Wire saw

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Wire saw in a stone processing company cutting a stone block into so-called tranches
large wire saws in a quarry

Wire saws cut workpieces by pulling a saw wire through the material. The saw wire usually revolves and is driven by an electric motor. During the revolution, the saw cord is kept under tension by movable pulleys. Today saw ropes are usually set with ring-shaped diamond segments at short intervals. The diamond wire saw was first used in 1984.

Objects of almost any size can be divided. The drive unit is comparatively small and mobile because, unlike other saws, no saw blade is used that requires a guide.

Areas of application

The use of a wire saw makes sense where the object to be cut is difficult to access and has to be cut on site, since transport is not possible or only with difficulty.

Almost all quarries for quarrying ashlar use wire saws to separate and cut blocks of natural stone from the rock.

In construction, openings of almost any shape can be cut into existing structures, even in steel-reinforced components. When renovating a building , the wall can be cut open horizontally in sections using a wire saw in order to subsequently introduce water-impermeable separating layers to block off rising capillary water for the purpose of sealing the masonry .

Wire saws are also used for salvaging shipwrecks, i.e. for sawing steel. The saw cord with Widia- studded cylindrical sleeves, which was developed for cutting the nuclear submarine cruiser K-141 Kursk , was then used in 2003 to saw the Tricolor car transporter.

Wire saw when cutting a block of stone in the quarry

Sawing technology

Saw wire with diamond beads and spacers made of steel springs

From around 1895, wire saws with spiral ropes powered by diesel engines were used in Italian marble quarries . The long ropes have improved cooling during the cut.

It was not until much later that the steel cables were armored by steel sleeves that were pushed over the inner core of the cable. The sleeves are usually filled with hard materials . For the processing of mineral building materials and natural stone , the sleeves are filled with small diamond fragments. A typical diamond wire has an outside diameter of about 8 mm and the sleeves are each about 2.5 centimeters long. Diamond wires are cooled with water during use. Steel springs or plastic sleeves can be located between the cutting sleeves.

An endless rope runs from the drive unit over pulleys to the workpiece and is kept under tension by the drive unit or pulleys. The speed of a diamond saw wire is 8 to 16 m / s, depending on the material.

Extraction and processing of natural stone

In the quarry , a horizontal and a vertical hole are first made, which must meet exactly. The rope is threaded through these holes. The ends of the rope are then connected to form an endless ring. In addition to diamond wire saws, helicoidal saws are also used to cut the raw blocks , in which the actual cut is carried out using abrasive particles that are merely carried along by the movement of the wire.

Stone processing companies use wire saws to cut blocks of stone that are too big for the gang saw . So-called tranches (large-format, unedged panels from approx. 8 cm thick) are mainly cut. Contour wire saws with a swiveling saw unit are used to cut out a wide variety of shapes (comparable to an oversized fretsaw ).

Concrete saw technology

An abandoned quarry with vertical and horizontal surfaces cut with a wire saw.
Circular wire saw cutting in concrete

In the construction industry, sawing technology is used to make larger or specially shaped cutouts in components or workpieces. Circular wire saws are used to create large round openings where other methods are no longer practical (diameter from about 1 meter) or when the places are very inaccessible. The diamond-studded wire saw is often driven electro-hydraulically and cooled with water.

Other stone sawing techniques

See also


Reiner Flassig: stone saws . In: Educational center for the stonemasonry and sculptor's trade (ed.): The manual for daily work with natural stone. P. 329 ff., 2nd, revised. Edition Ebner-Verlag, Ulm 1994.