Messages

Subject:
The cynic in me sees this differently

ian neuhaus
I'm sure that back in 2011 the major table saw manufacturers were fully aware of the CPSC's position as reported by Hank:

however impressed [the CPSC was] with the SawStop technology, the Commission was not about to mandate a monopoly to benefit SawStop. [Inez] indicated that the Commission would wait until viable alternative technology was available and on the market before proposing regulations to require these kinds of safety features.

If you do the sums (from a manufacturer's perspective) licencing SawStop's technology is no big deal. Wikipedia suggests that licencing the SawStop patents would have added at most 8% to the wholesale price of a table saw. Which is maybe just $7 in respect to the $129 Ryobi RTS10G table saw carried by Home Depot.

BUT based on the example of the Bosch Reaxx (cf Bosch 4100-09), building a portable saw to withstand the forces imposed when the blade retraction / brake feature is activated adds around 50 pounds to the weight of the saw and something like $500 to the wholesale cost.
I can see the manufacturers going "Umm, if we incorporate the technology into all our portable saws, we will effectively remove all sub $1000 (retail) saws from the market. Not many people will buy a table saw if the cheapest option is around $1000." It follows, from the manufacturers' perspective, that delaying the introduction of the technology until SawStop demonstrated a significant market for the technology is not an unreasonable stance.

As to whether the CPSC should regulate for the inclusion of the technology in all table saws, the numbers would appear compelling. "CPSC estimates that the rule could produce annual benefits of [up to] about $2.3 billion in injuries prevented." Based on the treatment costs for a simple bone fracture in a hand (a non-shop injury), CPSC's numbers do not appear exaggerated.

I guess an analogy is windscreen washers for automobiles.
You can't buy an automobile without screen washers, but as far as I know there is no law or regulation that states that you have to put water (or washer fluid) in the reservoir -- i.e use the washers.

And Governments regulate all sorts of things for reasons that are deemed to be "for the greater public good". In the case of the US, the most visible case of "for the greater public good" is probably the maintenance of the military. If I have my understanding of the Constitution right, the founding fathers assumed that the defense of America would be by way of a militia raised in times of need -- hence the 2nd Amendment Right to bear Arms.

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