Cutting concrete with diamond tools began in North America in the late 1940s when flat saws were used experimentally to saw highway joints. Since those early days, many advances in diamond tools and machines allow superior performance, resulting in a dramatic expansion of the market. One of the first leaps in technology occurred in the early 1960s when natural diamonds were replaced with synthetically grown diamonds. This allowed tailor-made crystals in a wide variety of qualities, shapes, and sizes. Today synthetic diamonds have replaced natural diamonds in virtually all construction applications.
Development of synthetic diamonds and higher performance machines necessitated a corresponding advancement in the production of diamond saw blades, core drills, and diamond wire. Diamonds are held in place by a segment or bead, a specially formulated mixture of metal bond powders and diamond pressed and heated in a sintering press. Machines to produce segments and beads have advanced tremendously, allowing longer life and faster cutting. In addition, the technology to attach segments to blades has advanced with laser welding to provide stronger bonds allowing increased performance and lower cost diamond tools.
Read more highlights from 50 Years of Concrete Construction Progress.