A good conversation is usually defined as one where there is a healthy back and forth between parties, and everyone comes away with more knowledge than they had prior to the conversation. Gaining that knowledge highlights the importance of being a good listener. It’s a skill that can improve interpersonal relationships, but for those running businesses, listening to the customer can drive innovation.
Whether it’s through social media or other forms, marketers work hard to engage their target audience on a platform where ideas, questions and concerns can be expressed and accounted for. For Advanced Machine & Engineering Co. (AME), the establishment of The Sawing Academy about three years ago became an important space for connecting with professionals in the sawing industry and has become a valuable research and development tool for the company.
The Sawing Academy is a website where anyone with questions about the design and operation of high-production sawing machines can connect with an expert, such as a mechanical engineer or sales specialist, at AME.
And While AME manufactures carbide saws, the platform isn’t solely focused on carbide machines. It’s also where fabricators can go for information about purchasing the right saw for their business, whether it’s a circular saw or a bandsaw, or to troubleshoot issues they’re having with their current saw – there is no fee, and questions don’t have to be related to an AME product.
The idea for The Sawing Academy came from Nick Goellner, marketing director at AME, after the company was asked by international magazines to contribute information on engineering theories behind high-production sawing machines.
“It’s the way we do research and development,” Goellner says of the platform. “The feedback loop with the audience is a lot tighter than if we were just kind of guessing what the industry might need. We’re creating a community that cares about high-production sawing. We’re going to be the one to host that community through The Sawing Academy.”
Much of the website is dedicated to articles that are based on community questions and input, and many of them are written by Goellner’s grandfather Willy who founded AME and invented the world’s first carbide production saw. Articles often include illustrations that take an in-depth look at issues sawing operators encounter. Three examples of common questions asked are presented here, but truly, the topics covered are vast.
One of the most frequent questions asked is in regard to saw blade life. Circular saw (cold saw) blade life issues are tackled in a 2017 entry titled “Torsional Vibrations in Carbide Sawing.”
The article states that torsional vibration leads to some of the most damaging effects on carbide-tipped circular saw blades and that the amount of vibration depends greatly on the total backlash of the gearbox and its compliance, the diameter of the blade and the stiffness of the machine.
“The saw blade also must be rigidly clamped to the drive hub to guarantee a stiff transmission of the maximum torque to the blade,” the article says. “This can be accomplished by using friction or by using both friction and drive pins for positive transmission. A larger diameter drive hub would better stiffen the blade to resist lateral vibrations, but
it also would require larger diameter blades which would increase the lateral vibrations on the teeth.”
The article also adds that blade diameter should be as small as possible because it makes the blade easier to handle, require less cutting torque, have a lower chance of torsional vibration and less expensive.
Another popular topic for discussion at The Sawing Academy is material handling systems. In that regard, there is an article about why automated systems are of value titled, “Selecting the right material handling system for your industrial sawing process.”
“Manufacturers that invest in a material handling system can improve the safety and productivity of their sawing process,” the article says. “The less you transport, pick up and jockey materials by crane or forklift, the safer the work environment is for your employees.”
Before selecting a material handling system, the article advices fabricators take a close look at the flow of the entire process of material moving to and from the saw. Material shapes and sizes need to be taken into account. And if they’re going to get the right system, they also have to consider pre- and post-sawing operations.
“Your overall plan should describe what is being moved and when, where and how often these moves must occur,” the article notes. “Include your basic requirements, your desired options and all future requirements and goals.”
Every fabricator has probably asked at one point or another which type of sawing machine will work best for their desired outcome. Is a circular saw the best option or is it the bandsaw? Unsurprisingly, the website has some answers, such as those found in the article titled “When to Use Circular Saw Machines vs. Bandsaw Machines.”
Due to the thicker and more rigid construction of a circular saw blade, the cut finish is generally cleaner than what a bandsaw can provide, according to the article. Furthermore, the power requirements are higher than that of a bandsaw, and due to a thicker blade, the circular saw cuts wider slots that can lead to excessive material loss, which might be a consideration for some fabricators.
“Circular saws with carbide-tipped blades cut faster through the material without creating excess heat – especially on high alloy or stainless steel,” the article says. “This develops an accurate cut and high-quality finish that doesn’t require secondary finishing operations.”
For fabricators cutting larger stock sizes, the bandsaw might be the better option. They are versatile and cut larger cross-sections than a circular saw and bundle cutting is an option for bandsaws, “but they tend to fall short when it comes to quality finishes.”
The article relays that when a fabricator is trying to make a decision, they should consider the required cutting rate, floor space, if coolant is necessary, length accuracy, surface finish, cost and future production needs.
These topics and more can be discussed with an expert at The Sawing Academy. It’s as easy as filling out a contact form to get a response from an expert at AME with many years of experience in the industry.
A Larger Audience
Some of the articles on The Sawing Academy site have already been translated so readers in China can consume them. Other areas of the world are also being discussed, such as Germany, India, Southeast Asia and Russia where high-performance sawing applications are in high demand.
“One of our visions for this platform is to make it available and more languages than just English,” Goellner says. “We created this platform to hear what fabricators are looking to do – we want people to throw out pipedream questions … It’s not just for our own customers; anyone who is doing high-production sawing can learn a lot from our site and through talking to our people.”