There are three primary means to improve efficiencies on your gang rip saw; keep the saw(s) running at peak performance, reduce down time associated with set-up/changeovers, and getting the highest yield from your raw materials.
Keeping Your Saw Running At Peak Performance
Daily maintenance should be performed to keep your equipment running at its best and avoid down time. This task can be given to non-production staff during non-production hours. Just the simple task of daily cleaning can reduce defects and down time.
Machines covered in saw dust can recycle chips through the cutting chamber with a negative effect on saw cut quality. Saw dust can also build in areas such as the feed bed and hold downs, effecting performance and increasing the potential for defects. Make sure you have not only the proper dust collection volume capacity, but that all dust hoods are connected. Most late model Mereen-Johnson gang rip saws have dust pick-ups on the anti-kickback protection and feed system in addition to the cutting chamber.
It seems as though machines always fail when you are busiest. Having a small inventory of critical replacement parts can drastically reduce the potential for down time. Manufacturers have a long history and knowledge of average component service life and can identify these critical components for you.
Reducing Set-up/Changeover Time
Fixed arbor saw owners should have at least one spare sleeve and spacer sets. Saw sleeves and spacers can get damaged with use. Having two spare sleeves and tooling sets will allow for one prepared set-up and one in process for maintenance. You should never have to hold up production waiting for tooling to be sharpened or items to be serviced. In some cases, it might be more efficient to change only the outside rip pocket(s) of saw sleeve set-up rather than fully disassembling the entire saw sleeve.
Dual swing arm and tip-up cart accessories can facilitate quicker changeovers, reduce operator fatigue, and increase operator safety.
Many shops have common stock rip requirements. Some shops leave a dedicated saw sleeve for these high use rips built up and ready for production. Planning production can also have a big effect on productivity, efficiency, as well as attaining the highest yield from your stock.
An example might be to assemble a wide capacity saw sleeve with rip pockets to accommodate the next two rip work orders.
And of course, it’s important that you have the right equipment. If you are spending more time changing arbor arrangements than ripping material, you might not have the correct saw for your application. If this is the case, you should investigate other saw options such as a machine equipped with TwistLock saw collars or a shifting saw machine.