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Machining The Super Material—Titanium

Machining The Super Material—Titanium

Anyone who has machined the super-material titanium knows it can be something of a trouble-maker if not handled properly. Chips do not break, heat does not dissipate, edges build up – these are the difficulties that titanium creates when machined. On the uptick, titanium has outstanding properties that make it a hot favourite in aviation, motor racing and medical engineering, so it is well worthwhile amassing some know-how beforehand. Article by ARNO Werkzeuge.

The history books make no mention whether the chemist Heinrich Klapproth named the element titanium after the deity of Greek mythology because of its divine properties. The fact is, however, its properties make it into a super-material. Titanium combines properties such as an extremely high tensile strength, light weight and outstanding corrosion resistance – but these cause conflicts with other materials or alloys. As titanium is also anti-magnetic, biocompatible and resistant even to the most aggressive media, the expensive material is gaining favour in an increasingly greater number of sectors and applications. Engineers at Bugatti know this very well since they use a lot of titanium in their supercars.

Titanium is Expensive So Scrap Must Be Avoided

Anyone wanting to machine titanium must first invest a lot of money as it costs about three to five times more than tool steel. So, it is obvious you would want to avoid scrap. But the choice of material alone is not enough. The proper tools are needed to machine the precision turned parts made of titanium required in the aerospace industry, chemical industry, vehicle construction or medical technology. This is the only way to bring even obstinate titanium alloys into the desired shape.

These are the special attributes of titanium that make life hard for tools: 

  • Extremely poor thermal conductivity
  • Non breaking chips
  • Extreme tendency to stick to the flute
  • Low modulus of elasticity
    (Ti6Al4V = 110 kN/mm2, steel Ck45 = 210 kN/mm2) 

As only the very few are likely to find themselves in the awkward situation of producing titanium screws for the 1500 hp Bugatti Chiron super sports car, let’s first look at the production of a threaded shaft with recess made of the common titanium alloy Ti6Al4V Grade 5/23 as used in medical technology. Its tensile strength of Rm = 990 N/mm2, yield stress of Re = 880 N/mm2, hardness HV between 330 and 380 and elongation factor A5D of about 18 percent make it ideal for use in implants in medical technology and for applications in aviation (3.7164) or industry (3.7165). The alloy contains six percent aluminium, four percent vanadium and ELI (extra low interstitials), giving it very good biocompatibility and practically no known allergic reactions.

Heat Must Be Extracted From the Cutting Zone

The requirements call for a high surface quality, reproducible process reliability and controlled chip evacuation – all this including short process times and possibly a high chip removal rate. If you expect most of the heat generated during turning is normally dissipated through the chip, you are in for your first big surprise: titanium is a very poor conductor of heat and heat is not dissipated when the chip is removed from the cutting zone. In addition, at temperatures of over 1200 deg C prevailing in the cutting zone, the cutting tool is very quick to “burn”. Immediate help is provided by introducing measures such as feeding coolant directly to the cutting zone, reducing cutting force by using a sharp flute and adapting the cutting speed to the process.


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Arno: When Precision Touches Flesh And Blood

Arno: When Precision Touches Flesh and Blood

In producing surgical instruments, Eberle Medizintechnik only trusts ARNO’s tools. Here’s why. Article by ARNO Werkzeuge.

Bursting at the seams and soon to relocate to a new building: production at EBERLE in Wurmberg.

To put it bluntly, everyone is much happier when they do not need products from Eberle Medizintechnik. Well, not as such. On the other hand, they are extremely welcome when it comes to minimal invasive surgery and operations. However, then they must meet the highest standards with regards to functionality, quality and sterilisation. For many years, ARNO Werkzeuge has been a reliable partner servicing the requirements of Eberle with high-quality tools and a tool management system. This ensures that precision remains second nature when it is a matter of flesh and blood.

“We need the highest precision and best surface qualities for our surgical instruments,” emphasises Bernd Amann, Technical Director at Eberle GmbH & Co. KG. “ARNO Werkzeuge is an excellent partner who backs us up with consultation and products.”

The sheer amount of quality know-how incorporated at Eberle only comes to light after a brief look at their production depth. The company even makes its own cables and connectors. So, it is no wonder that experts also call on professionals for cuttings tools to manufacture medical instruments of the highest quality and functionality as well as their consulting services.


Instruments made by EBERLE are used in minimally invasive surgical treatments and operations.

Maintaining Quality

The Eberle product portfolio comprises about 1,000 products manufactured to a production depth of almost 100 percent. This mainly includes shaver blades for arthroscopies, surgical and urological operations, or ENT operations and drills, sawing blades and wires including the associated drive systems and hand instruments. High quality is most apparent in the shaver blades. Guide tubes and internal tools are produced in a number of turning, grinding, laser welding and sometimes hardening operations. For example, tool tips are eight millimetres long with diameters of 4.5 mm or 3.5 mm. Together with the openings for cutting tools, they are welded to the tubes in a laser welding process. The drilling and cutting tools rotate inside the guide tubes. As expected, Eberle also produces the gear wheels on the cutting heads. The superior machine pool includes lathes for Swiss and fixed headstock machining from Star, Boley and Index and a five-axis milling centre from Chiron, vertical eroding and wire EDM machines, grinding machines and laser welding machines.

Since Eberle was founded in 1999, the company has used turning, grooving, drilling, and milling tools from ARNO Werkzeuge. They are looking forward to relocating their production to a new building in the foreseeable future as the present facilities are bursting at the seams. The company uses nine different VHM milling cutters, eight different SA grooving tools, the AKB drilling system, and eleven types of ground high-positive indexable inserts from ARNO Werkzeuge.

“In particular, the high-positive indexable inserts impress us time and again since they produce extremely good surface finishes and have long tool lives,” Amann assures.

ARNO sales engineer Alexander Rentschler explains, “These specially developed high-positive chip geometries achieve optimum machining results by using high-performance cutting materials—also because they produce less vibration during the turning process. Not only that, the polished surface optimises chip evacuation and the ground circumference ensures very high accuracy.”

“The finish quality is so high that some downstream process steps are no longer necessary,” Amann says. This is also a key factor in minimising the adhesion of germs to products which are later cleaned and sterilised.


High-positive indexable inserts from ARNO Werkzeuge achieve top finish quality by optimising chip evacuation due to their ground circumference and polished surfaces.

Addressing ENT Instrument Requirements

Amman relies on SA modules from ARNO Werkzeuge for grooving work. Among them are modules with inserts chamfered at 15 deg for grooving thin-walled tubes.

“The tubes are mainly used for our shaver blades for ETN operations,” says Amman. The sturdy, narrow grooving blades which ARNO offers for cutting depths of 10 to 70 mm and grooving widths of 1.5 to 8 mm are the optimum solution for him “since they ensure high process reliability. And that’s important for us since our series are not very large.” A series may range from five to 5,000 units and batches are manufactured in volumes of maximum 500 units. “This means we cannot afford to have any rejects,” he adds.

ETN instruments are very special products. After the guide tubes are manufactured, they are bent at radii of 50 deg to 65 deg. Of course, the drive inside the tubes must play along. In this case, Eberle uses small drive elements which transfer rotational movement via spur gears. Up to nine bevel gears of this type are mounted in an instrument. The instrument must also accommodate a flushing duct.

“Here, we are talking about internal diameters of only a few millimetres,” says Amann. It is only by applying this solution that allows bent Eberle ETN instruments to rotate at 12,000 rpm for maximum half an hour before the single-use instruments are disposed of.


Perfect Tool Management System

Eberle has opted for the StoreManagerPRO from ARNO Werkzeuge for its tool management system. A footprint of only 1.5 square metres is all it takes to store and manage tools in up to 2,160 compartments. At present, Eberle still uses it for approximately 600 to 700 tools including gauges, as well as keys for the vehicle fleet, as an employee says with a grin.

“That’s not so unusual,” says Simon Lang, product manager of Tool Management Systems at ARNO Werkzeuge. “In fact, it’s an excellent way to track who is currently driving which vehicle for what purpose.”

Amann intends to expand the options since he is convinced by the modular system that allows controlled single withdrawal and re-storage. “With the ARNO StoreManagerPRO, we benefit from smooth functioning tool management, tracing and restocking – and this raises the efficiency of our internal production processes,” he says. Amann also appreciates that the tool management system can be flexibly configured; it is extremely robust, easy to operate and operational round the clock. The system offers many options for customising the software and configuring the maximum 2,160 compartments. It makes tool management and repurchasing simpler and more efficient. Order proposals can be produced easily and straightforwardly for the purchasing department at any time or order procedures can be initiated to any number of suppliers. The practical orientation of the software design permits users to conveniently edit data from a workplace PC. One feature that is particularly well received is that the StoreManager can also manage third-party tools, “since of course, we also use products from other manufacturers,” says Amann, explaining standard practice at the company.

Eberle not only manufactures endoscopic and surgical instruments, it also supplies the associated control units together with the software and housings, as well as the cables and connectors. So, Eberle is not only inside the products on which the name of Eberle appears, Eberle is also integrated in many products made by renowned German manufacturers and market leaders in their segments. “We have been making private label products for them for years,” explains Managing Director Frank Eberle. “Together with ARNO Werkzeuge, this has worked out well for many years “because quality and consulting also come as second nature to us,” he concludes.


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Direct Mount For The Stars

Direct Mount For The Stars

ARNO Werkzeuge presents the AWL direct mount for STAR Swiss type machines.

The tool holder system for turning or grooving tools (patent pending) has an integrated adjustable high-pressure coolant supply of up to 130 bar. When combined with the AFC quick-change system, users can increase productivity for Swiss type machines since the system significantly cuts set-up and non-productive times.

“After Citizen, the new AWL direct mount are available for CNC Swiss type machines from Star Micronics,” says Werner Meditz, Head of Technology at ARNO Werkzeuge. The AWL tool holder system (patent pending) works for the Star machine series SR 20R II, III and IV with immediate effect. The system has two separate cooling channels which can be selectively opened or closed. The various connection options make it adaptable to several machine types. Depending on the machine and execution, the new AWL direct mount can fit two to six tools. Each chamber has an integrated coolant supply to allow the simultaneous use of several tools, whether they have internal cooling or not.

Permits Free Tool Choice

Since the direct mount is designed with integrated cooling, it dispenses with the time-consuming connection of external and cost-intensive tubes. In addition, there are no interfering contours inside the machine. Users can operate with targeted high-pressure cooling pressures up to 130 bar and stable wedged clamping of holders during machining operations to achieve longer tool lives by over 25 percent.

It now takes only a few steps to remove and fit the tools. When turned, an integrated counter nut raises the wedge slightly to permit quick and easy tool removal and fitting. According to Meditz, “The tool system allows fast, simple tool changes with enormous change precision and high process reliability.” The direct mount can also hold the tools of other manufacturers. The freedom of tool choice is one of the greatest benefits of our AWL direct mount,” stresses Meditz, “since users are not forced to depend on only one system.”

No Calibration Required With AFC

“Users have the best benefits when they combine the AWL direct mount with the AFC quick-change system from ARNO,” assures Simon Storf, Marketing Manager. To change a tool, only the front part of the two-part holder needs to be removed and a new tool is then fitted with a different holder. This dispenses with the need for recalibration in many cases. The AWL direct mount and AFC quick-change system back the manufacturer’s claim of increasing productivity at user production locations by developing customised solutions.



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Arno: Solid Carbide Endmill Cutters AFV

Arno’s Solid carbide endmill cutters AFV are equipped with uneven pitch design from 35 to 38ﹾ (four cutting edges) and even pitch design with 45 (six cutting edges), for roughing and finishing of nearly all materials (steel, stainless steel, cast, heat resistant alloys and titanium alloys) with up to 60 percent higher feed rate, less vibration, better surface finish and increased cutting depth.

Explore our huge selection of milling tools, such as shell mills, square shoulder mills and slotting cutters. Achieve outstanding results with indexable inserts for wet or dry milling, for steel, all cast materials and stainless materials, heat-resistant alloys and non-ferrous metals. ARNO’s high performance tools with long wear lifespans allow you to operate more economical.


Arno Werkzeuge Holder With Targeted Coolant

Arno Werkzeuge Holder With Targeted Coolant

Arno Werkzeuge is expanding its product range with through tool coolant holders integrated with precise coolants straight to the cutting edge.

The holder is available in shank sizes 12 x 12 and 16 x 16. The coolant inlet is individually placed, it can be inserted from the rear of the holder or the side. Various threaded connectors are also available. Efficient cooling of the insert cutting edge protects coatings which can be deteriorate due temperature changes. Swarf control is improved even on problematic materials, owing to secure and reliable machining.


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A Focus On Precision For Turning Operations

A Focus On Precision For Turning Operations

High-precision turning operations using high-positive indexable inserts are able to deliver the required accuracy for machine shops. Contributed by Arno

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) manufactures high-precision and reliable digital and offset printing machines. The manufacturer has set itself the goal of integrating and automating its entire value-added chain for its customers—the print shops—thereby increasing their competitiveness. The manufacturer has around 11,500 employees worldwide and its highly automated and versatile machines in all format classes are manufactured in accordance with customer requirements.

Keeping Costs Low

Heidelberger set the goal to keep workpiece costs as low as possible without affecting quality. In this context, the company only works with partners who are also constantly pushing forward further developments in this direction such as Arno, a manufacturer of cutting tools in the field of turning, engraving, drilling and milling.

Harald Johann, head of work planning for cams, gears and model parts, and Andreas Knopf, technical expert for turning and tools at Heidelberg, are responsible for the production of gear wheels for offset printing presses. As part of an integral review of the existing production process for gear wheels, the company examined the indexable inserts being used in the turning process in detail.

These inserts can be an important cost-reducing factor when tool lifetimes are increased. Significantly increased tool life and the resulting reduction in tool change and calibration times will have a positive impact on unit costs in the longer term. As a result of this investigation, Mr Knopf was looking for an economically attractive alternative to the previously used indexable insert.

Supported by an application technician at Arno, Mr Knopf attempted to use the indexable insert TCGT16T308FN-ALU AL10 to carry out inside turning and finishing of gear wheels made from cast steel. The indexable inserts have a rake angle of 27 deg, which are periphery ground with polished chip breakers and thus have a sharp cutting edge, which means they only require minimal cutting forces.

The challenge lies in maintaining the required accuracy for each and every gear wheel.

Increasing Tool Lifetime

High-quality print products can only be produced with a high-precision printing machine. This begins with the internal fit of the gear wheels. Each printing unit is connected to the next printing unit via the gear wheel, which is optimally adjusted via the gear train. Unless the internal fit is exact to within one-thousandth of a millimetre, the toothing will not mesh correctly with the next gear wheel. Machines containing a larger number of printing units require a correspondingly larger number of gears, making the degree of precision even more important.

“The results we achieved in the field matched those that had been previously promised. In production, you quickly realise whether someone can actually put theory into practice,” explained Mr Knopf.

This laid the foundation for further collaboration between the two companies and a wide range of parts were inspected and new indexable inserts tested. At the same time, challenging fitting tolerances was required. The quality achieved was not only very good, but the new indexable inserts also increased tool lifetimes by up to 100 percent, even with difficult-to-produce workpieces.

Achieving Consistent Quality

The tool manufacturer implemented a number of specific measures, which led to very high-quality results when the indexable inserts were used in the grinding process. For example, Arno only produces indexable inserts on Swiss grinding machines using the EcoDress process. During this process, the grinding wheel is cleaned and stripped after each grinding operation to ensure that the quality of each grinding operation remains consistent, the grinding wheel does not become clogged and no cutting pressure is generated. This allows very close machining tolerances to be maintained.

Compared to the conventional grinding process, the process reliability and removal efficiency are both increased, which in turn improves the finish quality and edge roughness of the indexable inserts. Depending on the insert type, a distinction is made between a sharp cutting edge or a rounded version.

The standard rounded cutting edge contributes to a considerable increase in tool life and smooth running of the indexable inserts. Each insert’s cutting edge is created by wet blasting or slide grinding, after which an automated or optical 100 percent inspection of all finished indexable inserts is carried out, underlining its commitment to quality assurance.

Quality and reliability are also important criteria at Heidelberger. With a weight of around 600 kg, the cast iron gear wheels have a material value of several hundred euros. For this reason alone, special attention was paid to process reliability during the test phase. The new indexable insert runs without problems.

Customised Tool Order

From Mr Knopf’s extensive experience with indexable inserts, he knows that they are prone to damage from cavities. That costs time and money—a key factor given the lot sizes at Heidelberger, which range from 50 to 500 pieces. One major advantage of this particular indexable insert is that, as a standard item, it is always in stock with only a small minimum order quantity.

By contrast, the inserts that were used previously were subject to relatively large minimum purchase quantities. Punctual delivery, the stocking of enough indexable inserts to be able to react quickly to specific requirements, as well as generally shorter delivery times were all important additional factors. One month’s supply of the indexable inserts can usually be delivered within three days, due to precise coordination between the business partners.

Reducing Downtimes

A broad usage range is very important for Mr Johann when it comes to developing the machines. A reduction in complexity is also a major focus. This means using fewer indexable inserts for a wider range of applications. Understandably, he also wants to minimise both the degree of utilisation and downtimes. The technical expertise of its internal and field sales staff and application engineers allows Arno to meet these requirements and, in collaboration with Heidelberger, to lay the optimal foundations for the future. Finding solutions remains everyone’s focus, which is why the partnership is successful.



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Nimble Flexibility: Providing Niche Tooling Services

Nimble Flexibility: Providing Niche Tooling Services

Dietmar Kogler, managing director, Arno Werkzeuge SE Asia, speaks to APMEN on how his company provides specific tooling services for manufacturers in the region.

With Southeast Asian manufacturers predominantly specialising in the automotive industry, how does German cutting tools and inserts company Arno provide services for the sector?

What are your thoughts on the Southeast Asian Market for Arno Tooling Services?

We are fairly new in the Southeast Asian market, as we started our own subsidiary in end 2014. Compared to the larger companies, we are more of a niche product company. Our approach is, therefore, more focussed and different, we are looking for smaller companies where we can go in with our strengths.

We also do some cost-per-part projects, which is a bit different. This means to say that we do not want to sell a “cut-and-go” product. We want to give them a solution and break it down to a cost-per-part analysis. The customer does not pay for the tools anymore; he pays per produced part instead.

The markets are quite similar in Southeast Asia; Most are dominated by the Japanese, especially into the two-wheeler or four-wheeler business. Many business goals then depend on the automotive industry: if things are good, business goes up; but if things are not so good, sales goes down.

But this does not affect us much, because we are more niche-orientated and we are not going into mass production. Since we are a newcomer, we do not have much to lose; we can actually have everything to gain. And so far, the past two and a half years were quite successful to us. We also have good partnerships in almost all markets, and we still have the potential to grow.

And what about the company’s goals for the next few years?

I think that within the next three years, the company will be very much recognised in the region as a niche-orientated solution provider. This is because as a smaller company, we are much more flexible than the bigger ones, and a lot of companies want such a supplier.

The trend in Europe is that you tend to see big companies consolidating their suppliers. We do not see that trend here, and because of this, we will be one of the companies that will have an advantage because we are more flexible and niche-oriented.

Of course, you have to have a different strategy and approach. Just to give you an indication: we have roughly 50 million euros turnover with 170 staff worldwide. While the turnover is quite good per head, but if we want to compete directly, then there is no chance in terms of manpower and pricing.

Therefore, we look at products where we have a standard where others do not. If a customer tells me, “I need something that is not standard, I can consume 20 a month”, we can provide that as a standard. Other companies are looking at 1,000 a month, so that amount is not interesting for them. But it is interesting for us. This is our general strategy worldwide, and we are copying and adapting that to the local market here in Southeast Asia.

We also do not supply a lot to the automotive industry in Europe. But in Southeast Asia, we go into the automotive sector. This is because yet again, we are not going for mass consumption, but by picking out the niche markets here.

What are your company’s strengths in Tooling?

Our company strength is in grooving and parting off. Grooving and parting-off are one of our key products, and in the past, the coolant was always external. But the drawback is that when you go deep, the coolant will not reach the cutting edge.

So we developed a through-coolant system for the parting-off tool called the ACS cooling system. We have two versions. The first has a cooling system at the cutting edge. The other has an additional coolant jet targeting the insert flank for underneath. There are dual functions for this: You provide cooling and also chip control. We also found out that with this cooling system, tool life can actually be up to double the original.

This is suitable as our tools do not need a top-end machine tool to be attached to. This is especially suitable in Asia, as manufacturers here will typically buy one machine tool for a specific purpose. This is different in Europe, where they will invest in a high-end machine tool for different purposes.

The customer just needs to tell us where they need the hole, and we make it accordingly to his specifications. With that, you can put it on the machine, and get through coolant with little effort.

We also work with machine tool makers, and we have special holders for companies like Daewoo Doosan, DMG Mori, Miyano, Nakamura and Tornos. We are investing a lot in direct mounting as well. The tool goes direct on the machine; it is very rigid with through coolant, so the output is more. If something happens, you do not have to change the block, you can just change the module.

What other area does your company specialise in?

We do have a wide range of high-positive inserts. In the past, these used to be used for machining aluminium. But with all the new coatings available, there is used for medical applications and even for work where you need to have very fine surface finishing. They can also be used for small parts machining.



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