Usually measured in the number of pieces cut, blade life measures the amount of work completed by a blade before it loses effectiveness. “Effectiveness” can be measured by the amount of material cut, accuracy of the cut or the finish of the cut. The demands placed on blades differ from operation to operation even when similar materials are being cut.

 

Most operators know what constitutes normal blade life for their routine sawing or slicing operation. The operators determine blade life by the number of hours, days or weeks a blade is on the machine.

 

NORMAL BLADE FAILURE:

All sawing and slicing blades eventually dull and cannot perform as well as the sharp edge of a new blade. Potential causes of blade dullness include:

  • Change in density and/or abrasiveness of the material being cut
  • Feed rate
  • Blade speed
  • Condition of the machine or operator

 

Through normal use, as guides push the blade into the material, the material pushes the blade up in the middle. This is called bowing. The blade’s ability to resist bowing is called beam strength. When beam strength is insufficient, the edge of the blade buckles, causing a crooked cut. Potential causes of insufficient beam strength include:

  • Low tension
  • Guides placed too far apart
  • Wrong blade profile (edge type) for the cutting application
  • Blade is too narrow

 

PREMATURE BLADE FAILURE:

Premature blade failure is considered less than normal blade life. Important factors to consider when evaluating blade failure include:

  • Weld Breakage: This may occur when a blade has been improperly butt welded or annealed. To combat this, Simmons produces a test weld and performs a hardness test with each weld set-up to help insure a strong weld.
  • Blade Tension: Check the saw manual for the proper settings. Simmons also sells a tension meter that will tell you if you have the proper setup.
  • Guide Setup: Make sure blade guide arms are not too far apart and ensure there isn’t excess pressure on the back of the guides.
  • Blade Selection: The blade which allows the least amount of resistance when cutting would be the ideal blade. If the wrong cutting edge is being used, bowing occurs as mentioned above and may cause premature failure in the steel.  

 

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