PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Mick Fonas is the shop foreman at Bryan Mechanical, a mechanical contractor specializing in process piping for applications including HVAC, refrigeration, and plumbing. They have worked on applications ranging from chemical plants to Heinz Field, the Pittsburgh Steelers football stadium. In the shop, Bryan Mechanical uses a Continental Model 12A pipe and tube cut-off machine (from Continental Pipe and Tube Cut-Off Machines, Addison, Ill.), which handles 3-1/2- to 12-3/4-inch diameter pipe and tube, to cut carbon steel and stainless steel pipe.

"The number of cuts we do varies, but we probably average about 50 per day. When the stadium was going on there were about 75 to 100 cuts a day," recalled Fonas. "They would give me the fab schedule for 75 cuts from 3-1/2 inches to 12 inches diameter and most of the cuts would be for different lengths."

Continental Model 12A pipe and tube cut-off machine.

Saving Time And Money

"Before using a Continental machine we would flame-cut the larger diameter pipe. The Continental machine takes 1/10th of the time of flame-cutting. Plus, with a flame-cut, you have slag on one of the pieces so you end up having to cut it twice and then bevel it. With the Continental machine, the pipe is beveled on both sides in one cut, and there’s no wasted material. We can do in one day what used to take a week.

"There’s a big saving in man-hours for sure. It takes less time because you’re only cutting a piece once. Plus, it’s easy to use and to train someone on. I train first year apprentices on it, and after about a week they stop asking me questions. As long as they can measure properly, they can be cutting nearly immediately.

"The only other cost is the blade. But we got a grinder from Continental and we’re able to sharpen the blades so they end up lasting us a while."

Knowledgeable Customer Service

"When we first got the machine we are using now, it came in boxes. I read the instructions and called the technical support at Continental, and they walked me through putting the machine together correctly.

"In seven years of using the machine, only once have we had a problem — a shaft broke. We got technical input from Continental on how to fix it, and they sent a part so that it arrived the next day. I couldn’t believe how fast they got it to me.

"I’ve worked in this business for 25 years," added Fonas. "Continental is the Cadillac of everything I’ve ever used. I’ve never seen anything like it. I started using Continental machines when I worked at a different company. When I switched companies I persuaded them to buy a Continental machine. And after using the bigger model we have here I talked some of the union guys into getting one at their shops. Now I won’t work anywhere unless they use Continental."

For more information, contact Continental Pipe and Tube Cut-Off Machines at 800-264-5950 or visit www.continentalcutoff.com.

Publication date: 07/28/2003