Every type of concrete cutting tool has a unique application to which it is uniquely suited. By understanding the finer points of each type of saw in your rental inventory, employees will be able to make the best suggestions to your customers, resulting in the most successful rentals. Following are profiles of three very popular rental saws.
Q: What is a cut-off machine and what does it do?
A cut-off machine is a hand-held two-stroke machine used to cut concrete, asphalt and metal. A cut-off machine uses either a composite resin abrasive wheel or a diamond wheel to cut concrete, asphalt and metal in various construction applications, explains Adam Hanks, product manager at Stihl Inc.
Q: How does it differ from other types of concrete saws?
There are many types of concrete saws, from walk-behind floor saws to wall saws and diamond wire saws, just to name a few, says Hanks. "Cut-off machines differ from these other types of concrete-cutting equipment mainly because they are hand-held and can be used for a variety of applications. Most other concrete-cutting equipment is designed for specific applications."
Q: What are the most important things for a rental business to consider when selecting a cut-off machine?
Hanks says one of the most important considerations is reliability. When a cut-off machine is down for maintenance, the rental house is losing money by not having the machine available for rent. A cut-off machine should be reliable enough to stand up to the rigors of construction work, but be very easy to service when the need arises. Spare parts should also be readily available from the manufacturer.
Q: Are there any tips rental businesses can provide customers to get the best performance from a cut-off machine?
There are several things customers should be aware of when renting a cut-off machine. First and foremost, advise them to have the proper personal protective equipment for the job they're doing, Hanks says. Next, be sure customers have the right wheel for the job. "Many diamond and abrasive wheels are designed for a particular application and using a wheel for a job it's not designed for can cause damage to the cut-off machine. When cutting concrete, a customer should always use water to reduce the amount of concrete dust in the air and help cool the wheel in the cut," he advises. "Finally, always use good-quality, name-brand fuel and engine oil in the cut-off machine. Remember, most of the units are two-cycle engines, so the fuel and oil must be mixed."
Q: Is there anything customers should be advised against doing with a cut-off machine?
"Never use carbide-tipped, wood-cutting or circular saw blades on cut-off machines. These blades can cause severe personal injury from reactive forces, blade contact or thrown objects," Hanks says. "Never cut wood of any type with a cut-off machine. Always use the correct personal protective equipment when operating a cut-off machine, even for a short time. Don't take shortcuts with personal safety just to save time. Never operate a cut-off machine without first reading the manufacturer's instruction manual, which should be available at time of rental."
Q: How can cut-off machines be best maintained for longest life?
"Again, good-quality, name-brand fuel is one key to better engine life. A high-quality, two-cycle engine oil should also be used in the correct ratio for the particular cut-off machine being used," Hanks says. "Customers should be reminded that the fuel and oil need to be mixed in the correct ratio for these units to run properly. Because of the abrasive nature of concrete dust, we recommend that the air filters on cut-off machines be replaced, not cleaned. Concrete dust can cause the filter element to wear if it is blown or shaken out, which will allow dust into the cylinder and could damage the engine. Follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance procedure for air and fuel filters."