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  • Holmatro 3020 cutter blades broke

    Just wondering if anyone had any trouble with the 3020UL Blades. We had one break, blades purchased new in 2004. I understand they break. this was a normal 90 degree hinge cut and we were suprised. Had tools for over 17 years with no problems. The old blades just scared up.

  • #2
    Take a look at the inside blade surface, where the two blades make contact. 95% of the time when they break (any brand) it is because something has gotten between the blades and caused them to separate. This either happens because the hinge bolt is not correctly torqued, due to improper or lack of maintenance, or something hard got between the blades. Typically on a door hinge, if proper attention in not paid to blade positioning, the blades will be placed crossways on the hinge pin, which is hardened, and it will almost everytime slide between the blades and cause breakage.
    This was shown to me by a Hurst rep and a Holmatro rep. Coincidentally, it was a 3020 UL that broke on us. After the lesson, the rep replaced our blades for free. He said it was up to him and he looked upon it as a learning experience for the tool users.

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    • #3
      When I first read this post that was my thought as well.I haven't heard any reports or bulletins on excessive blade breakage on the 3020 or any of the rest of the Holmatro line.But as the tools get stronger to cut the new materials they become less tolerant of "side loading"or things being where they don't belong.And maintaining the proper pin torque is an important but often overlooked maintence item.Keep us informed of your findings. T.C.

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      • #4
        The rep is telling me nothing they can do for me. I sent an e-mail to holmatro early this week but no reply yet. We put our old blades back on for now.

        Right now it looks like I'll have to buy a new blade. To be honest, the way it broke has caused me to loose some faith in them.

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        • #5
          One thing to keep in mind is previous damage to the blades.. It is possible the cutter blade was weakened / damaged in the past. Every time you cut you are stressing the blades. I remember using our cutters to cut a re-inforced door beam. About two months later we were training and tried to cut a set of hinges and a blade broke. The blade was weakened and we did not know.

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          • #6
            All of the "rage" these days seems to be that people want to cut hinges instead of spreading them apart. For years we avoided cutting harded metal because of potential damage to our cutter blades. But then someone started demonstrating tools by showing people that their tools can cut a hinge, and then claim that no one else can do that. So the other companies had to step up their programs so that they could cut hinges too. In reality, they could have been cutting hinges all along, but that was avoided so that you did not have a tool break during a demo.

            I think there is a lesson to be learned here. I know it is often faster and easier to cut a hinge. It may often even be safer to shear metal apart as opposed to tearing it apart. However, you need to keep in mind that the forces used to shear metal with a hydraulic cutter are often much higher than what you use by a spreader to break a hinge apart. Always remember that when force is applied to one place, an equal amount of force is displaced elsewhere. That is the process that causes things to come apart. In this case, the thing that came apart was not the intended target, and a blade came apart instead of a hinge.

            I am not saying what was done was wrong. It is just my opinion that you need to consider all options before you commit any tool to a task and balance the pros and cons of each option. I will assume that cutting the hinge was the best option in this case and because of that I am dissapointed that Halmotro is not willing to replace the broken blade. If this is the case, it is something to keep in mind when making a decision on how to address a hinge in the future. You might want to ask yourself if the risk of breaking the blade worth the need to make that cut instead of trying the spreader first?
            Last edited by MetalMedic; 09-15-2006, 02:51 AM.
            Richard Nester
            Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

            "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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            • #7
              If I can get at a hinge, i'll cut it, 100% of the time.
              If I can't get at it, i'll work at getting at it.
              I've never seen a door move more than a few inches when hinges are cut. I've seen them move a few feet when they're spread off.
              Either way, be careful of springs and whatnot.

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              • #8
                Patient safety considerations

                I have done thousands of demo's, many times during a hinge cut, some pieces may load up and fly off. Recently during a training session with live patients, I enforced the use of hard protection between a patient and the door during a hinge cut evolution. To make a long story short the short backboard placed to protect the patient received a great blow from the hinge center pin becoming dislodged.

                I agree hinge cutting is one way, as is spreading, but again play safe, rescue should be completed using as little force as possible. Less force less reaction, live longer.
                "Training Today for a Better Tomorrow"

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                • #9
                  To be honest, the way it broke has caused me to loose some faith in them.
                  Blades break. I've heard of blades breaking from all different brands- they break for many reasons as mentioned earlier- incorrect use, incorrect maintenance, previous damage, etc.

                  No reason to lose faith in one brand....


                  I've never seen a door move more than a few inches when hinges are cut. I've seen them move a few feet when they're spread off.
                  Excellant point...
                  Luke

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                  • #10
                    Looks like I'm getting a price break on a new blade or blades. I guess thats all i can expect.

                    next question is should I replace 1 or 2. The other has wear on it. Have any of you ever brought one to a machine shop to get the marks out?
                    I'm talking about a professional.

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                    • #11
                      In rereading this thread one thing just jumped out at me.You said this is your first blade breakage in 17 years,the old ones just scarred up.Tools of 17 years ago were never designed to cut hinges.I realize this tool that broke was an '04 but was the pivot bolt/pin regularly torqued? That can be a big factor in blade failure. Been a very interesting thread,causes you to think about some stuff that otherwise might pass by. T.C.

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                      • #12
                        First break in 17 years. I don't know how detialed I can get here,( Bashing is not my style ) but to shed some light for you I'll try to tell the tale.
                        We stayed away from hinges and nader pins for years until the guy in the holmatro Truck came for a visit. "Get these new blades and you don't have to avoid hinges and pins". That's what we did. No other special instructions came with them. They were installed by the local sales rep who has factory training. We got the impression to install and go at it.

                        From reading the replies here, we were not educated as we should have been.
                        live and learn.

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                        • #13
                          I'm most familiar with the Holmatro line but I've run about everything else out there.In my many contacts in the business,when you hear of blade breakage it's usually because of prior damage,poor care(torqueing etc)twisting or the very occasional defective product.There can be other factors but these are the ones I hear most often.If you follow my threads at all,I personally am NOT a fan of cutting hardened parts.Yes,I know the new gen tools can do it but as a kid brought up in auto/truck service and towing I know what hard parts do and you can't convince me it's a good idea to cut them unless it's a last resort.I know that's NOT the norm today,but I didn't start cutting cars today,I started with a hacksaw ans a porto-power.So if they ever come up with a "hard"answer to what caused your's to fail,I'd be VERY interested in knowing about it.This ought to cause a flurry of responses from the pro cut crowd. T.C.

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                          • #14
                            There goes another one!!!

                            With regards to breaking blades...if one blade breaks, its always considered preventative maintenance to replace both blades at the same time. Reason is that if one blade was over-stressed enough to break, the other blade was also over-stressed and probably will not be far from going also.

                            I've had experience with Holmatro blades breaking, even on their new 4050NCT cutters with cutting door hinges. I believe it is mainly due to the type of "plate steel" that most manufacturers are using to make blades. It is a very hard material, with very little ability to accept shock during high strength cuts.

                            I understand Hurst is using some sort of alloy instead of steel on their new cutters. I hear it doesn't break as often, but I can't believe anything will never break.

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