New Thin-Kerf Blade for Gang Saws Performs Well in Test Run
New Blade Tested: Preliminary tests of new, innovative Eureka circular saw blade for gang saws indicate it may match the performance of thin-kerf band saw systems.
By Staff Writer
Date Posted: 2/1/2000
Eureka Saws Co. has conducted tests of a new thin kerf blade for gang saw systems that has been able to challenge the thin kerf achieved in band saw machines.
The tests were conducted at a PalEx plant in Mulberry, Ark. late last year. The results were disclosed to Pallet Enterprise by Eureka president and chief executive officer Alex Manzo and confirmed by PalEx personnel.
In the test, the mill successfully ran Eureka’s new 10-inch, .082-inch thin kerf Ventilated Air Cooled Cutting System (VACCS) blade on a Brewer Inc. Midas 4-inch thin kerf gang saw. The trial run lasted six hours.
The test produced results that were striking in several respects, according to Alex and Stacey Millsaps, the mill supervisor.
The Brewer machine normally can run up to 55 feet per minute. With the VACCS blade, the machine achieved rates up to 68 feet per minute and averaged 60 feet per minute.
Another noticeable achievement was the apparent ability of the blade to recover from "laying over" — or deflecting — when hitting severe knots or other defects. After appearing to "lay over" in such a cut, blades responded by straightening up after the cant passed and with little or any deviation in the straightness of the cut through the next cant. This phenomenon occurred about 12 times.
The gang saw also seemed to run noticeably cooler, according to Stacey. With the blades normally run on a gang saw, "you can feel the heat" coming off the machine, said Stacey. "You couldn’t hardly feel any heat at all" when the saw was running the VACCS blades.
During the test run, maintenance personnel stopped the gang saw and opened the bay doors to record the temperature of both arbors with an infrared thermometer. They recorded a temperature of 64 degrees on the lower arbor and 71 degrees on the upper arbor. (The temperature in the mill was 72 degrees the day of the trial.) The mill also plans to gather temperature readings of the machine when it runs regular blades.
What is even more notable is that the new blades were run without the benefit of a lubricating system that the PalEx plant normally uses when the gang saw is in production. The lubricating system was turned off for the test run.
During the test, the company ran 4x6 and 4x8 mixed hardwood material through the saw. Species included red and white oak, hard and soft maple, hickory, aspen, poplar, and ash.
The blades consistently produced boards with a plane-like finish with a deviation of +\- .002-inch. The mill gains an extra board while running the standard .115-inch thin kerf blades from Eureka, and the VACCS blade allowed them to recover an additional board.
"I thought it was pretty good for a blade of that caliber and thinness to run as good as it was running," Stacey said of the blade’s performance. The company is considering switching to the new VACCS blades, he said.
"This is the first gang saw blade in the pallet industry to match band saw kerf thickness while producing higher feed speeds and clean, dust-free boards," said Alex.
Eureka was at work designing another VACCS 10-inch blade to run at speeds in excess of 75 feet per minute and anticipated testing it in early 2000.
The Eureka VACCS blade is designed so that the heat generated within the arbor, spacer and inner hub of the blade is reduced by the ventilated design of the blade and spacer combination. The spacer has ventilating holes that carry air through the outer edge of the spacer through the side of the spacer and to the blade. The blade construction is unique for two reasons. It is made with a thicker, stronger center hub plate and a thinner outside rim that actually enters the cut. Like the spacer, the center hub plate has a series of ventilation holes. The cooling system brings air through both the spacer and the blade, working in tandem to cool the blade, spacer, and arbor. Eureka has applied for a patent to protect its new design, which was introduced last year.
For more information, call Alex at Eureka Saws at (800) 672-3388.
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