What would you do with an extra 125 square feet of space in your shop? Just imagine the possibilities.
That’s a good ballpark estimate of the space savings that can be realized by investing in a vertical panel saw to instead of a horizontal saw to size 5 x 10 panels.
The smaller footprint needed to saw vertically as opposed to horizontally – about 75 square feet vs. 200 square feet – is just one of the more obvious advantages of vertical panel saws. Two other benefits that standout are ease of use and operator safety.
Brian Donahue, president of Safety Speed Manufacturing of Ham Lake, MN, said it’s common for first-time vertical saw customers to already have a table saw in their shop. “Unfortunately for us many wood customers start with a table saw so we have to show them the advantages of the vertical panel saw to get their business. Those advantages include ease of use, high accuracy, less space requirements and a safer cutting process than a table saw.
“The ideal customer for a vertical panel saw is anyone processing sheet goods because it allows one person to efficiently handle large sheets in a safe, efficient manner,” Donahue adds. “The individual working on his own always appreciates a vertical panel saw the most, as well as the company that is challenged by limited space. That said our machines are used in all size operations because they get the job done accurately and safely.”
Tom Houska, marketing manager for Safety Speed, rattled off a laundry list of the diverse mix of customers who experience greater productivity and other benefits sizing materials with a Safety Speed vertical panel saw:
- Custom cabinet shops,
- Lumber and home centers,
- Crate and box makers,
- Sign makers,
- Aluminum composite material fabricators,
- Plastic processors
- Store fixture manufacturers, and
- Career and technical education and training facilities.
Donahue elaborated on the popularity of vertical panel saws with sign makers. “We literally have thousands of customers who make signs. Because they are mostly in retail locations space can be expensive and limited,” Donahue said. “Sign makers typically handle a variety of substrates that need to be cut to size. With our saw, they are easily able to accommodate the machine in their store layout.”
Safety Speed also offers compact vertical panel saws that can be toted to jobsites and moved around as needed.
Choosing the Right Saw
Safety Speed offers 15 standard models of vertical panel saws ranging from about $1,500 to $21,000 in price. The company’s website includes the ability to perform side-by-side comparisons of two or more models.
When it comes to choosing the model that will best meet a customer’s requirements, Houska said, “Budget always comes into play but it really boils down to a couple of things: How much the customer will be using the saw on a daily basis and what type of cutting tolerances they require. As you move up our panel saw line up, the motors are more durable and the accuracy increases.”
Donahue suggested that a checklist of vertical saw purchasing questions to ponder includes:
- What substrates are you cutting?
- What is the largest sheet you cut now and might cut in the future?
- How often do you cut sheet materials?
- What is the end-use application?
Houska added that a prospective customer can always count on talking to a knowledgeable “live voice” to guide them through the selection process by phoning 800-772-2327 Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (CST).
Article written by Rich Christianson.
Rich Christianson is the principal of Richson Media, a Chicago-based communications firm focused on the industrial woodworking sector. Rich is the former long-time editorial director and associate publisher of Woodworking Network. During his 30-year career Rich toured more than 200 woodworking plants throughout North America, Europe and Asia and written extensively on woodworking technology, design and supply trends.