One Mistake And… Boom!

One Mistake And… Boom!

The saw that cuts live explosive ordinance

At HE&M Saw, we believe that we are the solution of our customer’s metal cutting problems. We often think of ourselves as “problem solvers” and have more than our share of unusual projects. The project described here involved the design of a saw to cut live explosive ordnance for a national aerospace and defense company. The task came with the realization that the solution must work as designed or the consequences would be disastrous.

The Design
A major consideration in the design of the machine was the requirement to minimize metal-on-metal contact to lower the risk of setting off live bombs during the sawing operation. A mistake here would have been catastrophic, and the saw was required to be able to cut bombs weighing up to 400 lbs. For safety protocol, the saw operator was to be remotely located 400 feet from the equipment. An explosion resulting from the sawing would certainly take the surrounding building down at a minimum.

Modified photo used with permission of the United States Air Force

Special care was required in designing all fasteners to prevent them from becoming projectiles if explosive material could accumulate around or under them. If this occurred and a maintenance procedure required component disassembly, a bolt could become a deadly weapon when a wrench made contact and set off the explosive material. Quality Assurance required all cast components to be x-rayed to ensure inclusions were minimal and to a strict standard to reduce explosive build-up from minuscule particles that were created during cutting. Any “pocket” that could trap and collect this explosive material would essentially be creating a secondary bomb; a saw design project that had no room for error.

The takeaway
This project, like many special designs completed over the years, represents who we are as a “problem solver” and an example of what we at HE&M Saw have designed and manufactured right here in the USA. We welcome these types of challenges because we believe every problem has a solution.

Paul Beha, HE&M Saw’s Products Manager