TWI, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK, has for the past two years been partnering with C4 Carbides, Newmarket, Suffolk, UK, on the ‘SmartTeeth’ project. Funded under InnovateUK Project Number 105745, the SmartTeeth partners are using Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) to fuse super-abrasive powder and form tooling grade hard materials into net-shape cutting teeth for saw blades.
For high-performance cutting blades, the most common tooth tip material is tungsten carbide. However, a ‘tipped’ blade traditionally uses less than 1% of the starting quantity of high value wear material, with the rest either machined off during the manufacturing process or left on the substrate and subsequently discarded when the sharp edges are worn.
The SmartTeeth project aims to leverage the design freedom of Additive Manufacturing to create a new generation of saw blades with complex cutting tip designs with performance unparalleled by traditional manufacturing. It also aims to deliver environmental benefits such as material savings of 70-80% and energy and production savings of over 50% when compared to conventional carbide saw blade manufacturing.