Never a Dull Moment

Never a Dull Moment

HE&M Saw was “at it again’ with the recent design and build of a large vertical band saw that minimized the risks involved with cutting graphite.

Sometimes the softest material can be a challenge to cut. We recently had a customer inquire about a band saw that could cut graphite. While graphite is not necessarily a difficult material to cut, there are several concerns that must be addressed to ensure safety and success.

The Challenge

The challenges are not with cutting the material, but rather with the material qualities. Under a great deal of pressure and heat, graphite converts to diamond, a tough material. In its pure form, it is relatively soft and also highly conductive of heat and electricity, which is why it is commonly used in products such as electrodes, batteries, solar panels, and other industrial products. Graphite is most commonly associated with pencils.

Cutting graphite offers unique challenges for a saw design because the graphite dust resulting from the soft material is quite fine. When airborne, if it settles surrounding electrical components and connections, electrical shorts are likely to occur due to the high conductivity, which, beyond component failure, could result in creating a fire. Graphite is non-flammable in bulk form, but combustible and even explosive with the proper mixtures of graphite dust and air.

The Solution

Our engineering team designed the V360M-CTS2. This custom-designed saw has safety features that minimize the risks of electrical shorts by incorporating a dust-proof and ATEX rated motor on the saw. Additionally, all electrical parts were specified with sealed housings to minimize the amount of exposure to the particles.