Sawstop--the wrong marketing approach?

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Well, I don't think it's a conscious thing, no one would say "Wow, I drive worse with an airbag." But it's a well-documented effect that safety in one place can squeeze out into previously unexpected dangers.
The canonical example is with "child-proof" caps on aspirin. Prior to "child-proof" caps, parents were always very careful to keep aspirin where kids couldn't reach them it at all. In 1970 they made "child proof" caps mandatory, and it basically had no effect on aspirin poisinings in kids. The explanation I like best for this is that parents depend on the caps and don't keep the drugs out of reach - but the caps fail (or are used improperly), so some number of kids get poisened anually, anyway. An article about this effect is here:
http://www.libertyhaven.com/politicsandcurrentevents/constitutionscourtsandlaw/marketprotect.shtml
It's a pretty common effect that when a new safety measure is introduced, the law of unintended consequences results in something undesirable happening. Maybe it's a wash (as with aspirin safety caps), maybe it's more desireable than what was happening but less stellar than hoped for. For example, airbags have certainly saved some lives, but they've inflicted injuries and in some small number of cases caused deaths that would've been otherwise avoided. On balance, I suspect we're better with them than without (although I personally wish they were smaller and designed for people who will use them with seatbelts, which are much more effective at preventing injuries in crashes). But it's naive to think that they are an unclouded good.
Just to be clear - I'm actually not arguing against Saw Stop (although I think their current regulatory attempts are misguided, at best). If it had been available as an option when I bought my saw, I'd've definitely gotten one - I'm real big on safety devices. I'd strive to treat my tablesaw with just as much respect as I do now, although it's impossible to say what level of pure terror has anything to do with my current level of safety consciousness ;).
Based on past experience with other safety mandates, though, if it were a required item, I'd be very surprised if we didn't have some sort of other "squeeze out" in injuries - perhaps not nearly as bad as amputations - as a result of unintended consequences from Saw Stops. This is not necessarily an argument against the Saw Stop, it's just a reminder that there are no silver bullets.
-BAT
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Brett A. Thomas wrote:

I think that the real reason is that the caps aren't "child proof". No, the kid's not strong enough to open it with his hand, but he's quite capable of opening it with a pair of pliers, a nutcracker, a screwdriver, a hammer, a knife, a saw, or any number of other varieties of mechanical assistance. The cap and container may not be good for much after he's gotten it open, but you think the kid really cares about that?

http://www.libertyhaven.com/politicsandcurrentevents/constitutionscourtsandlaw/marketprotect.shtml
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snipped-for-privacy@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) writes:

You should ask that question to those who have lost fingers/hands, shouldn't you?
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Why?
scott
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On Tue, 14 Dec 2004 18:51:03 -0800, "ted harris"

ok, ted, your fingers are worth more than a couple hundred bucks. granted.
what isn't known is the rate of false positives. that information *cannot* be known until the machine has been in use in actual workshop use for some time.
how many times would you pay $180 for a cartridge and blade before you started thinking about either replacing the saw or just disabling the thing. a cabinet saw costs about $2000. that's about 11 false positives. if it does it once a month it's costing you something like 4 new saws a year.
how many times HAVE you cut off your fingers on your table saw, anyway?
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On Wed, 15 Dec 2004 14:47:41 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@all.costs wrote:

There's another problem here. Technology which is rushed into wide use by government mandate may not be completely understood and hence not fully developed. This happened with air bags and produced a lot of injuries.
See: http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/90/10/1575
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On Thu, 16 Dec 2004 04:07:55 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com wrote:

I believe that the aspect of the technology that caused problems *was* understood quite early on. Most of the injuries and, in the case of infants and very small children, some deaths occurred because the government bureau- crats in charge refused to back off on the opening force requirements to resolve the problem. Personally, I think that these several individuals should have been prosecuted for their behavior.
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wrote:

While it's a charming suggestion. (I particularly like the idea of Joan Claybrook in the dock for reckless homicide of dozens of children) I don't think it goes to the real root of the problem.
In the case of air bags some people certainly understood the dangers. Early in the campaign for air bags during the Carter administration, Chrysler Corp. produced a study estimating that air bags would kill about 200 people a year. (Fortunately that was way too high -- in part because we developed better sensors before we deployed air bags.) This information was ignored and derided because it came from an obviously partisan source.
The problem is not what a few people know, it is building a consensus that can be acted on. One of the best ways to do that is to conduct enough research and tests to make sure the technology is fully understood and appropriately developed.
The next step should be a full, public and careful review of what we know about the technology and the implications. This simply doesn't happen under present conditions. Instead new technology is often mandated on the basis of an inadequate process conducted in a witch hunt atmosphere.
The third step is to constantly review the regulations and their underlying premises in the light of new evidence -- and a willingness to completely change the regulations when it becomes obvious a different approach gives better results.
Fat chance!
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Also, the government mandates a technology, and leaves the companies out to dry when the technology is rushed into use by law. Airbag suits were not thrown out when someone was hurt or killed by an airbag that performed exactly in the mandated manner.
Grant
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In typed:

If I was worried about false alarms, I would like to find out what testing has been done to prove that it will not misfire. I am quite positive that there are saws somewhere that have been in real woodshops being used in real working conditions since the day it was invented, not to mention possibly even some testing center that was hired to test it. Basically, I am saying that befoe I pursued purchasing the machine I would like to see evidence of testing, or some sort of proof that misfires are some very small percentage or even not possible. I would pay it at least once, and then I would have to figure out whether or not I actually touched the blade, before I pursued other avenues. If I did not touch the blade, I would be on the phone talking to Steve Gass. I am quite sure that he is a reasonable man, and could be convinced one way, cannot be the only way. The reason I know this is because of his invention of the very system we are debating. The system would not even exist if he thought that the possiblity for something that seemed impossible was in fact possible.

Never, but I have touched an alternating tip blade while it was running and not even received a scratch from it.
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On Thu, 16 Dec 2004 19:35:37 -0800, "ted harris"

Which you could do if you had freedom of choice. You wouldn't if the government mandated this thing.

Your faith is touching, but I suspect misplaced. At this point Steve Gass, no matter how reasonable he might be, is deeply emotionally committed to SawStop. His very natural inclination would be to explain away or simply ignore any evidence of problems. So I doubt seriously you'd get any satisfaction from him -- or indeed anyone else in his position.
(My personal belief, based on Mr. Gass' actions, is that he is not nearly as reasonable as you think.)
Financial interest aside, people invest in ideas and once they are deeply invested it is extremely difficult to change their opinions.
--RC
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ted harris wrote:

Where did he get the saws? It can't be retrofitted, after all, so he couldn't have modified an existing saw. So he must have had one designed and hand built "on the day it was invented".

So where's the test report?

Huh? What are you expecting him to do about it? Redesign the whole system because you don't like the way it works? Give everybody who bought one their money back? Free cartridges for the rest of your life?

I don't think it ever "seemed impossible". Just that most people were looking for an American-style fix and he found a Japanese-style fix.

You would have paid the price of a cartridge for that if it had a Sawstop.
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In typed:

That's okay with me, because if I had touched it an inch closer, well you know the rest of the story... You buy insurance don' you? Isn't insurance speculation as well?
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On Thu, 16 Dec 2004 19:35:37 -0800, "ted harris"

from rcooks post:
7) According to the power tool manufacturers, saw makers who tested SawStop reported an unacceptably large number of false responses -- both false positives (tripping unnecessarily) and false negatives (not tripping when it should. They also found a lot of other design issues and pointed out the SawStop would have particular problems with direct-drive or geared saws.

his behavior so far would seem to indicate the opposite.

like a fein multimaster?
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In typed:

Duh! Is there any other possibility?

LOLOLOL...a grizzly 1023Z with a Ridge Carbide TS 2000...
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I may be overly suspicious, but I think the saw manufacturers don't want to put it on their saws because in effect they would be admitting that their previous saws were unsafe.
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On Tue, 14 Dec 2004 12:55:13 -0500, Hank Gillette

Given today's litigatious climate, that's probably a real consideration.
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wrote:

Hank -- Assuming that the technology works, then I can see the saw companies coming to this very conclusion (with a number of twists and turns in the analysis) as a reason to not go that way. After all, they might have offered two lines -- one w/, one w/o. Certainly there is some substantial market out there for this feature. (Of course, as always, there are costing issues.) Actually, I would take a slightly different view than yours: Not so much that adding sawstop would say that past TSs were unsafe, but that a significant market would still want the less expensive saws w/o this dealie and that selling w/ and w/o versions would look bad -- that is what the companies may have concluded.
While car companies have offered air bags as optional equipment on some cars, maybe from a jury perspective a "safe" saw and an "unsafe" saw could not be justified. People think they understand cars; even some of us who use TSs are still working out all the dynamics.
Think about how various safety features of today's cars came to market, from collapsing steering columns, padded dashboards, and crumple zones, to airbags. Generally, there was industry opposition and eventually courts, Congress, or stockholders required them. At least until maybe 10-15 years ago, safety was not embraced; it was eventually accepted, IMO. Think about roll cages in minivans. They make huge sense in light of the fact that minivans are sold to families, yet Detroit did not rush to design them into minivans. IIRC, the feds eventually set a deadline. Sure, there have been some companies to jump on a new safety opportunity -- the Germans and the Japanese often are in this group. But base on looking at what US-based companies bring to market, the _general_ view is that "safety" only sells to a marginal group.
There can be an irony in the law about such things. If the sawstop technology does work and it catches on, then if a company that does not sell sawstop is sued for its "plain" TS, the plaintiff can say, "They could have added this new technology but they refused." OTOH, if the same company had licensed sawstop and then was sued, the fact that it had added a sawstop line would not be admissible in court. YMMV, depending on your state, but that irony exists in many states. FWIW. -- Igor
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A lawsuit may come from any direction. You can just as easily make the argument that a saw company may be sued because it *could* have installed Sawstop but didn't. So I don't believe that fear of lawsuits was the primary rationale for turning down Sawstop. I would bet on cost being the primary reason.

Sure: just look at the reaction in this ng.
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How so? I drive Saab cars in part because they're so safe. I take safety precautions, often with extra expense, with many aspects of my life. But, my adverse reaction to SawStop is that (a) it doesn't exist as a product I can buy, and (b) they want to force me to buy an unworkable solution. Maybe in another 5 years they'll get their shit together and actually be able to sell 'em, and I'll think about buying one, but don't force me to buy something that doesn't work.
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