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Bosch unveils breakthrough with flesh-detecting saw

The rumor began to swirl last summer. A manufacturer was close to bringing a saw to market with flesh-detecting technology to rival SawStop. And they were true as Bosch introduced the Reaxx jobsite table saw, model GTS1041A, in March. The saw will be available this fall and demonstrated July 22-25 at the AWFS fair in Las Vegas.

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The saw offers two levels of protection, according to product manager Craig Wilson. It features a modular blade guard system, Smart Guard, which serves as a physical barrier to the blade and prevents kickback. The second is through Bosch’s Active Response Technology, a system that retracts the blade after the user makes physical contact with the blade.

“The way our system works, there’s an outer rim to the blade inside the machine that’s processing for different input. The input is programmed to allow cutting material like wood, but not for cutting material like fingers,” Wilson says. “So if there is any human touch it will be able to recognize that. We use an activation cartridge that forces the blade to drop down and away from the user at a really high speed.”

The activation cartridge, Wilson explains, is prompted by the same technology featured in an automobile airbag, which creates a charge that fires a piston that immediately drops the blade down into the saw. The system can be reset in less than 60 seconds after activation. The cartridge can be activated twice before replacement is needed.

“Another huge benefit of this system is that it doesn’t damage the blade, which also allows the tangible user benefit of a quick reset time. When we did our research behind designing this, we learned from workers that after a cut or a very close call, at the end of the day they still had to finish the job. So being able to get back to work and complete the job is really a huge benefit to the end user.”

The Reaxx has features similar to the Bosch model 4100 job-site saw, including a 4-hp motor and cast-aluminum table. It comes with an outfeed table, sold as an accessory with model 4100.

The saw also has a dashboard control panel, featuring LED lights to indicate whether the saw is ready to use (green), the Active Response system is in bypass mode (yellow), there’s a problem for the user to correct (red) and professional service is required (blue).

“Even though the system prevents user injury, we don’t want it to be too complex or complicated that the user will shy away from it. It’s intuitive, easy to use and understandable to our users,” Wilson says.

Wilson says user feedback will help determine additional applications for the safety technology. The same sensors and electronics are used in Bosch’s Brute Tough hammer drill/drivers, introduced previously, according to Wilson.

The Reaxx will retail for $1,499.

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This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue.

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