In any manufacturing or woodworking business, you know you can’t do much without a saw. You might also know that you can vastly improve your productivity—not to mention safety—by making the upgrade to a fully automatic saw system. Upcut saws, miter saws, and automatic pull-down saws are important tools in any workshop’s arsenal, but how do you get started when shopping for one? Read on for 16 of the most important questions to ask when buying a fully automatic saw system.
1. Why Fully Automatic?
When you start looking, you’ll probably notice there are a lot of saws that are sold as automatic. Note, however, that this is different from fully automatic. Many so-called “automatic” saws will in fact require you to use two hands to actuate the saw, dramatically reducing your productivity with the instrument. You want something fully automatic, as in, something that is programmed to create the cuts you need with computerized accuracy every single time.
2. How Easy Is It to Use?
Ease of use is key with machinery like this so that no matter how many workers you have or how often each of them will be working with the saw, they can always perform the job with maximum efficiency. Saws like TigerStop’s TigerSaw 1000 can be used with a few taps on a TigerTouch touch screen, and importing a cut list is incredibly simple.
3. How Accurate Is It?
A fully automatic saw should be able to cut with accuracy down to the smallest fraction of an inch. Ask your manufacturer if a saw you’re considering has fraction buttons for maximum accuracy. For instance, both the TigerSaw 1000 and TigerSaw 2000 have accuracy to +/- 0.012 inches.
4. Is It Guarded?
Any time the saw blade can get anywhere near your fingers, there’s a risk. With a fully automatic saw, there’s no reason why the saw blade shouldn’t be fully enclosed. See a saw like one of TigerStop’s to get an idea of what we’re talking about.
5. What Is the Lead Time?
Time is money, of course, and the longer you have to wait for your saw to arrive and get set up, the longer you have to wait to start earning with it. That’s why it’s a good idea when shopping around to ask how long the saw might take to arrive. TigerStop, for example, has a lead time of around four to six weeks, significantly faster than our closest competitors.
6. Does the Product Include Installation or Training?
It’s important to ask your manufacturer if installation and training are included in the cost of production. This is a major factor in the safety of the product as well. If the people who will be using the saw are trained by a professional, avoiding accidents will be much easier.
7. Is the Cutting Envelope Adjustable?
You need a fully adjustable saw that can accommodate different pack sizes. Otherwise, you can only use it for very specific jobs. In all likelihood, you’ll be using the saw for a lot of different jobs, so opt for one that has an adjustable cutting envelope.
8. What Are the Strokes Per Minute? What About Stroke Length?
You’ll want to know, of course, how fast your fully automatic saw can get the job done and how easy it is to control the saw-stroke cycle. The strokes per minute generated by the machine are a major factor in this, as are the stroke and positioner lengths on the equipment. Contact your manufacturer to ask questions regarding the capacity of your saw.
9. How Easy Is It to Get Spare Parts?
Should you run into any technical difficulties with your saw, you might find that you need to replace a part. Whether or not this is easy depends on where you buy from. For example, TigerStop has spare parts for their saws made in-house and shipped overnight, so you’ll be back to work in no time.
10. What About Service?
Getting a technician to your property to perform any necessary repairs is another must whenever you purchase a large piece of equipment, including a fully automatic saw. Any reputable company will be able to send highly trained professionals to perform maintenance and repair on your saw and other equipment.
Dynamic customer service and a comprehensive online service center are also vital. A fully automatic saw system is a complicated machine. You shouldn’t be left to your own devices when it comes to running your equipment. The manufacturer you choose should have answers to your questions.
11. Does It Use Dynamic Optimization Software?
Programmable, fully automatic saws are just as dependent on their software as on their hardware. Software that isn’t properly optimized can lead to wasted materials; wasted materials mean increased production costs. Dynamic Optimization software, like that created by TigerStop, helps take a lot of the guesswork out of the job by calculating yields for you.
12. Where Is It Manufactured?
Always ask where your equipment is manufactured, as this has a direct bearing on the quality of the product. Often, products are cheaply manufactured overseas and shipped to the United States, where the prices are marked up tremendously, ultimately costing the customer a great deal in repairs and replacements. Companies like TigerStop manufacture their own products in the United States, helping to ensure the best quality.
13. What Is the Modularity of the Product?
As your needs evolve, you’ll need your fully automatic saw to evolve as well. Can your saw be modified? Can the software be upgraded? This isn’t the case with many products on the market, which could mean you’ll have to replace the saw every time the requirements of your job change. TigerStop products have hardware and software that can be upgraded easily if the need arises.
14. Can You Optimize Pack Cutting?
There are many factors that impact how effectively a saw can cut. The length, width, grain, and type of material are all major contributors. As you might expect, saws aren’t one-size-fits-all. They require adjustments in order to maximize their pack-cutting efficiency. When you’re shopping for a fully automatic saw, ask if it can optimize pack cutting before you commit to a purchase.
15. Does Your Saw Work as a Pusher?
Since you’ll potentially be working with thousands of pounds of materials at a time, you’ll also probably need a pusher that can move large amounts of materials. Every TigerStop saw can also work as a pusher, taking a great deal of the effort out of your work. Some of them, such as the SawGear MiterXL, can even move up to 2,100 pounds of material!
16. How Much Does It Cost?
The price of your fully automatic saw shouldn’t be the most important consideration, but it’s worth paying attention to. While you don’t want to overpay, you should also be wary if your saw is too cheap, as this could indicate poor manufacturing. You do get what you pay for, especially if your saw includes software optimization, installation, training, and other important features.
Learn more about how TigerStop can help you with a fully automatic saw system that meets all your needs.