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Frequently Asked Questions

Why not cut your own blanks from coil stock?

If you’re a fabricator that is building:

  • Office Furniture
  • Refrigerators
  • Ice Machines
  • Pontoon Boats
  • Trailers
  • Lockers, etc.

…bringing blanking operations in-house with your own Cut-to-Length (CTL) line can pay off in a big way.

In the competitive world of modern manufacturing, being open to change and new processes is critical to ongoing success and sustainability. So, if you continue to do things the way you’ve always done them, there’s a good chance you are missing opportunities for business improvement and profitability.

Where do I even buy coil stock?

In terms of purchasing, most companies can continue working with their current service center as many also sell coil stock. But, if the volumes are high enough, such as 10 million lbs. or more, it may make sense to negotiate directly with a mill.

How much material do I need to be using to consider in-house blanking?

If you’re processing more than 5 million lbs. of steel or 3 million lbs. of aluminum, you are a candidate for an in-house blanking line. And, if you are processing a variety of sizes or non-standard sizes (something other than 4 by 8, 5 by 10, or 6 by 12 ft), blanking in-house becomes even more attractive. In 2017, the rule of thumb was that buying your own coil versus sheets saved about .03 to 0.8 cents/lb. However, with the increasing prices in the steel market, ROI can be achieved even faster, especially for those processing specialized materials such as highly-polished, pre-painted, or non-marking applications. From COE’s experience, each of our CTL installations has paid off within 2.5 years.

Aside from more profit, how will this help my operation?

An in-house CTL line provides the flexibility to run the blanks in the sizes and time frame as needed, providing much better control over production.

Plus, quality improves as the material is moved less. Short stacks of used blanks are eliminated, jobs are tracked and nested more efficiently, and any potential defects are identified upstream, before impacting downstream operations.

We’re tight on floor space, so where would we put the machine and coils?

A COE CTL line can fit typically fit within a footprint of 500 to 4500 sq. ft. This means the space currently dedicated to blank storage can accommodate both the blanking line and the coil stock. And, in some cases, the ROI may justify adding a small bay to house a line.

How complicated is it to run a CTL line?

Not very complicated at all. In COE’s case, our systems feature user-friendly controls and software that do much of the work, logically guiding operators through the setup process and storing recipes for different blank types.

Plus, the COE service team works with companies to ensure your staff is fully trained for successful equipment performance.

How fast do we recoup the cost of a machine?

Depending upon part mix, a CTL line could pay for itself within 6 -12 months. COE can analyze any particular operation and show real numbers to determine if an in-house blanking line is worth considering.

Isn’t it expensive to buy a CTL line?

Yes, there is a required capital equipment expenditure, but most fabricators don’t require a mega-million blanking line like a service center. The investment in owning a CTL line is likely less than you think. To assure the investment is worth it, COE can calculate ROI based upon the material and quantity of blanks you need to run.

We’ve found that many new installations quickly become a value stream for our customers. By blanking in-house, incremental costs associated with purchasing blanks, such as material handling, packaging and shipping are eliminated. One of our customers saved $70,000/month and an ROI of $2.1 million within nine months.

Benefits of an In-house Cut-to-Length Line

Opportunities Potential Gains
Outside Cost Savings Eliminate $20 to $50/ton in processing fees
Transportation Savings Eliminate $1.50 to $2.00/mile in trucking fees
Inventory Reduction Reduce work-in-progress (WIP) and carrying costs
Streamline Processes Apply just-in-time (JIT) to blanking operations
Improved Quality Easily detect and contain material defects
Reduce Scrap Optimize materials usage by blanking to size
Optimize Floor Space Use floor space for value-added operations