Printer Friendly

Good panel saw cutting practices: provided are tips for optimizing panel saw usage and eliminating waste from the cutting operation.

The panel saw is often referred to as the workhorse of the woodworking shop. What follows below are some tips and techniques to consider when choosing--and using--a horizontal panel saw.


1. Good cutting practices begin with good planning and organization in the office.

2. An optimization package should be used to both design cutting patterns and schedule the workload and throughput for the factory. Cutting patterns should be sent electronically to the saw in the desired sequence to best meet the production requirements and eliminate setup at the saw.

3. Whether you process by route, individual job, or another method, the labeling of parts to assist in tracking them through the plant is the best practice. Labels can be color-coded, bar-coded, or equipped with radio frequency (RFID) chips to assist in tracking.

4. Pull material at the end of one day for the next morning's production; this way there will be no downtime in the morning.

5. Maintenance is important. Take five to ten minutes at the end of each day, to clean the saw, and 20 minutes at the end of each week.

6. Do not offload the last part of a cutting cycle; pull it away from the cutting line, load the next sheet into the clamps of the saw, initiate the next cutting cycle and then offload the last part. This approach will keep idle time to a minimum.

7. Start the ripping cycle as far from the controller side of the saw as possible. This way there is room to turn the first strip or strips, orienting them for crosscutting.

8. Make sure that the saw has plenty of air table space so the operator does not have to unload unfinished parts to make room to finish the cutting cycle.

9. Drive the use of offal from the office, utilizing an optimization program and usable parameters. Do not leave it to the operator to know the offal and determine how utilize it. Set up a simple storage system for the offal, label it as it is generated and recycle the offal through optimization. Set up a system and enforce it.

10. Be aware of the number of steps required at the front of the saw to the waste dumpster and minimize them.

11. If the saw used is a front-loading model, always have the material on a scissor lift positioned at the side away from the right angle fence and oriented for crosscutting first. This way the panels can easily be pivoted onto the air tables at the front of the machine, which is much easier than having to pull or push them onto the tables.

12. Don't forget tools for destacking. Freestanding air tables and scissor lifts can work wonders to reduce operator fatigue and speed up the destacking process, increasing part throughput. If possible, the destacking operation needs to be reduced to a sliding and placing motion, not a lifting and toting one.


13. While ripping is still taking place, pre-stage the first strip or strips to be crosscut on the air float table of the crosscut fence in order to minimize transition time from rip to crosscut.

14. Utilize the cut/groove sequence available on the panel saw for the accurate machining of drawer components.

15. Kerfing of panels to be bent around a radius can be programmed to run while the operator is on break or at lunch, increasing throughput and reducing operator idle time.

16. Develop fixtures for quick and accurate angle cutting of frequently required components.

17. Use a laser light to show the tracking of the blade for use in straight lining solid lumber or trimming center book-matched veneered panels with respect to a glue joint.

18. Use the panel saw's built-in stress relieving capability, such as Stressfite, to eliminate the chance for banana bow, which can throw off dimension and squareness.


Case Study: Haworth 32
Boring Machines: Some Not so Boring Tips 34
Vertical Saws: Getting a Clean Cut 36
CNC for the Small Shop: What to Consider 36
The Right Route to CNC Routing 37
Case Study: Wood Products NW 38
5 Tips for Glue Pot: Efficiency 39
Product News 40


Boring Machines Chart

CNC Routers Chart

Double-End Machines Chart

Edgebanders Chart

Panel Saws Chart

Board & panel equipment, boring machines, CNC machining centers, CNC routers, edgebanders, edgebanding materials, hinge insertion machines, panel saws, pocket mortisers, sliding table saws, tenoners

Look for these Red Book Alert topics at



Being a good environmental steward means Haworth Inc. of Holland, MI, must continuously review its materials and processes to eliminate waste. The company says reducing the amount of raw materials used for manufacturing products, as well as maximizing equipment utilization in production are two keys to global responsibility.

Reducing Waste in the Edgebanding Process

One of the processes Haworth looked at to reduce material usage while maximizing production efficiency, was the edgebanding line. A review of the company's adhesive usage led Ed Velthouse, manufacturing engineer for Haworth, to determine that polyurethane (PUR) adhesive would be ideal for the edgebanding application.

A thin line of PUR can provide a strong, durable and long-lasting bond between particleboard panels and supports the use of thinner edgebanding. This results not only in a cleaner look, but reduces the natural resources used from the environment, the company says. However, because PURs react to moisture in air, Velthouse had the challenge of how to most effectively handle PUR adhesives in the production line. Within the edgebanding process, Haworth was using Homag edgebanders with open wheel pots.


The company determined it would need a closed adhesive dispensing system in order to fully optimize the PUR application system. Haworth is now using the Nordson PURBlue 4 melter with "melt-on-demand" in conjunction with Nordson's EB60V slot nozzle to create a controlled, closed adhesive application system.

"Creating a clean, high-quality finished product with a thin but strong, durable adhesive bond using efficient manufacturing processes supports Haworth's core values of being a sustainable corporation," adds Velthouse.



Drilling panels, solid wood and composites are fundamentally the most basic requirements for manufacturing wood products, while boring and dowel insertion equipment is necessary for all casework applications utilizing dowel construction. There are a variety of factors that need to be considered when purchasing a boring or drilling machine, including quality, reliability and product support ranking among the top in importance.


* Other factors weighing in are: productivity, reliability, how user-friendly it is to operate, setup time and floor space.

* The machine's composition and configuration can also play a part in the decision-making process. Consider the weight of the base, the quality of the steel, the type of table, the brand of electronics, the presence of a PC front end, the quality of the documentation for parts and the electrical schematic.

* Also consider the machine's ability to communicate with design software, its flexibility and the ability to provide vertical and horizontal drilling.

* Users should also look for multiple reference systems for part placement flexibility. The choice of an overhead CNC working center vs. a stationary single-side CNC drill and dowel machine, vs. a feed-through CNC drilling machine, depend on a host of factors, including lot size, part characteristics, degree of automation and production rate.

* Today's machines are used for everything from simple drilling to complex three-, four- and five-axis routing. Advances are continually being made to the drill spindles and user guides to assist in setting up the vacuum pods and rails. Another area that continues to improve is the speed of operation of both flat table as well as pod and rail machines.

* Good quality tools and tool holders will minimize vibration and extend the life of your router motor bearings.

* Keeping the part immobile also is important in the overall quality of the cut. In drilling, particularly with melamine, rigidity is important to reduce chipping and blow out.

Source: for information on boring machines suppliers, visit


Keeping the blade from binding during rip cuts:

1. Makes sure blade is sharp and clean; dirty and dull blades can increase the risk of kickbacks.

2. The use of a riving knife--a hook-shaped piece of metal mounted directly behind the blade--helps prevent the upper and lower pieces of wood from binding together after the cut is made.

3. Some model saws come with rip support wedges. Place these every 3 feet as the cut is made to keep the board split.

Preventing burning or chipping:

1. Make sure the saw is properly aligned and/or adjusted or a heeling condition can occur. Also make sure the blade is sharp; dull blades are the most common cause of burning and chipping.

2. Ensure that the correct saw for the material is being used. For example, if cutting melamine, use a blade with a negative hook/rake and at least 60 teeth to get a chip-free cut.

3. For best results, the use of a scoring knife is often recommended. This is avail able on many of the larger panel saws.

4. Check the tension on the pressure shroud to ensure it is snug on the material and that the blade is penetrating the correct depth out the back of the material.


For suppliers of panel saws, visit


* For a small shop, making the move to CNC equipment involves different considerations than a larger shop may have. Here's what the experts advise: For cell-based operations, adding the flexibility, configurability and repeatability of a CNC can enhance productivity beyond what a stationary machine can offer.

* In determining when a shop should choose CNC manufacturing over another method, the number of sheets and operations performed should be among the first items considered.

* Remember, it takes time to learn the software, proper dust collection and hold-down techniques, as well train employees. Most small companies investing in their first CNC will gain a comfort level around the 90-day mark.

Source: WoodworkingNetwork.comlRedBook For information on CNC machinery suppliers, visit


The following five tips will help you maximize the performance of your CNC router.

1. Surface both sides of the spoilboard. This will remove inconsistencies in thickness, improve air flow and gives the spoilboard more surface to grip.


2. Isolate unused areas of the table. Configure the gasket to minimize the open area and place thin, non-porous material on the unused area.

3. Understand and utilize vacuum gauges. Establish maximum vacuum at the pump with the valve to the machine closed. Note the drop in pressure when the machine is running.

4. Choose the correct part holding system. Available systems include vacuum cups or clamping systems for CNC machining centers, vacuum cups for flat table routers, and for either type of machine, custom spoilboards can be used. Work with your supplier to ensure you are using the optimal technique.

5. Chipload equals the thickness of the chip removed. To increase the chipload, increase the feed rate/decrease the rpm/use less flutes. To decrease chipload, decrease the feed rate/increase the rpm/use more flutes.

Source: Bill Blackmon, Busellato CNC product manager, Busellato Casadei. For more information visit or call (336) 854-1211. For suppliers of CNC routers, visit



Based in Ellensburg, WA, Wood Products Northwest is a full-service manufacturer of cabinetry, commercial casework, millwork, institutional furniture and countertops.


"Our business is set up in a way that we can quickly adjust and move into or out of different segments of our industry," says Robert Hamlin, president/general manager. "We will stay with residential work and will hit it hard when it is going strong. And then if that slows, we can move heavier into different types of commercial work, which is still a large part of our business."

Embracing New Technologies

Hamlin is a strong proponent of technology, including design and engineering software, and says it has made a positive impact on Wood Products Northwest. The company uses Cabinet Vision software from Planit.

Wood Products Northwest changed to nested-based manufacturing in 2000. "I'm a firm believer in nested-based," Hamlin says. "I am sold on that technology now--the squareness of the part, the safety factor of it. It is nothing like training someone in the past to program parts or having to manually handle sheets and cut all parts on a saw, one piece at a time.

"Because we do run small batches and complex things, you can't beat it for the routing ability to cut all large and small parts," he adds. "You can mix easy parts and complex parts all on the same sheet and cut it, mix a curve in with a square, because we have true-shape nesting. Everything has gotten very advanced."

The company uses a Biesse Rover B 7.4 CNC machining center for its nested-based operations. In addition, Wood Products Northwest's shop includes a Biesse edgebander, Altendorf sliding table saw and Adwood boring machine.


RELATED ARTICLE: * 5 Tips for Glue Pot Efficiency

1. "Sticking" the glue pot can be done periodically on pots with a good non-stick coating by inserting a wooden stick in the main chamber of the glue pot at the end of a production run, while the glue is still melted. After the glue has hardened in the pot, turn on the heating elements for 5 minutes or more to melt the outside edges of the glue. Pull up on the stick and remove all of the glue in the pot and discard.

2. Maintain proper glue temperature during production per the manufacturer specifications.

3. Reduce the glue temperature if production will be halted for more than an hour. If glue sits in the pot at that temperature without moving for too long, the fillers in the glue will start to oxidize or burn to the inside chamber of the glue pot and reduce the edgebander's performance.

4. Check glue pot shoe adjustment to confirm the panels are not touching the glue roller as this will generate excessive wear. This can be checked using a solid straight edge and small strip of scrap paper. The straight edge should not touch the roller when placed on the shoe, however, it should hold 1-2 thicknesses of scrap paper snug between the roller and straight edge.

5. Check for "gate grinding" as the gates should not be touching the glue roller. This will wear out the gates and glue roller, requiring expensive replacement. Make sure the return gate is not closer to the roller than the application gate as this will eliminate the gate from scraping glue off the roller and onto your production floor. About 1/16-in. difference will suffice.

Source: Sovereign Machine Inc.

For information visit

For edgebander & accessory suppliers, visit

Bill Pitt is vice president of Holzma U.S., div. of Stiles Machinery. For more information visit, call (704) 861-8239 or email
COPYRIGHT 2011 Vance Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Panel Processing
Comment:Good panel saw cutting practices: provided are tips for optimizing panel saw usage and eliminating waste from the cutting operation.(Panel Processing)
Author:Pitt, Bill
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Mar 1, 2011
Previous Article:Choosing the best ripsaw for the solid wood machining application: using the right ripsaw for the job can improve the operation's yield, saving...
Next Article:In-house tool grinding saves restoration company time, money: Restoration & Preservation Enterprises moved production of moulder profile tools...

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters