1. Knives are very dangerous.
Failure to follow these basic safety procedures may result in severe lacerations or in some cases, even dismemberment.
Whether the knife is small or large, light or heavy, they all have one thing in common – the cutting blades are all very SHARP. Even a used and dull cutting knife can still cut human flesh very easily. When handling a cutting knife, make sure that you always keep the sharp edge of the blade away from your body at all times. When you are handling a cutting knife you must always make sure you keep the area around you clear of things that can get in your way and clear of other people. Do not touch or rub your fingers across the cutting edge of the knife to try and determine its sharpness – it is sharp!
To prevent any injuries and to prevent damage to the knife edge, when the knives are not installed in a machine they must be in their holders with screws tightened. Never lean a blade up on a wall or lay it on the floor, work area or desk without its proper holder. Check your blade holders to make sure that they are not splintered or worn out and be sure you follow the safety practice of properly labeling the blades by using a Sharp/Dull tag at all times. LA Grinding will always provide the Sharp/Dull tags with every knife purchase and every blade sharpening.
As a cutter operator, you may be aware of all the dangers there are when you are handling an industrial cutting blade, but others around you may not be aware of these dangers. We have heard stories about the night time janitor, the UPS delivery man and the receptionist that were injured when simply walking by an industrial cutter blade that was not secure in its proper holder. Not everyone understands that you are working with a very dangerous and sharp cutting blade.
It is also very important that you never, ever attempt to sharpen, hone, polish, or service the knife in any way. You should always call LA Grinding Company to handle the sharpening of all your industrial cutting blades.
2. Knife Blade Life
Knife blade life, or what we call “the time between sharpening’s”, can be affected by many factors. One important factor is the type of material being cut – yes, the material type and chemical composition of the material being cut will affect the edge life of your blade. Whether the material is abrasive (common in many types of recycled paper being used today), really soft, thin paper like newsprint or even thicker bound books can all significantly shorten the edge life of your blade.
If the blade is not calibrated correctly and the blade depth is set too deep, the blade will cut too deep into your cutting sticks and this will not only dull the edge of your cutting blade, but it can also damage or shorted the life of your cutting sticks. Another factor that determines blade life is the material the cutting blade is made of. An inexpensive blade made with inlaid steel will not have the extended edge life of the more expensive carbide blade (more about material later). Also, adjusting the sharpening angle or bevel of your blade can also increase or decrease the edge life depending on the material being cut. We have knife experts on staff from 7:00AM to 5:00PM Pacific time Monday through Friday so CALL us to determine the best blade material for your cutting needs.
A knife blade should last anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 cuts before it needs to be sharpened. Cutting soft paper (such as newsprint paper) or paper with high post-consumer recycled content can cause the knife to need sharpening after only 2,000 to 3,000 cuts. Cutting pure paper, such as bond paper with no recycled content, or hard paper can allow the knife to be used for as many as 5,000 cuts before it needs to be sharpened. You need to continually check the cut quality to determine when the knife blade needs to be sharpened.
3. When does my blade need to be sharpened?
Here are a few characteristics that indicate your blade needs to be sharpened:
- The knife hesitates or stalls while making a cut.
- The sheets you are cutting are not cut to the same length. This is called draw.
- Cut marks or nicks appear on the cut face of the paper.
- The cut does not appear straight when viewed from the top.
- When nicks are visible on the cutting edge of the knife. This will cause a nick in the material you are cutting as well.
- The blade makes a “rough” or scratching sound as it passes through the material
- The side view of the cut is no longer perpendicular to the table.
4. Have Multiple Blades on Hand
It is always smart to purchase more than one set of cutting knives. You should always have a spare knife available so that you are never without at least one sharp blade that is ready to install and cut. Many of our customers have multiple knives with different bevels.
Make sure you are using the correct cutting sticks for your blade/machine. We have cutting stick experts on staff from 7:00AM to 5:00PM Pacific time Monday through Friday so CALL us to determine the cutting stick for your machine.
5. Proper Knife Care
- To prevent corrosion, some knives are coated with a very light oil. This oil should be removed with caution and care so that it does not spoil the material you are cutting.
- While removing or installing an industrial cutting blade, be careful not to allow the edge of the blade to bump against the machine or anything else. Even the smallest bump will cause a nick in the sharp edge of the blade and this will cause an uneven, unclean cut on your material.
- Always keep the knife bolts securely tightened.
- If a knife bolt is damaged, please replace it immediately. LA Grinding sells bolts for most blades.
- Always use the heavy-duty knife bolt washers that LA Grinding provides with all of the new blades we sell. If you don’t use the correct washers, scratching or imprinting of the clamp face can result.
- Always store your industrial cutting blades in a dry environment. If the get wet they will rust and this can damage the blade.
- Remember, it is also very important that you never, ever attempt to sharpen, hone, polish, or service your industrial cutting knife in any way. You should always call LA Grinding Company to handle the sharpening of all your industrial cutting blades.