A cut above the rest

Sellers Containers, part of the Egbert Taylor Group, uses Starrett’s unique band saw machine for extreme mitre cutting.


When things don’t go to plan, it is a poor workman who blames his tools. However, what if the tools on hand actually aren’t up to the job? If a company is relying on machines that don’t have the scope to deliver accurate representations of a design, businesses can be restricted when it comes to capitalising on industry demand. That was exactly the case for skip and waste container manufacturer Sellers Containers before it met band saw specialist Starrett at the MACH 2016 exhibition.

Sellers was established in 1975 and has gone on to become one of the leading skip and waste container manufacturers within the UK’s waste management industry and part of the Egbert Taylor Group. With an in-house design team, the company has a range of customisable products that go beyond the ordinary. While this is great for the company’s clients, it is not without its challenges.

A prime example of this is the design requirements for one of the manufacturer’s Rear End Load (REL) skips which calls for its lugs to be mitre cut at a 74 degree angle. Most conventional band saw machines cut up to just 45 degrees, with a handful of machines being able to offer 60 degrees.

“We attended the MACH 2016 exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham with the goal of finding a band saw that was capable of cutting beyond 60 degrees,” explained Phil Hadfield, manufacturing manager of Sellers. “We had been reliant on plasma cutting to manufacture this particular model of REL skip, a technique that is simply not accurate enough or fast enough to keep up with product demand compared to using a band saw.”

A cut above the rest

Band saw and hand tool specialist Starrett had two stands at MACH 2016, one of which was entirely dedicated to its band saw range. It was here that Sellers first encountered Starrett’s S4240 semi-automatic band saw machine.

The biggest band saw the company stocks, the S4240 has been designed with a cutting arm that can rotate to mitre cut up to 75 degrees and -45 degrees respectively.

“There is clearly demand across several sectors for a band saw that can cut beyond 60 degrees,” said John Cove, marketing manager for Starrett. “Whether you are cutting steel beams for construction, fitting pipe work or even manufacturing skips, why should your designs be limited for no reason other than the fact your tools can’t keep up? That’s why we designed the S4240, to offer design engineers the freedom to be as creative as they like, with the knowledge that their specifications can be fulfilled.”

However, its ability to rotate is not the only exceptional benefit of the S4240 band saw. The machine uses Starrett’s Versatix MP blades, a bi-metal design with cobalt steel teeth and an alloy steel backing strip. The patented tooth design has been specially developed for providing faster and straighter cuts to structural metals. The design of the tooth dissipates stress during interrupted cutting, reducing the risk of tooth breakage and prolonging the life of the blade. By using the Versatix blade, the S4240 band saw is an ideal tool for regular intensive use

With a high cutting capacity of 300 x 300m, the S4240 machine enables a smooth and controlled cutting speed, aided by a hydraulic pump and three-phase motor. The Versatix blade speed is also mechanically controlled by a variable speed drive (VSD), improving the overall precision of the machine. These blades are also well suited for manual pull-down band saw machines where uncontrolled feed rates can easily overload the teeth on a standard blade.

Demonstrably better

After discovering the versatile band saw at the MACH show, Sellers shared its design specifications with Starrett’s engineers. To demonstrate the machine’s capabilities, Starrett filmed the band saw cutting a steel lug to Sellers requirements.

“The Starrett team were very supportive during the whole process,” said Hadfield. “Purchasing such a large machine is a big investment, so we needed to be sure that we could accomplish the desired cut. Starrett shared videos of the saw in action and sent samples to show that we were getting everything we required with the S4240.

“It was clear immediately that this was exactly what we needed to get the job done. Once we’d made the decision to purchase the band saw we didn’t have to wait long before it was delivered to our facility in Oldham .

Success is easy

The semi-automatic band saw is easy to install in any workspace, so Sellers was able to get to work as soon as the machine was delivered. To support the skip manufacturer, a Starrett engineer travelled from the company’s base in Jedburgh, Scotland, to spend the day training the Sellers team on all the different ways the S4240 can be used.

“The Starrett band saw is a very versatile machine,” Hadfield said. “The training our operatives received has benefitted us greatly. We were able to get to work immediately and get the most out of the saw without delay.

“Thanks to the training and the fact that the saw can perform a range cuts we need for our REL skips and others accurately and quickly, we’ve seen a drastic increase in output. This is allowing us to capitalise on demand from the waste management industry by reducing our lead times.”

Sellers had seen a rise in the number of skip hire companies requesting the REL skips that required lugs to be mitre cut at a 72 degree angle. Relying on plasma cutting was hampering the manufacturer’s ability to take advantage of this, but now they are working with Starrett’s band saw, production is quick and easy.

It just goes to show that you can be the best worker in the world with the most creative designs, but if you don’t have the right tools you’re always going to struggle to produce a quality end product. So remember, the next time a project doesn't quite go to plan, it might not be you, it might be your tools.