Jawbreaker blades are used at Precision Marshall Steel to cut Inconel, duplex stainless, titanium and hard tool steels.
Extended LIFE
Cutting through hard alloys like butter while saving time, blades and cash helps manufacturer limit downtime and overtime
By Corinna Petry

ool steels are carbon and alloy steels that are well-suited to shaping other materials. Their suitability comes from their hardness, resistance to abrasion and deformation, and their ability to hold a cutting edge at elevated temperatures.

Working with hard, tough alloys requires other tools that are even harder and more resistant to breakage and erosion. When Precision Marshall Steel sought to reduce downtime due to frequent band saw blade changes and to lower the amount of man hours needed to operate its saws, the company learned about The M. K. Morse Co.’s newest blade, Jawbreaker.

“Jawbreaker is designed to cut superalloys and other very hard-to-cut materials,” says Bruce Woodruff, marketing director for Morse. “It takes advantage of two innovations. The first is patented KerfLock technology,” Sekhar Rakurty, head of Morse research, explains. “Most band saw blades create the kerf by bending the teeth side to side. Premature tooth wear can result as the bend relaxes through the life of the blade.”

With KerfLock technology, the teeth are not bent. The kerf is created by precision grinding the tips to a tolerance twice as tight as those used for set tooth blades. “This results in a constant kerf that extends blade life by reducing tooth wear. It also prevents pinching that can occur as the blade moves through the material,” Rakurty says.

Jawbreakers blade closeup
Jawbreakers don’t have to be “broken in.” Operators can start a new blade at full speed.

The second innovation is Morse’s patent-pending Plyometric Cutting Action. Jawbreaker is the first product to apply this technology. “Optimized for each tooth pitch, the tips stay engaged in the material while cut angles change dynamically. This allows you to cut large billets of hard-to-cut materials and superalloys up to 30 percent faster,” Rakurty says. The combined technologies also extend blade life from 30 to 100 percent. “That creates value.”

the tips stay engaged in the material while cut angles change dramatically.
sekhar rakurty, the M.k. morse co.

Tim Lee, Morse regional sales manager, says the materials that Jawbreaker is intended for include Inconel, duplex stainless, titanium and hard tool steels. “D2 tool steel, for example. Those are some of our primary applications. We have seen greater performance the larger the cross section that the customer is cutting. The benefits of the Plyometric [cutting action] are amplified in those applications.”

Grade to grade

Kevin Dillon, a territory manager for Morse, notes that another key performance aspect of Jawbreaker is that it can cut D2, then cut A2 and other types of tool steel and go back into D2 without pause. “That was impressive. In the past, customers would have to change blades. That is a big deal. By our calculations, customers will be able to eliminate excess man hours and reduce the cost per cut. Over time, they will also be able to see material cost savings.”

Dillon says that Precision Marshall was changing a blade on 32-inch-wide by 2- to 3-inch-thick tool steels every six to eight cuts. In trials, “we were able to complete 60 to 70 cuts per blade.” Once the Jawbreaker was adopted, “We took them from 10 blades a month down to four.”

Full speed

In addition to saving time changing blades, the blade doesn’t have to be broken in. Operators don’t have to start off running the saw at half speed to get the blade to work properly. “You start off at full speed and keep going,” Woodruff says.

According to Lee, trials have proven that Jawbreaker generally cuts 50 percent faster than other blades on these hard metals.

“At Precision Marshall, [Jawbreaker blades] cut 150 percent faster than they were cutting,” he notes. “They were running a lot of overtime, running seven days a week, and overtime costs were high. Now, they are doing the same amount of production in four days that they previously did in seven.” Lee says the company has become more flexible and can take on new customers and additional sawing work.

Hardness scale

Adam Helphenstine, manager of operations at Precision Marshall Steel, Washington, Pennsylvania, described the raw materials that his company typically works with. “We are cutting a wide selection of tool steels and alloys. All these grades are currently in the annealed state, other than on alloy grades where the hardness ranges from 262 to 321 on the Brinell scale; all the other grades max out at 255 on the Brinell scale. The size of our plates are 32 to 36 inches wide and from ¼ to 10 inches thick.

The company’s business model is to market strictly and exclusively to end users via a comprehensive network of independent steel service centers. The most common customers are in tool and die, automotive, mold building, defense industries and medical equipment.

In the past, “blade life was the main problem we had cutting these specialty materials. Jawbreaker gives us extended blade life even when switching between grades; to achieve longer blade life with other blades, we are having to slow feed rate down, causing longer cut times,” says Helphenstine.

Precision Marshall learned about the Jawbreaker from its regular blade supplier and M.K Morse representatives. “M.K. Morse reps said they had these blades and told us we could double feed rates on our horizontal saw. Precision Marshall strives to improve our operations through new and innovative products and procedures to achieve better production rates,” he says.

Speed and productivity were the main reasons for using the Jawbreaker. “It is three times faster, and the blade life is double, and even higher sometimes. We have limited blade changes and downtime. We achieve better turnaround time, better quality. We are now purchasing these blades but we can purchase fewer blades,” according to Helphenstine.

He credits M.K. Morse with sticking very close by during the initial trial period. “They had people on site with us. They worked with our associates and helped us from one blade product to another.”

Woodruff believes Precision Marshall’s experience can be duplicated among its other customers working with hard and tough metals. “The biggest opportunity for our customers is to grow without adding machines or labor. They can also improve overall operating cost. If we can help them do these things, then we’ve done our job.”

The M.K. Morse Co.Canton, Ohio, 330/453-8187,

Precision Marshall Steel, Washington, Pennsylvania, 724/222-2100,