MANUAL, SEMI-AUTOMATIC, AND AUTOMATIC
One of the most frequently asked questions here at Baileigh Industrial is “What are the differences between manual, semi automatic and automatic cold saws and band saws?” This may seem self explanatory, but even the most grizzled metalworking veteran has pondered this topic on more than one occasion.
This category of saw takes its name from the fact that the operator needs to perform many of the functions of the saw process “manually”. No, not using a hacksaw. Rather, the operator must manually advance the material between cuts, clamp the material in the vise, and turn on the blade. On a horizontal bandsaw the laborer can choose between using the pull handle with trigger mechanism to perform the cut, or can set the hydraulic descent cylinder to the desired feed rate and let gravity take its course. A manual coldsaw will have only a handle and trigger mechanism with spring assisted return.
This class of saws is very popular in shops where a variety of cut lengths and angles are performed by a number of different users. More of a “job shop” atmosphere as opposed to a production type facility. Manual metalworking saws come in a wide variety of sizes ranging from fully portable all the way to 13”+ round capacity.
Semi-Automatic Cold Saws and Band Saws
What sets the semi-auto metal cutting saws apart from the manual models is the decrease in the amount of manual labor involved in the cutting process. Where every aspect needs to be attended to with a manual saw, the semi-auto saw, once set to the desired feed rate, blade speed and initial vise opening, requires only the placement of your material at the cut point. Once this is achieved, the operator simply depresses the foot pedal and the saw does the rest – vise clamps, blade and coolant turn on, saw head comes down and performs the cut. At the point that the saw is finished with the desired cut, the blade and coolant are shut off and the head returns to the open position. Once the head reaches the top, the vise is released and the material is ready to be advanced for the next cut.
In addition to the reduced labor intensity of the semi-automatic saw are the added benefits of increased blade life and a more accurate cut. This is achieved through the elimination of the “human factor.” By this I am referring to the tendency of the operator to pull down on the handle with too much pressure leading to excessive heat buildup and abnormal blade distortion. These two issues are the biggest enemies to accurate and productive cold saw and band saw usage.
Taking the production level up a notch are the fully automatic metalworking saws. Generally used for high production runs, these saws are capable of running all day with little to no supervision. All aspects of the metal cutting process are preset prior to cutting to ensure the highest accuracy and efficiency.
An automatic saw takes all of the features of the semi-auto models and ups the ante with automated material feed systems. Saws can be programmed for multiple cut lengths and many have the ability to sort out the finished pieces. Many of the saws in this class have bundling capability and rack feed systems to allow minimal downtime and more profit. Maintenance is reduced through automated oil systems and chip removal augers.
For those applications where labor is at a premium and there is a need for a large capacity, high production saw an automatic metal cutting band saw or cold saw is the right choice.
I hope this has cleared up some of the questions regarding the differences in basic saw types without getting too in-depth. While there are a lot of saws on the market, knowing the basics will help make your choice a lot easier. At Baileigh Industrial we know that every purchase you make is important, and it is our sincere wish to help you achieve –
Precision, Performance, and Perfection
Baileigh Industrial Inc.