Diamond Wire Sawing

The first diamond wire cutting method was developed in England during the 1950’s by electroplating diamond beads threaded onto a multi-strand steel wire. The first diamond wire machines utilized only a single strand of cutting wire, so further technological improvements were needed for hard-rock sawing. Over the course of the last few decades, the process of diamond wire sawing has been developed and refined until it was a commercially accepted way of sawing in certain Italian marble quarries. In 1994, a beta multi diamond wire machine innovated by Yamana Co. in Japan for the use of cutting granite was tested and was equipped with 10 wires, each of which had a bead diameter of 10mm. While it is believed that production machines for multi diamond wire machines were never developed, the MDW machine has become quite popular. Cutters with 30 wires or more are generally used for granite-block cutting where they work alongside more traditional steel-shot gang saws. Some of the machines with fewer wires are used for cutting slabs for various other municipal projects.

What is a diamond wire saw?

A diamond wire is comprised of a loop of high tensile wire and mechanical joiner with a tension element and the cross section of this wire is very much like a stressing strand. A swaging or crimping instrument can be used to connect the end joiner to the wire. These joiners can be removed manually if needed, but can otherwise be permanent as well.

Separated by helical compression springs, steel carrier rings are purposed over the tension wire and on the outer side of the carrier rings are diamonds which are sintered or electroplated to the surface. The final product is coated with an elastomeric compound in order to help protect the components from corrosion as well as helping to retain the components of the wire. Generally, the diameter of diamond wire over the carrier rings can be up to 10 or 11 millimeters.

Diamond wire saws are particularly useful when it is necessary to cut deeply into surfaces because comparatively, a diamond saw can only cut about on third the diameter of the blade. A diamond cutting wire can be disconnected at a joiner and looped around a slab of material in order to cut. In the event that access is not possible, the wire is passed through a small access hole drilled in the material to facilitate cutting. Once the wire has been properly prepared and reattached to the joiner, the wire is continually threaded and reeved around the slab and through various pulleys. Due to the high level of friction created by this cutting, water is added to the cutting process to lubricate, remove, and cool concrete and steel.  As the process continues, slack wire is retracted to a cassette in the cutting machine by the pulley system in the cutting machine. Conversely, the tension and speed at which the diamond wire cuts depend on the hardness of the material cut, and how much steel is available at the time. While a diamond wire will cut through stressing strand, steel sections, reinforcing steel, rock, concrete, and steel plate like a diamond saw, it is relatively quieter in comparison to the standard diamond blade saw.