Perhaps the most fundamental piece of equipment required for running a shop in the stone industry, the bridge saw has evolved from a basic, manual model into a computer-controlled, operator-free machine that can complete double the amount of work in half the time.

New market trends are allowing fabricators to serve the growing needs of their customers, and do so quickly and easily, saving them time and money. While manual bridge saws will never be completely replaced, consistently more advanced models are the wave of the future.

Distributed by Braxton-Bragg Corp., the Achilli MultiSystem MBS/CE is designed to cut large marble and granite slabs. This bridge saw features a sturdy 10-hp motor, a laser guide light and digital readout. The head tilt rotation allows the machine to make cuts up to 10 feet, 2 inches long with a blade measuring up to 16 inches. The manually operated head has fixed rotation stops at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees, and it tilts up to 45 degrees to carry out bevel cutting. This machine can achieve cuts up to 100 mm deep with a blade measuring up to 400 mm. The Achili MultiSystem MBS/CE also features a two-speed main motor and motorized X and Y axes with variable speeds from 0 to 7 meters per minute both forward and reverse. Optional accessories include a "pop up" roller table with motorized hydraulic lift to facilitate slab positioning, a water tank with a built-in recycling pump and a laser guide.

The Spiderbreton FR/PC bridge saws from Breton are fully controlled by personal computers operating on a Windows platform. A PC controls all of the operations of both the Spiderbreton FR/PC 700 and the FR/PC 1200, while the innovative control panel with a touch screen display offers the simplest possible command interface. Data engineering operations are extremely easy, and the overall operation of the machine has been greatly simplified. The mechanical characteristics that distinguish the Spiderbreton FR/PC are a cast iron bridge and spindle carriage to ensure rigidity and dampen vibrations; a pair of guides for the spindle carriage, one flat and the other prismatic; a pair of self-braking motors placed at each end of the bridge to guide its movement; and a pinion meshed with a precision rack to control the movement of the bridge on the runways and the spindle carriage along the bridge. The machine's five controlled axes are

not interpolated but can perform simultaneous positioning/displacement. The Spiderbreton FR/PC 700 can hold a diamond blade up to 725 mm, while the FR/PC 1200 can accommodate a blade size up to 1,200 mm. The sawing spindle of the FR/PC 700 can be manually inclined from 0 to 90 degrees, while the spindle of the FR/PC 1200 is automatically inclinable from 0 to 60 degrees. One or two worktable models are available, and in the double worktable configuration, a centrally located entrance to the work area is positioned underneath the bridge guides.

Denver's Skema Bridge Saw 3500, distributed by VIC International, is designed to cut marble, granite and other stones. The saw is constructed with heavy-duty steel. Uniquely, the Skema is a single-unit construction saw, which means the saw only needs to be leveled, not installed by a technician. The single-unit construction offers the same high productivity as other Denver saws and takes up much less shop space. The Skema is capable of working stone slabs with dimensions up to 11 feet, 5 inches long and 5 feet, 6 inches wide. The heavy-duty steel bridge and variable-speed powered feed make this machine reliable and easy to use. The machine features a 121/2-hp main motor, 91/2-inch vertical blade travel, a head tilt of up to 90 degrees with a mechanical hand wheel and a 0- to 90-degree manual head rotation. The Skema has a work surface area of 11 feet, 6 inches x 6 feet and measures a total of 17 feet long x 7 foot, 6 inches wide and 7 feet, 6 inches high. Optional additions include automatic step or multiple cut, automatic pneumatic head rotation, a laser, 15-hp motor, a manual turntable with stops every 45 degrees, pop-up multi-directional rollers, a hydraulic slab loader and training for the software.

The Eclipse 3000 from GranQuartz has a heavier, more rigid bridge, which ensures precise cuts and a blade tilt from 0 to 90 degrees while the motor axis maintains a vertical position. This machine features automated cross travel, 200-mm vertical movement, a mobile keyboard positioned on a blade carriage, a worktable with recessed rollers and height adjustment, and adjustable hand wheel fence and double table extension with pneumatic recessed rollers. The laser guide now comes standard as well. The Eclipse 3000 includes a 16-inch Silent Core GranCut III, 35-mm arbor, and it can handle granite blades with diameters up to 16 inches and marble blades with diameters up to 20 inches. The maximum cutting length is 10 feet and the maximum cutting depth is 6 inches (150 mm). Available options include a water collection/recycling tank with pump and wheels.

An automatic electronic bridge-sawing machine from Gravellona Macchine Marmo (GMM), the Techna 36A, is a basic machine suitable for all workshops. It handles marble and granite and may be operated manually or automatically. The basic version of this machine is supplied with a tilting head from 0 to 90 degrees, a manual rotting table with blocking device from 0 to 360 degrees and the programmer BIAX. Additions such as a laser, a pneumatic slab-blocking bar, an electronic copier with direct mark reading of profile drawings and a programmable motorized rotating table capable of orthogonal cuts are optional. This machine has the ability to execute simple and complex profiles with a choice of finishes. The blade has a diameter of 725 mm, a cutting stroke of 3,600 mm and a vertical travel measuring 44 mm with a cutting depth of 255 mm. The table is 1,600 x 3,300 mm, and the motor is 30 hp. The Techna 36A is distributed by Bergman-Blair Machine Corp. of Oyster Bay, NY.

Johnson Marble Machinery offers a new bridge saw designed as a premier high-volume workhorse - the B-300. The B-300 bridge saw is made in the U.S. and features steel beam construction, digital readout, laser alignment, a 10-hp arbor motor, a 0- to 90-degree titling head assembly and a turntable with pneumatic locks. With fingertip controls, the B-300 provides maximum cutting accuracy and minimum material handling, adding to the bottom line profitability of each project. Perfect for any size shop, the B-300 is able to do a rough profile on ogee or bullnose edges. A power gantry and carriage feed allow integrated rack and gear drives to extend for 12 feet of horizontal cutting and 13 feet of lateral movement of the gantry. A control panel with a joystick and emergency stop button allows variable speeds on the elevation as well as cross feed and gantry movement. The B-300 is also offered with options such as a wireless radio remote control, hydraulic tilting and rotating table, programmable logic controller automation and a frequency inverter. This saw requires 20 x 18 x 12 feet of floor space, and blades measuring 14 to 16 inches are recommended.

The K2-Star compact bridge saw from Kolb utilizes German technology to provide a quality advantage. With its sturdy construction, simple operation, quick installation and numerous options, this machine can be built to the customer's requirements, adjusting to fit many needs. The saw is capable of cutting lengths up to 3,000 mm at depths of up to 120 mm. The blade diameter measures 400 mm, and the machine's table is equipped with swiveling stop sockets. The K2-Star also features options such as tilting heads from 0 to 45 degrees, lifting multi-directional rollers, a digital display of the bridge position and motorized raise and fall of the blade with automatic step cutting. Equipped with water tanks and a pump, this machine works independent of an external water supply. The K2-Star compact bridge saw is distributed by KB Diamond, based in North Hollywood, CA.

Manufactured for cutting and squaring marble and granite in slabs or thick strips, the LT FP/600 from Levi Tunisi features a bridge made of electro-welded steel in a twin-beam structure that has been reinforced to guarantee strength and the total absorption of vibrations. The automatic programmable bridge moves on interchangeable hardened steel guides that are protected with oil. The bridge can be controlled from the main control panel or manually moved with a hand wheel. This system guarantees the highest level of precision and performance time, eliminating the cost of revisions. The head unit slides on double V-shaped guides, and its movement is controlled by a gear motor with double rack and pinions. An anti-friction agent is applied between the slides of the trolley and the sliding guides to prevent wear, thus assuring the highest precision and the best output of the disc. The 360-degree turntable has guided locks at the 0-, 45-, and 90-degree positions. All of the main controls are located on a hanging push-button panel for easier use. Available options for the LT FP/600 include a cut-marking laser, a slide for inclined step cuts, an electronic programmer, a motorized table, a titling table, pneumatic blocks and an inverter for the disc motor.

The L¿ffler TB600 Bridge Saw can be fitted with modem optimization technology and related enhancements for the larger fabricator so that the best use can be made of each slab. Other optional enhancements include self-diagnostics with modem for remote operation, color matching and production control. For the smaller fabricator, this machine assures the highest standard of German quality. Precision Stonecraft, a division of Diamant Boart, Inc., distributes this saw.

Also from this distribution team is the FP 500 RX from Simec, known as the "Little Big Star." Created for the specific requirements of small fabricators, this new Simec bridge cutting machine applies the newest technological solutions to make stoneworking fast and easy. Characterized by great precision, this machine features rapid movement and a disc that can be inclined from 0 to 90 degrees (vertical to horizontal). It is also simple to use. The control push-button panel rotates 180 degrees, allowing the operator to choose the most comfortable observation position. The FP 500 RX has a 19kW disc motor, and a 350-mm spindle vertical run.

The America from Marmo-elettromeccanica USA/Regent Products is a bridge saw with no base structure. Made with a new concept for marble and granite working, its robust steel structure guarantees precision, quality and a large output. The machine features a bridge complete with blade carrier and a revolving bench with a steel base and pneumatic blockages in all positions from 0 to 360 degrees. It can handle blades with diameters measuring 400 to 625 mm and is capable of cutting dimensions of 3,600 x 3,600 mm and 140 mm deep. The blade carrier can be manually inclined from 0 to 45 degrees with a mechanic reducer and handle. The America also has a laser beam to trace positioning of the blade on the slab as well as an automatic cutting program and control panel. Options available on request include a hand-held mobile keyboard for manual commands, a 20-hp blade motor, a hydraulic tip-top table device to facilitate loading slabs, a spindle for polishing slab surfaces, an electronic copier for reproducing profiles and a satellite with four abrasive rollers for polishing granite.

The HT0-1B from Marmo Meccanica can manually, semi-automatically or automatically cut one or two overlying slabs. It features a double-beamed bridge in oversized structural steel; sliding overhead support mounted on two oiled and protects guide saddles; a vertically fixed bench for stability; a command panel supported by an adjustable arm; a programmer with a high luminance screen; and a flat, flanged disk motor. The 101/2-kw motor can be manually tilted from 0 to 90 degrees. Rack and pinion gearing with helicoidal teeth ensures smooth movements while reducing play and wear. The machine can accommodate blades with a 300- to 600-mm diameter. The blade's running depth measures 455 mm. Optional accessories include a 14-, 171/2- or 21-kW disc motor; a manually tilting disc motor set using a geared hand wheel; programmable automatic step-cutting routines; a program for template operations; hydraulically tilting bench; bi-directional retractable rollers for the bench; digital display for bench angle; laser cutting guide and steel walls.

The Matrix GSC-2001 bridge saw is constructed using the highest-grade components such as a powerful 20-hp direct drive Italian sawing motor, precision ground saw bridge, German-made laser, Amperage meter for maximum cutting efficiency and direct drive DC-Electric motors with fingertip speed control for all drive motors. The heavy-duty rotary saw table features four positive stop locks for accurate angle cutting and the Any Angle Position Lock for easy angle set-up. A remote control pendant and electric water control valve make this machine convenient for the operator as well. The saw's bridge is 17 feet long and the table measures 10 x 6 feet with a 360-degree rotation. The GSC-2001 has a maximum 138-inch horizontal cutting stroke and a 10-inch vertical stroke length.

The Z-Max, also by Matrix, features some of the same components, such as the direct drive Italian sawing motor, precision ground saw bridge, German made laser, and direct drive DC-Electric motors with fingertip speed control. This model comes with a 10-hp motor, but is capable of making cuts at the same length and depth as the GSC-2001.

An accurate mitering gantry saw, the Cougar from Park Industries could serve as the backbone of a shop, according to the company. This diamond saw is available with a 10- or 15-hp arbor motor and a unique slide bearing system, which maintains rigidity unsurpassed in similarly priced machines, and assures superior, straight clean cuts. The machine features a heavy-duty construction for accuracy, durability and long life, as well as powered rack and pinion and variable speed cutting motions to produce a cut surface that requires less edge work and extends the diamond life. With a 12-foot cut length, a full slab can be cut on the Cougar, reducing positioning time. A six-inch manual blade raise and lower for step cutting and blade positioning is also included.

Also from Park Industries is the Jaguar, a gantry diamond saw designed with the custom fabricator in mind. Recognized for its precision and high-production fabrication, as well as straight line profiling, the Jaguar features a powerful 25-hp arbor drive motor for both 14- to 24-inch and 32- to 36-inch diamond blade applications. Industrial grade components assure durability, extended saw life and superior accuracy, and the automatic lubrication system reduces maintenance and mechanical adjustments. Available in four control packages, including the C4000 straight-line profiling group, this versatile machine will meet your production demands.

Pedrini's M 940 bridge saw handles anything from simple cuts to the most sophisticated shapes. The machine's structure is sturdy due to its large dimensions, and since an inverter and encoder control positioning, the cuts are always precise. The saw is easy to maneuver and program, and it includes such safety features as fixed covers on all sliding units and automatic stop for water flow interruption. An electrical panel is included, which houses the numeric control, the PC continuity unit and inverters for the motors of the X, Y and Z axes as well as the disc motor. The control panel is mounted in a convenient and safe position on a revolving support. It is comprised of the industrial PC, which controls six movement axes; a push-button panel with manual controls and a touch screen color monitor. The M 940 machine is also available in versions without numeric control, and with or without titling heads.

The Model 515 series of bridge saws from Sawing Systems also tore it up. Available with 7.5- to 10-hp motors and up to 18-inch maximum blade diameters, these saws are adjustable and can be used for a variety of purposes. The Model 515-C gantry saw can be ordered with a hand wheel to raise and lower the blade or a power raise and lower. The 6- x 10-foot turntable comes in a standard or tilting version with optional piers. The 10-hp motor on this model also powers the feed.

The Plana/S from Terzago is a stable, long-lasting bridge cutting machine designed to cut slabs of marble, granite and other stones. The machine features interchangeable rail levels with guards, a table that rotates with brushless motors and can be positioned with accuracy to the hundredth, and the speed of an electric spindle with a reduced-size motor controlled by an electronic variator connected directly to blade. The unit runs on refaced chrome guides, protected from dust and water by blowers. The head inclination is motorized, and the automatic stops are displayed in hundredths and degrees. A watertight electrical cabinet houses the main switch, CNC/LCD electronics and keyboard. The five axes are numerically controlled and run by the PC, but the right-to-left movement of the slide, the back-and-forth movement of the bridge, the up-and-down head movement and the table rotation can be carried out manually. A laser beam facilitates positioning of the blade on the cutting line, and a flow meter stops the machine if cooling water is insufficient.

The Zonato FPZ 500 bridge saw, distributed by International Machine Corp., comes with stand-ard features such as a 15-hp direct drive main motor, a 12- x 7-foot cutting table and a variable speed gantry and cross travel. The FPZ 500 also has a table that locks in any position and a digital display for bridge movements. Optional accessories include a 0- to 90-degree manual blade miter, a laser sighting system, a movable remote control panel arm, a tilting hydraulic turntable, a two speed motor for marble and granite and an automatic program system. The Zonato FPZ 500 can also be further customized according to the customer's specifications.