Selecting Diamond Blades - Diamond Blade Guide - Diamond Blade Usage Recommendations - Sawing Equipment Guide - Optimizing Diamond Blades - How to Compare & Evaluate Blades - Diamond Tools Usage
OPTIMIZING YOUR DIAMOND BLADE
There are many variables that affect diamond blade performance. Understanding these variables will help the end user select the right diamond blade specification for their application and optimize their cutting operation to ultimate level of efficiency. The objective of this article is to show the end user that each variable of the diamond sawing process is only one of the many components of a larger diamond sawing system (equation). Changing one component or variable of diamond sawing process cannot create efficiency alone. Only when all components of the system added together can desired outcome be achieved. Just like a mathematic equation, it takes only one incorrectly select variable/component to affect all other properly selected variables. Making the entire diamond sawing equation/system incorrect or inefficient. Many end users approach their diamond sawing application uninformed or misled.
are made in the set up phase and critical steps are skipped. When problems
do surface, most rush to treat a symptom rather than the cause.
Frustration leads them attribute their problems to diamond cutting blade being
used. What some customers refer to as serious problem for example, may be
resolved by something as simple as changing pressure or direction of coolant
flow. The solution can be as easy as changing mounting method, RPM’s, or
educating customer about need to dress blade. Selecting the right
combination of these variables for a specific material / application is both an
art and science that often takes years to master. Information presented
in this article is not based on R & D, but primarily on many years of
process optimization experience.
BLADE SELECTION – (Selecting the Right Diamond Blade for your Application)
diamond blade application exhibits similar characteristics, whether its in
specification or performance. Below is a list of the most important
characteristics/parameters obtained from years of experience.
These parameters will play a major role in diamond blade performance. For the diamond blade manufacturer to recommend the right blade for your application. It is critical that the customer provide as much application information as possible. The first step in this process is to consider the properties of the material to be cut and to match diamond blade properties to this material. Table 2 shows a general matching of three basic blade properties to three basic material properties.
Common non metallic materials cut with diamond blades vary from hard, dense products like high alumina to loosely bonded, highly abrasive products like concrete block. No attempt is made to list specific diamond mesh sizes, concentrations or bond hardness to cut these materials. This information is to be used just as a guide in selecting diamond blade specifications.
Matching Basic Blade Properties to Material Properties
second step in the blade selection process is to consider the effects of
operating conditions on the diamond blade. Table 3 shows these
An operating condition which causes a diamond blade to have shorter life and a faster cutting rate is said to make the blade act softer.
A blade with longer life and slower cutting rate is harder acting blade (harder cutting action). Having tentatively selected a combination of blade materials from the material properties guidelines in Table 2 a change in diamond blade materials is made if there is a specific operation condition which will affect diamond blade hardness as shown on Table 3.
of Operating Conditions on Blade Actions
third and final step in the blade selection process is the consideration
of the customers stated blade preference, if any. Cutting rate (speed)
and blade life are the primary measurements most customers are concerned
with. Usually high cutting speeds reduce labor costs and high blade life
reduces blade costs. There is an inverse relationship between blade life
and cutting rate. as blade life increases, cutting rate deceases. The
most common customer preference is for a diamond blade which will
provide both longer life and a faster cutting speed. It is the job of
manufacturer to evaluate which is more important to the customer, blade
life or cutting speed and then to adjust blade specification selection
If blade cost
is the most important customer consideration
cost of a diamond blade is primarily dependent on diamond content
(concentration). A popular misconception among end users is that diamond
content (concentration) and performance are directly proportional.
However this is not the cause. In practice, there is an optimum number
of diamond particles of a specific diamond mesh size in a specific bond
which will produce optimum performance for a specific application. On
many applications lower cutting costs are obtained user lower rather
than higher diamond concentrations which, in some cases will not cut at
all. For this purpose the customer should be concerned with performance,
application parameters are the most significant in making application
decisions? In general, the most important factor is the type of material
being cut. Manufacturers recommended stock specifications have been
developed to cut specific materials under average operating conditions
where no specific customer preference has been expressed.
example soft diamond bond, with coarse diamond size and high diamond
grade has been found to provide optimum performance on most alumina
This specification was developed as a result of many laboratory and field tests of various diamond blade specifications cutting same material. However when this specification does not provide optimum performance, specifications changes are made following the general guidelines presented in Table 2 and Table 3.
OPTIMIZING BLADE PERFORMANCE
a any set of application conditions there is a combination of diamonds
and bond which will produce optimum diamond blade performance. Finding
that combinations depends on
Except on most common applications,
a successful initial blade tests is rare. In many cases it may take
several attempts and adjustments on both part of customer and diamond
blade manufacturer to come to optimum solution.
Blade performance is adjusted by
changing blade materials, but it can also be adjusted by changing
operating conditions. Information presented in Table 2 and Table 3
implies certain application rules. Table 4 summarizes these rules
showing the effect of changing either blade materials or operating
conditions, holding all other variable constant.
are the few important rules which guide the diamond blade manufacturer
and customer in changing blade elements or operating conditions to
optimize blade performance
there are frequently exceptions. For example beyond optimum point O,
blade life decreases with increased concentration. This may occur
because the harder acting blades require dressing to maintain a
satisfactory cutting action, or increased infeed pressures may have to
be used to maintain satisfactory cutting rates.
Increased diamond size beyond optimum point O cause a blade to act harder because the coarser particles do not penetrate a very hard material. There is a complex relationship between the number of diamond particles in a blade and the contact area of a single diamond particle. For example a change from 20/30 mesh diamond to 30/40 mesh diamond at the same concentration level provides approximately three times as many diamond particles but reduces the individual particle contact area by approximately one third. It is common to expect harder bonds to produce longer blade life.
theory that supports the contradiction beyond optimum point O is that
harder bonds are more brittle and start to break away rather than wear
away, This causes shorter blade life
Other changes in diamond blade materials or operating conditions which make a blade act harder will produce similar effects. Contradictions beyond optimum hardness’s can be explained with similar theories. The accuracy of these theories is not important when considering the blade selection process.
is a critical factor which further complicates the blade selection
process. Some degree of variation is fairly common and is to be expected
involving most aspects of diamond blade usage, raw material composition,
operating conditions and etc.
sources of variation diamond blade applications:
factors can affect each of the variables listed above and methods used
to control and minimize these variations. Manufacturer of diamond blades
goes to great length to control the quality of the diamonds and powders
used and to control the processing conditions which affect the
performance of the finished product.
the same taken raw material manufacturers that supply material that is
cut by diamond blades also have formable quality control standards to
minimize process and manufacturing variation. Unfortunately the cut
ability of these materials is seldom taken into consideration in initial
raw material design and process control when designing original product.
Refractory products for example are closely controlled for properties
such as thermal conductivity, spalling and refractoriness, but cut
ability (hardness and abrasiveness) is not specifically controlled.
Operating conditions are typically under poorer control than either
material properties or diamond blade properties. For instance, the
objectivity of the saw operator and the communicativeness of the
purchaser are major sources of variations that have important effect on
Typically the diamond blade manufacturing processes are in far better control than other factors of the application environment in which those diamond blades perform.
AFFECTS OF PRODUCT, PROCESS AND APPLICATION VARIABLES ON DIAMOND BLADE PERFORMANCE
This normal variation curve
represents a hypothetical population of blade performance results on the
a specific application. The curve represented by range Rb depicts the
relative amount of variation caused by diamond product variables. Curve
represented by range RM accounts for the amount of variation cause by
variables in the material being cut.
The range Ro represents the
variation in performance results due to variations in operation
conditions. The goal in this case is not to relieve the blade
manufacturer of the all responsibility of application variations, but it
does express the experience of diamond blade manufacturers.
One of the most difficult tasks an
application engineer faces is solving application problems that are
cause by variation. For example, in cutting one material typical blade
life is average of 500 cuts per blade is considered normal.
Figure 1 presents another frequency
distribution curve showing the average and range of performance on this
specific hypothetical application
DISTRIBUTION OF POSSIBLE BLADE PERFORMANCE RESULTS
CUTS PER BLADE
represented by point A performed 350 cuts. The user of this blade is not
happy and may request a credit. However what the end user should realize
is that blade life they have experienced is not out of the ordinary and
still falls within the normal distribution curve. When using this
particular diamond blade the user was affected by all variables
discussed above. Therefore, credit is not really warranted (despite what
the customer may feel).
problem occurs frequently and it is the diamond blade manufacturers
application engineers task to explain to the disappointed end user that
the 350 cut performance level, although low is normal. In these
situations, note that blade performance represented by point B is rarely
other hand if a blade provided only 200 cuts as shown
in point C, this would be outside the normal distribution curve.
There could be more than one explanation to attribute to this poor blade
performance. In statistics this performance would be attributed to
assignable cause. Finding and assigning cause and correcting the problem
behind this poor performance is a challenging task. Most customers
logically conclude that there is something wrong with this diamond
blade. However, this is not always the case. In this situation it is
very important of the customer (end user) and blade manufacturer
(supplier) to face these circumstances with an open mind in order to
resolve the problem. Both
blade manufacturer and user can dramatically benefit by working together
to resolve problem, instead of approaching it as advisories.
end users lack of cooperation with blade manufacturer or supplier will
be costly to the end user. Important information will be lost unless the
end user communicates complete blade application information to
manufacturer can assist the end user by providing important
recommendations in changing operation conditions or usage parameters.
And in some cases provide different blade specification that will more
closely and better match customers application parameters.
important for the customer to understand that manufacturers do not rule
out diamond blade variability as cause of poor diamond blade
performance. Its just very rare. Most diamond blade manufacturers
maintain elaborate records documenting diamond blade manufacturing and
quality control process at every stage.
batch and blade produced is frequently assigned as serial number. Every
processes underwent in diamond blade manufacturing process can be
reexamined and traced to each individual blade.
information is frequently inspected when looking into validity of
customer poor blade performance claims.
customers when experiencing poor blade performance or variation
frequently assume the tool used (diamond blade) is at fault. Rarely do
these users consider material variations or changes in operating
conditions as a factor behind these problems.
DESIGNING BLADE TESTS
Rarely does the first
blade specification recommended by diamond blade manufacturer provide
optimized level of performance desired by customer. Even if by chance
the first blade specification tested hits the target, subsequent blades
would not perform to most optimized level of performance. This is why
results of one blade test are not particularly valid. It is recommended
that several blades of same specification by used to establish a average
and a range of performance results before adjusting a specification of
is therefore in customers best interest to sample as many blade
specifications and their variations as possible to establish a precedent
(performance benchmark) from which they can measure all other blades.
constructing field tests, the end user should attempt to control
operating conditions and material specifications as much as possible to
minimize diamond blade performance variation. For this reason laboratory
tests utilize statistical methods such as random or multiple blade
deigns to minimize the affects all variables that may cause variation,
except for those being specifically evaluated.
are some of the methods used to control and minimize variation in
laboratory testing environment
The customer stands much to gain by
following proper diamond blade testing procedures.
DIAMOND BLADE PERFORMANCE RESULTS
customers ask the manufacturer to make certain predictions about diamond
such as “How many cuts will this blade make?” are
frequently asked. Unfortunately, there is not real answer to this
question. Because it takes a considerable amount of time and patience to
explain all of possible variations behind diamond blade performance.
can performance results be more accurately predicted?
customer may achieve certain blade life or chipping level on specific
application. While another customer may experience longer or shorter
life on exact same material and application. Even though operating
condition and materials appear to be relative same. Any estimate from
blade manufacturer may be interpreted by customer as a commitment or
statement of performance guarantee. This is unrealistic and discourages
for objective testing, the results of which will benefit both customer
What you should know before you buy your next diamond blade?
UKAM Industrial Superhard Tools Division of LEL Diamond Tools International, Inc.
28231 Avenue Crocker, Unit 80 Valencia, CA 91355 Phone: (661) 257-2288 Fax: (661) 257-3833
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