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Bosch Introduces Saw with Flesh Sensor Technology

Bosch Introduces Saw with Flesh Sensor Technology

  • May 12, 2015
  • by Rich Christianson
SawStop has sold 50,000 saws with its groundbreaking flesh sensing technology. It recently expanded its lineup with this jobsite saw.

SawStop has sold 50,000 saws with its groundbreaking flesh sensing technology. It recently expanded its lineup with this job site saw.

SawStop, which introduced the woodworking industry’s first flesh-detecting, finger-saving table saw system 15 years ago, finally has a market competitor.

Bosch Tools of Mt. Prospect, IL, recently launched the REAXX portable job site table saw. REAXX features Bosch’s proprietary flesh detecting Active Response Technology previously incorporated in its Brute Tough hammer drill/drivers.

According to Bosch, the REAXX table saw combines sensors and electronics with mechanical injury-prevention systems. Bosch said the Active Response Technology is designed to “rapidly detect human flesh that comes in contact with the blade and drops the saw blade below the tabletop.”

Bosch added that this “high-speed action helps reduce the potential of serious user injury” without damaging the saw blade. After activation, Bosch said the system can be reset in less than 60 seconds by rotating a “two-shot cartridge.”

Tualatin, OR-based SawStop, winner of a Challengers Award for technological innovation at the 2000 International Woodworking Fair, also incorporates a replaceable cartridge that activates the patented safety system’s brake mechanism.

Since its debut, SawStop has repeatedly demonstrated the ability of its system to save fingers at trade shows and on videos by pushing a hot dog sideways into a whirring saw blade.

How does the hot dog remain in one piece with barely a nick to show for the potentially traumatic injury that could have been?

PureBond, hardwood plywood

The Bosch REAXX features Active Response Technology that immediately drops the saw blade below the table when a finger or hand comes in contact with the spinning blade.

According to SawStop’s website, the safety system continually monitors an electronic pulse in the saw blade. When skin comes in contact with the blade, the signal changes because the human body is conductive. Instantly an aluminum brake springs into action. Within 5 milliseconds of having sensed flesh on metal, the spinning blade is stopped and the motor shuts off. The blade’s angular momentum drives it safely beneath the table.

SawStop said resetting the saw requires replacing the cartridge and the saw blade because the braking action typically damages one or more of the blade’s teeth. The user can reset the saw himself within five minutes.

SawStop said it has sold more than 50,000 table saws and has recorded thousands of “finger saves.”

Safety First But Performance, Too

PureBond, hardwood plywood

SawStop has sold 50,000 saws with its groundbreaking flesh sensing technology. It recently expanded its lineup with this job site saw.

While marketers for SawStop and Bosch each trumpet the enhanced safety aspects of their respective job site saws, they also tout their benefits for cutting wood on the job site. Both companies noted portability, cut accuracy and additional safety features in their press releases.

As an added safety feature, Bosch said its REAXX saw incorporates the company’s Smart Guard System designed to offer protection against potentially dangerous kick-backs. The REAXX has a 15-amp, 4-horsepower max motor that spins the blade up to 3,650 rpm. The saw also has a pre-squaring SquareLock rip fence and a sturdy cast aluminum table and rugged sub-base built, Bosch says, to “withstand daily abuse related to transport, storage or job site conditions.”

The 78-pound REAXX saw comes with the Bosch Gravity-Rise Stand, which weighs 45 pounds. The stand includes 8-inch treaded wheels to move the saw around the job site. Bosch says the REAXX table saws will be available to customers this fall at a suggested retail price of $1,499.

SawStop started shipping its jobsite table saw in March. The saw brings the company’s groundbreaking safety technology to a smaller footprint and price point, $1,299 U.S. ($1,499 Canada).

SawStop said its job site saw with a 15-amp universal motor, features One Turn Elevation, allowing the blade to be raised or lowered in one turn as opposed to 25 turns or more with other comparable saws. In addition, SawStop said its ErgoLock facilitates “easy operation, firm lockdown and improved accuracy.” The 79-pound saw comes with a 29-pound wheeled mobile cart.

More Than 30,000 Saw Injuries a Year

PureBond, hardwood plywood

The SawStop system incorporates an aluminum brake that springs into the blade within 5 milliseconds of human flesh touching a saw blade.

While Bosch and SawStop look to woo safety-minded contractors, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) continues to deliberate on potentially creating a national table saw safety rule.
In October 2011, CPSC commissioners voted 5-0 to publish an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on table saw safety. The CPSC said safety improvements are needed to reduce table saw injuries. The commissioners pointed to a CPSC study estimating that emergency rooms treated 67,300 injuries due to blade contact for the years 2007 and 2008 combined. Twelve percent of the accident resulted in amputations; only 2 percent of the accidents occurred in workplaces.

The single biggest contributor of table saw accidents, especially among consumers, is that the saw blade guards are too often “deliberately removed” by the user, CPSC said.

CPSC commissioners have indicated that they might require saws to have flesh detection safety mechanisms. Dr. Stephen Gass, inventor of the SawStop, has lobbied CPSC to do just that since 2003. The Power Tool Institute, of which Bosch is a member, has argued that requiring flesh detection devices would be too costly, especially for less expensive bench top saws.

Patty Davis, a CPSC spokesperson, said staff is preparing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the next phase toward creating a national safety table standard. She added that CPSC staff is about half way done with a survey of saw operators to determine the effectiveness of modular blade guards.

Additional Resources

Bosch REAXX Jobsite Table Saw – http://www.boschtools.com/AboutBoschTools/PressRoom/Pages/031815_reaxxsaw.aspx
Bosch REAXX Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbDf2dpQVIY

SawStop Jobsite Table Saw – www.sawstop.com/jobsite

SawStop Video – www.youtube.com/user/sawstop

Federal Register, October 11, 2011L CPSC Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Table Saws – http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/103269/tablesawANPR.pdf