SALEM - When it leaves the Butech Bliss shop it's usually very big and you can bet it's done right.
Internationally respected in the heavy-industry world of steel handling, Butech Bliss is wrapping up production on a custom-made "cut-to-length-line" for Jemison Demsey Metals' new 91,000 square foot coil-processing plant in Decatur, AL.
Company President John Buta said the cut-to-length stretcher is "pretty automated" and noted that aside from manpower to unload and load the steel, a couple of employees can run the machine which is assembled with a large bank of computers to assist its operation.
Matt Joing, manager of operations at Butech Bliss in Salem, stands along side part of a stretch leveler being manufactured at the South Ellsworth plant. Joing is pointing to the moving head on the leveler. A head at the other end doesn’t move and this part of the leveler fits into the the middle section of a 240-foot long cut-to-length machine that will be shipped to Jemison Metals in Decatur, AL. Designed to remove imperfections, the stretch leveler can exert 2,400 tons, or 4.8 million lbs. of force —enough force that coiled steel up to three-quarters of an inch thick can be stretched out. (Salem New photo by Larry Shields)
"They usually run them pretty good," Buta said, adding that meant two or three shifts.
Buta said a cut-to-length line can be very long.
Matt Joing, manager of operations at Butech Bliss, said the Jemison Demsey Metals' machinery will be 250 feet in length and 35 to 40 feet wide. The huge machine is being shipped in sections, Joing said. He explained it is designed and built to exert 2,400 tons, or 4.8 million lbs. of force - a force so powerful it can stretch coiled steel up to three-quarters of an inch thick. Built in sections, the stretch leveler has its own lengthy bank of computers which control every inch the flat steel moves across its considerable 65-foot length. The 14.5-foot high stretcher is designed to "get a piece of steel as flat as you can get it," Joing explained.
"This is the machine that will do that," he said, pointing to one of the huge heads with giant grippers that grip strips of steel in order to stretch it. While one head moves, another gripper head at the opposite end of the machine remains stationary.
"It elongates the steel and takes out all the stress," Joing said, adding that deformities like buckling and curves are removed.
"It gets perfectly flat. That's what it's designed to do," he said.
The Jemison Metals website says loud and clear that "inefficiency is the enemy" and if imperfectly flat equals inefficiency, then Butech is covered big time with Jemison.
Joing said four weeks of work went into the necessary road use permits to Alabama. "It will take up to five days by truck," Joing said of the big sections.
At Jemison, the stretcher will be tasked process a wide range of products including hot rolled carbon steel, HRPO (Hot Rolled Pickled & Oiled) cold rolled and galvanized steel.
During the building process Butech's 40 machining centers, weld shop and assembly technicians are working on the various components for the cut- to-length machine.
Another big piece of equipment under construction is a "very large" custom-built hydraulic shear for Haynes International, Inc.
Buta said with the ability to cut 24-foot wide steel alloys, it is the widest shear ever manufactured by Butch Bliss and every component is made in the plant. Joing said the timeline from design to out-the-door will be 12 months.
"There was a lot of up front work with the customer. This is a new shear. It's designed so the entire frame could be manufactured in house."
Butech also builds similar equipment for aluminum cutting.
To view the Butech Bliss stretch leveler visit www.butechbliss.com. or