Smooth Cutting Results with Ripple Technology

By Mark Alster | Posted: 03/05/2013 3:48PM


In 2009, an engineering team led by Andreas Kisselbach, Leitz GmbH, began testing rippled knives to reduce cutting pressure and preserve the wood grain.

Ripple technology utilizes micro serrations in the knife edge to greatly reduce the cutting forces at the largest diameter of the cutting tool, thereby allowing the tool to pre-cut the part without defect. The resulting tiny ridges left on the workpiece are effectively pre-scored and can be removed by the following knife or cutter under equally light cutting pressure.

This technology can be achieved using a single tool or multiple tools. If two spindles are available to cut in the same plane, the first tool is equipped with ripple knives, and the second tool is equipped with finish knives. If only one spindle is present, the cutterhead is equipped with both ripple and finish knives. In both cases, the use of ripple and finish knives work in unison to divide and greatly reduce cutting pressures.

The greatly reduced cutting pressures also dramatically improve tool life, as lower pressure yields reduced knife wear. Operators report a 200 to 300 percent increase in tool service life from their finish knives when used in conjunction with ripple knives. Machine owners also appreciate significantly improved machine throughput due to increased feed rates and reduced downtime due to tool changes.

The key benefit of ripple technology is reduced or eliminated repair work and scrap loss due to cutting pressure-related defects. Ripple technology also increases the flexibility to cut multiple wood species with the same cutting angle, as the light cutting pressure reduces pre-splitting and residual defects.

Ripple serrations can generally be added to existing precision cutter systems at very low cost, because the only modification is in the profiling of the insert knives or diamond tips. Ripple technology can be utilized in many solid wood applications and the advantages can be enjoyed by small and large shops alike.

Mark Alster is a regional sales manager with Leitz Tooling Systems. For information visit or call (800) 253-6070.

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