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Metal cutting band saws

19th century wood band saw

When cutting metals, a constant flow of liquid over the blade facilitates cutting by lubricating to keep the blade cool as well as preventing encrustation or smearing on the blade, prolonging blade life and making for greater cutting accuracy. Brushes or brushwheels are sometimes used to remove chips and encrustation from the blade as it exits the material. Band saws are available in vertical and horizontal designs. These units range from manually operated machines to fully automatic machines. Band speeds range from 40 feet per minute to 5000 feet per minute.

Machine shop band saws may also be horizontal or vertical. Small band saws may employ a gravity-fed blade or the rate of descent may be controlled by a hydraulic cylinder bleeding through an adjustable valve. When the saw is set up for a cut, the operator raises the saw by hand and the material is clamped in place and the saw is turned on, the blade slowly descending into the material, cutting it as the band blade moves. When the cut is complete, a switch is tripped and the saw automatically turns off.

Cutting metals with a band saw is an art form in and of itself. It requires a considerable amount of knowledge and experience to be a profitable operation. There are several variables to consider when cutting metals with a band saw. The selection of the appropriate band saw blade, type of cutting fluid, type and condition of the band saw machine and level of machine operator experience are but a few.

Many technological advancements have made their way to metal cutting band saw machines in the past few years such as computer controls. A significant breakthrough in feed rate controls has been made by Hem Saw Inc of Pryor, OK. Hem saw has pioneered computerized cutting feed and pressure controls with their CCT system that greatly enhances production rates and increases blade life. Another advancement has been the transition from variable pulleys to frequency inverters to control band speed. Berhinger and Lexas band saw machines are among those that employ this new process for controlling band speed.

Advancements have also been made in the band saw blades used to cut metals. The development of new tooth geometries and tooth pitches have produced increased production rates and greater blade life. New materials and processes such as M51 material and the cryogenic treatment of blades have produced results that were thought impossible just a few years ago. New machines have been developed to automate the welding process of band saw blades as well. Ideal computerized welding machines, Also setting and cut to length machines and contributions from other manufacturers continues to increase productivity.

Stone cutting band saws

Common in mining industries band saws are used to cut hard stone into large blocks that can then be shipped to processing plants to be further refined. These saws use the same mechanical principals as other band saws but with one major difference. The major difference is that instead of a thin flat blade these use a thick cable. The cable is coated in diamond allowing it to cut through the hard rock.

Meat band saws

Saws for cutting meat are typically of all stainless steel construction with easy to clean features. The blades either have fine teeth with heat treated tips, or have plain or scalloped knife edges. The heat treated blades designed for meat saws are also used for cutting hard plastics and laminates.


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