Two types of sawing machines are used to cut through metals with ease—the power hacksaw and the band saw. The power hacksaw mimics the back-and-forth action of a regular hacksaw using two pulleys to cut metals of very large diameters into squares or angles. On the other hand, band saw machines are good for producing continuous cuts and fall into two basic categories: vertical and horizontal. While a vertical band saw is only good for soft metals, a horizontal band saw makes use of long, toothed blades to easily cut through hard and thick metals such as steel. Thus, a horizontal band saw is extensively used for cutting metals for various industrial applications.
This blog will explore the different benefits of using an industrial horizontal band saw machine to cut your high-strength and hard-to-machine metals.
Challenges with Machining High-Strength Metals
High-strength metals, such as titanium, steel, and aluminum, are highly sought in many industries because they offer high durability and display excellent corrosion resistance in tough environments. However, these metals also have some unique hard-to-machine properties in common, such as:
- Low thermal conductivity, which results in extreme tool temperature during the cutting operation
- Work hardening tendencies, which is where metal softens and sticks to the cutting tool
- Low Young’s modulus, which results in poor surface quality
Thus, you have to carefully select the right tools to cut these metals into the desired dimensions. Dull tools quickly heat up due to the temperature produced during friction, thus lowering the tool life and producing a poor surface finish. To ensure the best surface finish, the highest feed rate possible must be maintained. Also, the process requires a delivery of high-pressure coolant to address heat issues, remove chips, and extend tool life.
Ideally, you need to ensure less radial engagement to safely cut high-strength metals at high speeds while simultaneously keeping the tool temperature in check. Otherwise, the machining process may face unwanted challenges such as thermal cracking, deformation, and crater wear.
Advantages of Using an Industrial Horizontal Band Saw
As the name suggests, a horizontal band saw moves in a horizontal plane and cuts the object vertically down at a fixed angle. It has a spring counterbalance and a sliding weight to adjust the blade pressure.
Using a horizontal band saw for high-strength metals offers the following advantages:
An ideal horizontal band saw comes with a built-in rotating quick clamp vise to easily cut metals in angles up to 45°. By choosing the right blade, you can produce uniform chips at a constant rate. Meanwhile, the hydraulic feed enables you to use the perfect feed rate to clear chips before they clog the band.
Compared to a jigsaw, the horizontal band saw can cut metals faster—about a hundred feet per minute for steel. Moreover, you can switch between the minimum and the maximum blade speed to optimize your yield rate without sacrificing the blade life.
Ease of Use
Industrial horizontal band saws come in various designs, including semi-automatic and automatic, to offer maximum control over the tool. For instance, the blade can be fed to the material manually or hands-free using a spring-assisted torsion system. This offers additional protection to personnel from potential operational hazards that could result due to human errors.
Minimizes Production Waste
A horizontal band saw hosts a narrower blade than a chainsaw or table saw. It ensures fewer kerfs, followed by less material waste. You can reset the vice to hold more metal stocks together without any movement and achieve a clean angle cut with just one shot, further reducing your metal waste and helping with quick turnarounds.
Hazards Associated with Band Saws
An automatic horizontal band saw can make it super easy to cut high-strength metals, but there are still risks to the personnel working nearby in terms of various safety hazards, such as:
- Penetration or cut hazards: potential exposure to sharp blades, slivers/splinters
- Chemical or harmful dust hazards: Exposure to toxic fumes that could cause illness, irritation, difficulty in breathing, or loss of vision
- Ergonomics hazards: Working in limited spaces with awkward postures for long hours, leading to physical challenges (e.g., musculoskeletal disorders)
- Environmental hazards: Exposure to extremely high temperatures coupled with loud/prolonged noises that can pose negative health effects
- Miscellaneous considerations: Risk of injuries to workers due to heat, radiation and electrical contact during operation
While working on band saw machines, it’s essential to follow the minimum necessary PPE/safety requirements to safely complete the job. If you do not have the required infrastructure or expertise to operate a band saw, let an expert metal supplier do the job for you.
Precision Sawing of High-Strength Metals
Industrial Metal Service has been supplying and recycling metals such as iron, copper, steel, and aluminum in the San Francisco Bay Area and nationwide for more than two decades. We also offer highly accurate metal sawing services using the Amada PCSAW 530 X band saw with pulse cutting technology, which can quickly cut through high-strength metals such as titanium. For cutting aluminum, we use our MetlSaw NF12-T12 technology, ensuring your metals are cut with the highest precision and quality. Save money and produce less material waste by allowing us to cut your metals to the dimensions you require.