Circular saw or band saw?

How circular saws can out-perform band saws, save you time and money, and lower your carbon footprint.

As customers require shorter lead times, ‘just in time’ and ‘right first time’ processes, the metal cutting market needs to keep pace. Circular saw solutions are now in many cases better suited than slower band saw machines.

Carbide-tipped circular saws entered the market more than a decade ago, but recent developments mean that they are now far more capable. Initially, they were only used with the softer, lower carbon steels, but improvements in how they are manufactured and sharpened mean that circular saw blades are now capable of being used to saw through much harder materials, such as duplex stainless steels.

This has come hand-in-hand with the continued evolution of sophisticated circular sawing machinery, where improvements in cutting speed and power have enabled circular saws to surpass their band saw counterparts in many use cases.

When compared to a band saw blade, a circular saw blade such as from the carbide-tipped Kinkelder CX range, which can cut through the same material up to 13 times faster, provides multiple advantages, such as:

  • Reduced lead times.
  • Reduced floor space taken up by stock and machinery.
  • Reduced staffing requirements.
  • Reduced electrical costs.
  • Lower carbon footprint.

Circular saw blades also produce a consistently squarer cut with a superior finish, which brings advantages to the next manufacturing stage and could reduce the amount of time processing the material in other departments.

A good example would be a 150mm diameter 316 stainless steel billet. Cutting this may take up to 6 minutes on a band saw machine, but a modern circular saw machine could cut this material cleanly in under 30 seconds.

This is a tremendous saving of time. If a company received an order for 100 pieces, the circular saw would save over 9 hours in cutting time versus the band saw alternative. This can allow staff to focus on other areas of the business and reduce the electrical costs that would accumulate using a band saw machine.

It also reduces a company’s carbon footprint and helps them move towards a greener, more sustainable future; something which has become a hot topic and focus over the past few years. If a circular saw machine could cut six times quicker than a band saw, then one circular saw machine could replace six band saw machines and achieve the same output.

One thing we often find is that operators will continue to give priority to tool life rather than production rates, because they believe that this will save the business money in the long run. The life of a circular saw blade is somewhat shorter than a band saw blade, meaning that the circular saw blade would need to be replaced more frequently. However, due to the time and cost savings that the circular saw machine gives, the cost of the blades is, in our experience, more than offset. We have found that using band saw blades, despite longer life-per-blade, increases lead times, staff costs and the amount of energy being used.

Joe Johnson with Antony Dobson at Van Leeuwen in Basingstoke
KR Saws’ Joe Johnson with machine operator Antony Dobson at Van Leeuwen in Basingstoke

At KR Saws Ltd we aim to cut more quickly to turn metal in to money. When material is sat on your shop floor it isn’t contributing anything to the business financially. Our belief is that we are the market leader when it comes to cutting the harder metals, backed up with technical support and research from our parent company Kinkelder in The Netherlands. We are currently researching methods of cutting higher tensile materials and more challenging alloys such as titanium and induction-hardened chrome bar with circular blades.

One of our customers, a leading stainless steel supplier, invited us to look at their sawing warehouse with a view to completely overhauling and improving their processes. Within a year of our initial findings, they purchased one circular saw machine and removed three band saw machines. They were able to move two saw operators to another department, bolster their man power, and energy was reduced by 22%.

We have also recently expanded our blade sharpening and repair offering, with a collection and delivery service making it simple for companies to use our services to re-tooth, re-grind and recondition blades so that they can be used again.

As research continues and circular saw technology continues to improve, we expect that circular saw machines will find further opportunities to replace band saw applications and make further savings for your company.

We would urge you to take stock of your machinery and processes and consider whether circular saw machines can benefit your company, and if you need any assistance with making an assessment, we would be more than happy to help.

You can can connect with Joe Johnson on LinkedIn, and find out more about KR Saws and their extensive range of saw blades and reconditioning services by visiting their website: www.krsaws.co.uk

Bonus content!

In May 2021, Peter Comerford from Comton Group spent two days with Joe Johnson from KR Saws Ltd, as he visited client sites to provide training and support.

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