During the Coronavirus pandemic, Canadian tool manufacturers Aiguisatek have benefited from the expertise of Swabian sharpening specialists VOLLMER: Thanks to the VOLLMER CHD 270 grinding machine featuring ND 250 automation, Aiguisatek was able to maintain round-the-clock production of its carbide-tipped circular saws without a the normal workforce. Ever since the Canadian company was established in 1986, it has placed its trust in the sharpening technologies of the Biberach-based machinery manufacturer.
“At the height of the coronavirus restrictions, our trade had fallen to 30 percent,” explains Lisa Goulet, owner and President of Canadian tool manufacturers Aiguisatek. “With our staff having to stay at home, we faced the challenge of producing this reduced volume with just the two of us – and thanks to the automated production with VOLLMER sharpening technologies, we succeeded.”
With unmanned production, the batch size tripled
Aside from Lisa Goulet, only the other owner and Vice-President Jonathan Riberdy were allowed to step foot in Aiguisatek’s 14,000 m2 production hall. The 13 other employees who work for the company, based in Delson in the Canadian province of Québec, had to stay home owing to local coronavirus restrictions. Using a VOLLMER CHD 270 sharpening machine incorporating ND 250 automation, they successfully serviced and machined carbide-tipped circular saw blades around the clock without a workforce. The loading carriages of the ND 250 robotic system can accommodate up to 450 saw blades with a maximum load of 1.5 tonnes. The pairing of CHD 270 and ND 250, which Aiguisatek acquired in 2019, is now producing the same daily output as two employees working in parallel on seven manual machines for ten hours. This meant the tool manufacturer was able to increase its volume of machined circular saws almost threefold – from 350 to 1000 circular saw blades per week.
Higher quality and twice the resharpening rate
Furthermore, by using the CHD 270, Aiguisatek also enhanced the quality of its circular saw blades. This is largely down to the automatic scanning of the saw blades, which guarantees a consistent sharpening result in recurring processes. The creation of test reports enables customers to replicate the life cycle of the carbide-tipped circular saw blades from manufacture all the way through to the final resharpening. Since the VOLLMER machine is capable of sharpening every cutting edge with minimal grinding debris, Aiguisatek was able to resharpen its circular saw blades up to 25 times – on average, this equates to double the rate of competitors.
A 35-year relationship of trust
Since the company was first founded in 1986 by Mario Dion and Conrad Goulet, father of Lisa Goulet and grandfather of Jonathan Riberdy, Aiguisatek has had complete faith in the sharpening expertise of VOLLMER. The first sharpening machine they ever bought, the Akemat, is still in daily use even now. And in 2013, a new VOLLMER CP 200 grinding machine from Biberach arrived in the small Canadian town of Delson.
“That was when demand for scoring saw blades jumped dramatically and machining each blade manually took up to 15 minutes with the Akemat,” recalls Jonathan Riberdy. “Buying the CP 200 meant we could not only slash the grinding time to less than four minutes, but we could also improve the quality by resharpening and we could even manufacture circular saw blades with more complex geometries.”
Aiguisatek is growing by around 25 percent annually
Aiguisatek’s customers use their circular saws on a variety of materials, such as wood, metal and composites. Around 90 percent of their regular customers are in the wood processing industry – including furniture and window manufacturers as well as construction companies. In addition to carbide-tipped circular saws, the tool manufacturer has also been producing diamond-tipped cutting tools since 2015. These now represent a third of turnover. With its portfolio expanded, Aiguisatek was able to attract customers from further afield in Quebec and Ontario, and has been recording annual growth of approximately 25 percent ever since.
“Not only does tool manufacturer Aiguisatek reinforce the importance of the Canadian and North American market for Vollmer, it is also testament to the benefits of automation within sharpening machines – even before the coronavirus pandemic came along,” says Jürgen Hauger, CEO of the VOLLMER Group. “That’s why we continue to drive ahead with automation and digitalisation of our sharpening machines for more efficient tool manufacture and in doing so, we are strengthening our market position as a long-term leader in technology.”