Panel saws horizontal, are used to cut up plywood or particleboard in full sheets, such as 4'x8', 5'x10', or 5'x12' panels. These saws normally have a pre-scoring blade, which pre-scores any laminates such as Formica, vinyl, painted board, melamine, etc. on the bottom of the panel so that the board does not chip on the bottom while being cut. The top side will always be clean when cut on a panel saw seeing that a pressure beam holds the panels in place while being cut. These machines cut multiple panels at the same time. Some of them are manually operated with a manual pusher or manually operated set of stops. Some of them are more automated with an electronically controlled pushing device that pushes the panel to a cutting line where the saw blades are located. Some of them are completely computer controlled and some larger systems are available in an angular form, which can cross cut and rip cut using a single operator. These angular systems are basically two machines in one. Panel saws normally cut from the underside of the panels so the main blade and scoring blade travels in unison across the cutting line from one side of the machine to the other while cutting the panels. Once cut, the saws disappear under the table and go back to the starting position while the computer repositions the next batch of boards by moving the pushers. This operation will be repeated until the whole batch of panels are completed.
A number of panel saws have air flotation tables in the front to ease the handling of the cut panels. Air flotation tables work similarly to hovercrafts producing air between the product which have been cut (which is normally quite heavy), and the table itself.
Some panel saws are self-loading; these are the more automated computerized machines where a whole bundle of uncut panels are placed on the scissor lift, which automatically lifts to a pre-determined height. The computerized pusher travels along and pushes the panel onto the machine. This obviously saves in labor costs.
Angular panel saws are for much larger production and can handle about 1200 sheets per day at an average and as discussed above are two complete panel saws in one; one to do the rip cut, which is the full length of say a 4x8 sheet that is the 8' dimension, while the cross cut will cut the 4' dimension. In the other panel saws described above, the panels will normally be ripped first, as in our example, all the required cuts along the 8' dimension will be cut and once this is done, the operator will manually turn the cut 8' lengths and push them back into the machine again so that the required cuts along the 4' dimension can be cut (cross cut).
When a number of full panels are being cut together, the height of the stack of panels is often referred to as the "Book Height". Some machines can cut 4" in height at one time and some can cut up to 6" at a time. 6" would be equal to eight 3/4" panels at a time.
MANUFACTURERS OF THESE MACHINES INCLUDE:
Activa, Biesse, Giben, Holzma, Homag, Kikukawa, Schelling, SCM, SCMI, Sicar, Steton, Mereen Johnson, Meyer, Oliver, Powermatic, Wintersteiger, Yates, Scheer, Rockwell, Holz-Her, Interwood, Safety Speed, Selco, Striebig.
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