Applying the correct technology increases cutting speed

September, 2023: Applying the correct technology increases cutting speed

Cutting metals can be a costly process, and many manufacturers may be unaware of how the latest sawing machines and technology apply to their operations and how they can save money by using the right tools. Abrasive saws are often the machine of choice for on-demand cutting of specialty steels and alloys. Manufacturers want equipment that features quick-change tooling, computerized setup, recipedriven processes, high reliability, ease of maintenance and high throughput.


The major advantages of an abrasive saw over a band saw are high cut rates, increased quality of cut, the ability to work on hot or cold material, and high productivity when cutting high-strength materials. Also, abrasive saws consume less floor space and require fewer operators. A 10-in.-thick titanium billet requires 45 minutes to make one cut on a band saw but, with an abrasive saw, it only takes 5 minutes. Using a Savage Saw model SG-150, cutting a 4-in.-thick billet takes 45 seconds while a band saw could take up to 8 minutes. Assuming one shift at 8 hours a day (2,090 hours a year) at 85 percent efficiency, that is 1,768 hours available per year. By another measure, the abrasive saw moving at 45 seconds per cut can produce 141,440 cuts while the band saw, at 8 minutes, can produce only 13,260 cuts. That means a company will need 10 band saws to make the same number of cuts.

More band saws means increased floor space and labor hours, as well as a higher upfront investment. With substantial shortages of industrial employee talent, productivity becomes the investment driver.


A motion and control systems manufacturer, serving a vast array of end markets, including defense and aerospace, commercial marine, automotive and industrial robotics, operates four abrasive saws from Savage Saws. These workhorse machines run 10 to 14 hours per day cutting grade 1045 carbon steel and grade 17-4PH stainless. The resulting parts are then machined into piston rods for pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders. Savage Saws’ abrasive saws can switch between product sizes rapidly without tooling changes, cutting 1/2 in. diameter and then adjusting to 51/2 in. diameter with ease. Cutting that range on a band saw likely will require three blade changes, with 15 minutes per changeover and the risk of harm to the operator during the blade change. The manufacturing client reports that a band saw machine with the correct blade typically cuts those 5 ½-in.-diameter bars in 15 minutes. The abrasive saw can do it significantly faster—it takes only 3 minutes to cut the same material. The only potential drawback of abrasive blades is the dust and dirt they can create, but that’s easily offset with a good operator who is diligent about keeping the machine clean and maintaining the coolant.


Savage Saws also offers safety enclosures and sensors on its machines, which keep operators out of danger zones. Enclosures feature a strong, lightweight aluminum frame and polycarbonate panels that provide shielding from cutting motions while allowing for a clear view of the saw while it is operating. A side opening allows the in-feed pusher assembly to feed steel alloy bars into the cutting head safely, and a safety door with magnetic locks allows for ease of maintenance. A safety sensor uses an infrared plane in front of the in-feed pusher assembly. If the infrared plane is broken, the in-feed pusher assembly will stop automatically while the cutting head continues to function separately. Mounting of the sensor is placed for the most effective range and coverage, so the device won’t get in the way of the cutting operation. Savage Saw customers place safety as a top priority, alongside equipment durability. They want machines that are safe, run without high maintenance and provide reliable service for decades.

MIKE ABBAS is vice president of engineering at East Haven, Connecticut-based Thermatool Corp., 203/468-4100,,