles and wrestle heavy sheets onto them, nor for customers to put up with noise and dust in the yard. "It's really quick and easy," commented Martin Fry, Engineer â€“ principal operator of the ZM12.
The ZM12 cuts sheets of up to 2.5m x 1.25m. The range also includes two larger models, handling sheets of up to 3.1m x 1.6m (the ZM16) and 3.1m x 2.1m (the ZM21). The moving-column design makes for a very compact working footprint, while a range of features, including quick switching between cross and rip cutting, a straightforward, easy-to-use dimensioning system, and plunge and bevel cutting (up to 45°) make life easy for the operator.
All ZM units are built on a rigid and robust steel frame, guaranteeing years of reliable, accurate service. Prices start at just Â£2,495, bringing the benefits of a moving-column vertical panel saw within the reach of even the smallest workshops.
The vertical orientation of the ZM range not only saves space in the workshop - it also makes cutting even large sheets a genuine one-person operation. Manhandling a heavy sheet onto a horizontal platform â€“ be it trestles, a workbench or a table saw â€“ is difficult and often requires more than one person, as can the subsequent cutting. With a ZM vertical panel saw, the sheet can be lifted from vertical storage, carried vertically, placed on the ZM's vertical frame and cut all by a single operator. To find out more about Sagetech's Zapkut ZM range, see below.
Tel: 0118 970 1950
(PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SAGETECH)
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