June 2016 Issue
Toc

There is more than one way to help a customer achieve a better return on investment. Lenox Tools, a company known as a bandsaw blade supplier, works as a solution provider to find that ROI.

Matthew Lacroix, director of brand marketing for the tools division of Newell Brands, the parent company of Lenox, says there are less expensive options in the marketplace for bandsaw blades, but his company focuses on increasing performance in the form of longer blade life, faster cutting speeds and better part finish – all of which can improve the customer’s ROI.

“Our team goes through the customer’s saw with a fine-toothed comb to recognize any problem they might be having.”
Matthew Lacroix, director of brand marketing for the tool division of Newell Brands, the parent company of Lenox Tools
Lenox’s growth-by-trial service includes optimizing machines and suggesting the right blade for the job just as much as it includes training bandsaw operators to use their machines correctly.

Machine shops, fabricators, metal manufacturers, forgers and steel service centers are the target audience for Lenox’s products and services. Lenox partners with an end user to better understand the goals for its sawing operation. A Lenox salesperson then goes on site to better understand a customer’s operation, including the machines, material they’re cutting and what challenges they face on a daily basis. The salesperson can then suggest the appropriate product and offer a Guaranteed Trial Order (GTO). The Lenox Sawing Solutions Group works with the customer to meet its production goals, or refunds their money.

“Every account has different metrics for its sawing department,” Lacroix says. “Our team’s job is to help them fulfill whatever goals they have. Some customers want to maximize blade life, while others may have a bottleneck in the department and want to cut as fast as they can. Whatever their metrics may be, it’s our job to deliver the product and service package needed to accomplish their goals.”

The 13-point check

Part of the Lenox experience includes a 13-point inspection, which involves a factory-trained engineer visiting the location, addressing technical problems and making adjustments to optimize the performance of the operation. The inspection includes an evaluation of the machine’s wheels, guides, hydraulics, drive system and sawing fluid.

Lenox’s bi-metal blades are able to bend and, therefore, can resist breaking, which extends the overall life of the blade.

It’s important to note that all of the 13 points can have a dramatic impact on the performance of the machine and blade. For example, if the bandsaw wheels have excessive wear on their surfaces or flanges, it can lead to blade breakage if the wear is not properly addressed. If the bandsaw guides or guide bearings wear down, it can lead to crooked cutting that can directly impact the quality of the parts being produced.

Customers are handed a detailed list of each of the 13 points that are checked. If Lenox can’t fix the problem, they advise the customer on what they should do to remediate the issues.
“Our team goes through the customer’s saw with a fine-toothed comb,” Lacroix explains, “to recognize any problem they might be having and put a corrective action in place.”

“Our team goes through the customer’s saw with a fine-toothed comb,” Lacroix explains, “to recognize any problem they might be having and put a corrective action in place.”

Lacroix also says the Lenox technicians have on average between 15 and 20 years of experience and can work on any industrial bandsaw on the market. “It’s a difficult role to fill,” he says, “but that’s what differentiates the Lenox team from the others.”

Meeting the goals

Watch a video on Lenox’s high-performance backing steel and optimized carbide-grade bandsaws.

The products Lenox offers are as varied as the customers they serve. Some organizations are looking to increase blade life, while others want a faster cut without any concern for blade life. “It’s important to understand that it’s different for every account,” Lacroix notes. “If bandsawing is the bottleneck in their operation, they may be willing to pay more for a faster cutting blade. They may be willing to sacrifice blade life in order to produce more parts for their downstream processes.”

Lacroix also says some customers prefer to use better blades to get everything they can out of the equipment they currently have rather than pay for and suffer the downtime involved in making a capital investment in new equipment.

It’s not all about optimizing machines and suggesting the right blade for the job for the Lenox team. In some cases, it’s about training the bandsaw operator to use and run the machine correctly. Lacroix says this is another area where the Lenox engineering team flourishes.

“They help the bandsaw operators in the plant,” he says. “Our team offers training to help them be safer and more effective at their job – helping them improve the company’s overall efficiency. Investing time with the operators can pay huge dividends in the long run.”

Lacroix explains that such services are just part of what being a Lenox customer is all about, and it comes standard with no extra cost.

“There are saw manufacturers who charge hundreds of dollars for that service,” he says. “They’ll charge you for that 13-point inspection and for visiting the location and doing the testing and repair work. We offer that service free as part of the package.”

Immediate returns

“I would say absolutely,” Lacroix says when asked if customers find an immediate ROI from a Lenox blade. From tuning up the machine to make it run at its peak level to using the right blade for each job, customers inevitably get more out of their use of the machine, which provides an immediately noticeable difference in production.

Lenox’s metalcutting circular saw blades resist material buildup on the teeth and also produce fewer burrs than abrasive blades, eliminating the need for secondary grinding.

“You can see that from blade one,” Lacroix notes. “That’s what the team’s job is – select the right blade, run it at the right parameters and measure performance so the customer can continue to get the performance they require after the technician leaves.”

Furthermore, aside from the field teams in place to address all on-site issues, technicians are available for support over the phone. The Consumer Care line consists of technicians who also have 15 to 20 years of experience in helping customers with their machine and blade issues.

Lacroix says Lenox customers all have issues that are addressed up front by the Lenox team. Whether its blade life, part finish or cutting speed – in many cases that is step one in the process of getting these customers to a point where they’re achieving a satisfactory ROI.

Some Lenox customers are cutting large pieces of materials or ingots. The quality of those cuts has to be precise and clean because the next step in the process shouldn’t involve fixing what the first cut created.

“If you’re getting a really bad surface finish or burrs on the edge,” Lacroix explains, “that has to be cleaned up in secondary processing. You take it through another operation and have to pay someone that has the equipment to work on that item.”

For some organizations, having that clean finish and burr-free material offers cost savings down the line. Lacroix says it sounds like common sense, but it’s “very important, and not a lot of organizations are focused on helping the end users in that way.”

Changing blades causes downtime, too, but it’s a necessity for the companies that work with different materials frequently. Lacroix says it’s normal for companies to have a range of jobs to complete. They may have an order for a small run of stainless steel, an order for tool steel and then an order for bearing steel – all in the same day.

“In a situation like that,” Lacroix explains, “they might be looking for a versatile product that they don’t have to change out every time the material changes. There are general-purpose blades that can still deliver performance despite the changing conditions.”

For organizations that are cutting the same material day in and day out, Lacroix says Lenox has specialty blades that, “really optimize the production in that type of material.” For example, if the account is cutting titanium or high-nickel alloys repeatedly, there are specific blades optimized for those difficult-to-cut metals.

Another example of how specific jobs can find optimization through industry-specific blades includes Lenox’s Cast Master XL blade for high-speed aluminum cutting – a match for organizations that manufacture engines and engine parts. Another is MaxCT, which effectively manages traditionally difficult-to-cut materials used in the aerospace industry. Both blades were introduced late last year.

“Both are examples of products that are fine-tuned for the product you’re going after,” Lacroix says. “They have a very specific grade of carbide and tooth geometry that is designed for the target metal.”