HSGM Develops New Knife Design For Vectran® Fiber Fabrics

Heissschneide-Geräte und -Maschinen (HSGM) GmbH, a Germany-based  manufacturer of heat cutters
that also has sales and distribution operations in the United States, has developed a new cutting
blade suitable for hot cutting fabrics made with Vectran® liquid crystal polymer fiber. Hot cutting
involves heating the blade of the cutting tool to a temperature above the zero-strength temperature
of the fiber, which also creates a welded edge as the material is cut.

Manufactured by United States-based Kuraray America Inc., Vectran exhibits properties such as
high cut and abrasion resistance that quickly dull conventional cutting blades and reduce cutting
speed. Kuraray contacted HSGM about the problem through its new materials testing program and sent
some Vectran samples for trials. After tests at its laboratory in Germany, HSGM determined units
HSG-1-VW and HSG-03-VW with blade type HSS15°-7mm to be the most appropriate for cutting Vectran.
According to the company, the cutters also can be used as an alternative to high-speed saws for
cutting rigid composite laminates containing Vectran.

“We found the Vectran very difficult to cut by conventional means,” said Stephan Herrmann,
general manager, HSGM. “However, because of the fiber’s unique thermal properties, we were able to
soon find the right combination of heater and blade design. Comparing hot cutting of Vectran to hot
cutting of aramids, Vectran could be hot cut easier and a little bit faster.”

“With its high cut resistance and other properties, Vectran fiber provides an alternative for
product designers and engineers who want to use high-tech materials but have had problems cutting
aramids,” said Dr. Forrest Sloan, manager, international marketing, Kuraray America’s Vectran

January/February/March 2009