Manufacturers' association pushes back on proposed saw standard

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is working on a proposed rule to require active injury mitigation (AIM) technology for table saws, a rule that the National Association of Manufacturers said will double the cost of the table saw and "harm manufacturing in the U.S."

“The Commission’s proposed rule itself outlines that, if implemented, the cost of table saws would more than double, small manufacturers may be forced to exit the market, businesses may be unable to operate and sales of table saws will decrease,” said NAM Senior Director of Tax Policy Alex Monié said during testimony at a CPSC hearing Wednesday.

Monié said that the rule would in effect create a monopoly. The proposed rule would "impose a standard that could be achieved only through the use of one claimed patented technology,” Monié continued.

NAM said that some companies,  such as SawStop, already have patents on the technology which means other manufacturers who want to continue manufacturing table saws to be sold in the United States will have to pay royalty fees to the company that owns the patent; either that or come up with their own AIM technology without violating existing patents.

Yesterday, Feb. 29, SawStop announced that one of its key patents will, in the future, be made open to the public when the rule goes into effect, according to Matt Howard, CEO of SawStop. 

“We invest heavily in safety innovation, and our patents have real value," said Howard. "Even so, we will not allow this patent to be an obstacle to a safer future. To that end, SawStop is prepared to dedicate this ‘840 patent to the public upon the effective date of a rule requiring active injury mitigation technology on all table saws. Although such a rule is likely many years away from an effective date, we at SawStop are determined to seek a win-win balance between our mission and our business responsibilities.”


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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).