Noise management: Combination machine

This publication is for: 
Employee / workerEmployer

This educational article has been developed to assist in the management of noise from combination machines. 


  • Keep buzzer/thicknesser blades sharp. 
  • Use the correct type of saw blade with teeth spacing to suit the task. 
  • Check the machine for vibrating covers. Secure if necessary. 
  • Check dust extraction system (where fitted) for loose fittings where ducting attaches to machines. 

Noise control

  • Use quieter saw blades. 
  • Use combination machine away from main work areas (if fitted with wheels), or perform sawing operations in an isolated machine room. 
  • Fill air cavities around the buzzer blade with silicon sealant to reduce the free running blade noise. 
  • Fit a cutting head to the plane/thicknesser mechanism that has a centrifugal type-locking device on the blades which does not 'chop the air' as much. On some machines it may be possible to slot the edges of the bed. This reduces air turbulence and the chopping effect of the blade.

Operator control

  • Feed in work gently, letting the blade cut at its own speed. Keep the timber flat against the bed and avoid twisting timber. This also extends blade life. 
  • When using machine as a buzzer or thicknesser, take shallower cuts out of the timber. If the blades start to stall or the RPM of the machine is drastically reduced when feeding timber, the cut may be too deep. 
  • If noise level of combination machine is known, schedule exposure to machine so as not to exceed the daily exposure standard. 


  • Purchase pre-machined timber where possible. 
  • Investigate alternative methods for performing the work. If the noise levels produced by the combination machine are lower on softwoods than hardwoods, use softwoods if practicable. 
  • Newer machines produce less noise and are designed to incorporate the latest noise reduction devices. If considering replacement, request noise level data sheets (under section 23 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act) on the proposed machine from the supplier. If possible test run several different types of machines and blades by feeding the same size timber through them and observing the noise produced. 
  • Select the quietest combination that suits your requirements. 
  • The machine's country of origin often has a bearing on the noise level it produces. Countries that have strict noise level regulations normally produce quieter equipment. 

Adapted from the Noise Control Manual for Schools with the permission of the Education Department of Western Australia. 

Fact sheet
Last updated 21 May 2014

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