For over a decade SawStop has gained dominance in the tablesaw market with its unique flesh-sensing, blade-stopping safety mechanism. And until now, no other manufacturer has had any similar technology on the market to compete with that. Today Bosch announced it will launch this fall Reaxx, a 10″ job-site tablesaw with a flesh-sensing blade-drop safety mechanism. It will sell for $1,499 (MSRP). I got a sneak peek at this saw in action during a media event hosted by Bosch in February, but could not officially comment on it until now. It’s quite impressive. To see the saw in action, watch this video provided by Bosch (note: turn down the volume).
The key to Bosch’s safe saw is a device that uses similar technology that Bosch’s auto-parts division uses to deploy air bags in automobiles. (Nice to have sibling companies sharing technology.) With this saw, when the blade senses a finger (or any flesh), the device fires a cartridge that immediately and oh-so-speedily drops the blade completely below the table surface, leaving the user with only a slight scrape or skin nick. Unlike SawStop—which ruins both blade and brake cartridge—the Bosch flesh-detecting Active Response Technology kills the power and lets the blade coast to a stop safely within the cabinet, preserving it for future use. After activation, the system can be reset in less than 60 seconds. The brake cartridge has two “activation” cells, so all you do is flip it over and use the other after an activation. Replacement cartridges will cost about $100. More good news: This safety device works for dado sets as well as 10″ blades—no need for separate cartridges. All necessary parts, instructions and wrenches are located onboard the saw, including storage for extra activation cartridges.
An electronic control module with four colored lights not only turns the saw on and off, but also gives you helpful input as to the saw’s state of readiness:
• Green means the saw is ready for use.
• Yellow means the system is set in bypass mode by the operator; this mode is used for cutting conductive materials that could potentially activate the Active Response Technology system. In addition, there’s no override key to lose or misplace, yet it still offers various lock-out options to prevent unauthorized bypass mode operation.
• Red means the saw is not ready and will not function until the user corrects an issue.
• Blue means the saw requires service from a Bosch-authorized technician.
A smartphone app allows you to program and lock out some of these features, helpful if you want to limit who can bypass the safety mode or operate the saw when you don’t want.
—Bob Hunter, Tools Editor, WOOD Magazine
It seems like every time I speak with someone at Bosch, they’ve got new tools to tell me about. Last fall I was fortunate to tour Bosch’s worldwide headquarters in Germany, as well as four production facilities, and the thing that most impressed me about this German-based company is that it’s made a commitment to reinvest 8% of its sales into research and development for new products. Well, I just returned from Bosch’s North American headquarters in Chicago, and I saw that commitment carried out in the launch of nearly four dozen new power tools, measuring tools, and accessories for woodworking, construction, metalworking, and concrete. You’d never know there was a recession in the U.S. based on Bosch’s output. I’ll focus on the tools most applicable to woodworking.
The biggest splash, in my opinion, is the launch of a plunge base for the Bosch Colt palm router. Read more
Categories: wood | Tags: 12 volt, 18 volt, 23 gauge, blade, Bosch, Colt, Daredevil, hammer drill, hammerdrill, impact driver, jig saw, jigsaw, jigsaw blade, miter saw, mitersaw, multi-tool, pin nailer, pinner, planer, plunge base, router, tools
My whirlwind tour of Bosch’s corporate offices and manufacturing facilities in Europe continued from Germany into Switzerland.
Like most large companies in the world, the Robert Bosch Company has grown not only through innovation and development of its own product lines, but also through acquisitions of existing companies. For example, in recent years Bosch has acquired Sia Abrasives, a Swiss-based company making sandpaper and other abrasives for many industries, and also Freud, the Italian business that makes cutting tools (saw blades, router bits, shaper cutters, etc.) and produces its own carbide.
My next stop was the former Scintilla company headquarters in Solothurn, Switzerland. Read more
On my second day in Germany to learn about the Robert Bosch Company, I discovered a great deal more about the man who founded the company, as well as a little bit about his tools from the early days and in today’s market.
At the Bosch Archives (which is more like a Bosch museum, but they had already named it before I arrived) I enjoyed a guided tour through the facility from the curator. He told me about how Robert Bosch, born in 1861 in the area near Stuttgart, Germany, grew up with a desire to be a precision mechanic. He studied under a number of established practitioners in Germany and the U.S. (including Thomas Edison), and later found his calling making parts for internal combustion engines. His magneto, the part that generates the spark needed to burn the fuel in the engine cylinders, was his signature product, and his business grew well from that. That magneto is visible today as a cross section in the Bosch company logo. (Run out and grab a Bosch tool and study it, or just look at the photo here of one of the original magnetos, and you’ll see the logo in the cross-section of the armature.)
I’ve always appreciated Bosch power tools for their quality, performance, and durability, but I’d never really studied the history of the Robert Bosch Company. So to get a better idea of what makes this company so successful—and not just in the U.S., but also throughout the world—I’ve traveled to Europe to find out. I arrived in Frankfurt, Germany on Sunday, and then drove to Stuttgart, home of the company since the beginning 125 years ago.
On Monday, I visited the corporate headquarters of Bosch. Read more
Never a company to sit back and rest after launching a line of tools, Bosch instead keeps on finding ways to make their tools better. I spent two days this week at Bosch’s U.S. headquarters in Chicago getting a first-hand look at new cordless drills, random-orbit sanders, a benchtop tablesaw, measuring tools, and lots of other tools related to construction and concrete work.
Categories: wood | Tags: 12 volt, 18 volt, benchtop, Bosch, brute, compact, cordless, drill, hammer drill, jobsite saw, laser, measuring, orbit, random, sander, saw, scanner, tablesaw, tools
Despite covering what seemed like dozens of acres of exhibits of tools and such on the first day of the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, the second day brought just as many booths and setups packed with new woodworking products. Here’s some of the highlights:
• The word “innovation” gets tossed around with nearly every new tool launch in this industry, but in many cases the innovations are a judgment call. However, Bosch’s new 12-inch sliding mitersaw truly is innovative because instead of the traditional tubular rails it uses a hinged, articulated arm system with ball bearings for sliding back and forth very smoothly. Because of that, this saw can sit up against a wall and the articulated arm simply folds up; a typical sliding mitersaw needs 6 to 10 inches of rear space for the rails. This saw has many of the features Bosch is known for (front-mounted bevel controls, miter detent override, tall fences, and large miter and bevel ranges). I first saw this mitersaw over a year ago when I was at Bosch’s headquarters for a behind-the-scenes look, and I knew right away it was revolutionary. It will be on the market this fall, selling for $799.