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Grade Upgrade

Grade Upgrade

Has the development of new tool materials already reached its peak and is experiencing stagnation? Find out more from Andrei Petrilin and Marcel Elkouby, ISCAR.

Grade Upgrade

Fig 1: CBN grade IB20H insert for hard part turning.‎

Building a house begins with laying the foundation. The strength and the reliability of the whole house depends on how strong the foundation is. In cutting tool engineering, this foundation is a cutting material.

There are various types of cutting materials: cemented carbide, polycrystalline diamond, high speed steel, and ceramics, to name a few. Each type contains different grades. At various stages in metal cutting history, the introduction of each cutting material and its use has led to a significant change in the level of cutting speeds and, consequently, productivity. However, if the previous century, especially its second half, was marked by the rapid progress of tool materials, today we do not see any significant new solutions in this field. Does this mean that the development of new tool materials has already reached its peak and is experiencing stagnation?

Of course not. It is simply that the new developments are deep within the cutting material and are focused on its structure, and can be observed only with the help of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), electron backscatter diffraction (EBCD), and other sophisticated methods. They cover a tremendously complicated world of coatings that is extremely diverse despite its very small thickness, measured only by microns. 

Cemented Carbide

Grade Upgrade

Fig 2: Parting tool carrying IC1010 grade insert‎.

The most commonly available cutting material today is cemented carbide (primarily coated), also known as ‘hard metal’, ‘tungsten carbide’ or simply, carbide. In terms of performance, it represents a reasonable balance between efficiency, tool life and cost. A combination of cemented carbide, coating, and post-coating treatment produces a carbide grade. Only one of these components—the cemented carbide—is an essential element in the grade. The others are optional.

Cemented carbide is a composite material comprising hard carbide particles that are cemented together by binding metal (mainly cobalt). Most cemented carbides used for producing cutting tools integrate wear-resistant coatings. There are also various treatment processes that are applied to already coated cemented carbide (for example, the rake surface of an indexable insert). New developments in cemented carbide, as a tool material, are concentrated in three directions: carbide production technologies, advanced coating methods, and innovative post-coating techniques. Considerable success has been achieved in each of these directions; this is reflected in the wealth of new products introduced to the market by leading cutting tool manufacturers.

Cutting tool customers might analyze the grades using parameters such as productivity, tool life, and performance. Indeed, the question of how a new product was created to meet customer requirements fades into the background as applicability and efficiency form the main measure of progress from the customer’s  point of view. 

Upgrading Carbide Grades

In upgrading carbide grades, ISCAR is very sensitive to a challenge faced by the metalworking industries. In this context, ISCAR’s tool material solutions—developed considering the trends of modern metalworking—can be quite indicative. Take, for example, difficult-to-cut materials such as titanium and heat-resistant steels and exotic superalloys. Recently, the share of their application in industry has increased significantly. Along with the aircraft industry, a traditional consumer of these materials, they may be increasingly found in power engineering, automotive, and oil and gas branches. The growing usage of the materials demands technological solutions, including machinery and cutting tools. The new tools require an appropriate foundation, made of advanced cutting tool materials,  to achieve the desired cutting geometry. And for the construction of this foundation, ISCAR offers its new effective ‘bricks’—upgraded carbide grades. 


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New Dimensions In Deep-Hole Drilling With Walter

New Dimensions In Deep-Hole Drilling With Walter

With the X·treme Evo solid carbide drills from the DC160 Advance range of drills, Walter is forging a link to the “next generation of drilling”. By introducing lengths of 16 to 30 × D, the tool manufacturer its expanding its range to now include deep-hole drilling. As the successor to the Alpha 4XD drills which have been established on the market for a long time now, the DC160 Advance, like its predecessor, makes deep-hole drilling possible in a single operation without pecking – and therefore boasts the advantages of XD Technology. The coating and geometry have been optimised. Just like the existing versions of the DC160 Advance, the deep-hole drills also feature the innovative new thinner web with 140 deg point angle and the fourth land in an advanced position. The former ensures increased positioning accuracy and reduced cutting forces in the centre, while the latter optimises the guidance of the drill.

The grades of the drills (WJ30ET and WJ30EU) are another new addition. These comprise the K30F fine-grained substrate and a TiSiAlCrN/AlTiN multi-layer coating (as a point or complete coating). The layer structure makes the drills both tough and wear-resistant and plays a crucial part in the process reliability and performance of the DC160 Advance drills. Polished flutes from 8 × Dc also optimise chip evacuation. Typical application areas of the drills, which are available with or without (internal) cooling, include general mechanical engineering, mould and die making, and the energy and automotive industries. Walter offers intermediate sizes and special dimensions via its Xpress service with faster delivery times.

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On The Safe Side When Drilling

On The Safe Side When Drilling

Walter Tools is completing its D4120 product range. With dimensions of 2, 3, 4 and 5 × D, the Tübingen-based company offers a wide range spanning diameters from 13.5 to 59 mm. Specially developed outer and centre inserts ensure precise balancing of the cutting forces. To this end, centre inserts slightly larger than the outer indexable inserts were selected and equipped with a corner protection chamfer. Besides greater process reliability, this plays a crucial part in increased precision and minimal drilling noise. Walter offers a version with wiper edge for high surface finish quality. The drilling body features two coolant-through channels and a measuring collar (Dc) for easy drill identification, even when assembled. Polished flutes and a hardened surface optimise chip evacuation and wear resistance.

The combination of D4120 and four-edged indexable inserts offers users cost-efficiency advantages and the greatest possible flexibility thanks to a coordinated system. This is of interest to users, both in the case of difficult machining operations, such as cross holes, chain drilling and inclined inlets and exits, and because these drills can be used in ISO materials P, K, M, N and S. Users in general mechanical engineering, mould and die making, and the energy and automotive industries could therefore benefit from outstanding precision in the hole diameter, a high degree of process reliability and cost-efficiency. Alongside the standard dimensions, Walter also offers the D4120 in special dimensions via Walter Xpress with faster delivery times.

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Reducing Cost-Per-Part Of Your Tools

Reducing Cost-Per-Part of Your Tools

Drilling and threading work with round tools influences approximately 15 to 50 percent of the total costs per part in the automotive industry—therefore being able to reduce costs here remains a key factor for success. Article by Walter AG.

Not only does the Walter Technology Centre present opportunities for visualisations and simulations, it also allows developers to test new solutions on the machine.

The cost per part (cpp) is the gauge by which process efficiency is measured in the automotive industry. The machining tool represents a not inconsequential cost factor in this regard. This is particularly true of solid carbide tools (round tools), which are primarily used for holemaking, milling and threading.

Estimates calculated by tool specialists Walter AG indicate that these tools already make up around half of the machining applications in the automotive industry today. Depending on the characteristics of the component, drilling and threading work with round tools influences approximately 15 to 50 percent of the total costs per part. Being able to reduce costs once again here remains a key factor for success.

Up to Speed with Automotive Industry Trends

The Walter TC 430 thread former produces tear-resistant threads under the application of dynamic force.

The transition from combustion engines to electric motors or other alternative drives, which is gaining momentum as a result of tighter environmental regulations, touches every area of the automotive industry—right up to every last detail in the production processes. Walter has been on hand to actively accompany the sector through these changes from the very start: The company presents car manufacturers and suppliers around the world with a comprehensive portfolio of tools and services, which is constantly expanding through the addition of innovative new solutions. This means the automotive experts at Walter are always up to speed with the ever-growing number of new materials. What’s more, existing tool solutions for established processes are also optimised, usually to meet customer-specific requirements, or alternative solutions are devised on the basis of new technologies.

Lightweight materials now represent a significant portion of automotive production. For instance, the proportion of engine blocks made from aluminium today is already around 70 percent—in an area of industry that until only recently still favoured traditional materials such as grey cast iron and steel. Aluminium alloys have already become the default materials for transmission cases or oil pump housings, both for chassis elements and in structural components. And with the growing trend for electric drives, we will see more and more of these alloys in use.

Seeing the Bigger Picture to Reduce Costs

Complicated machining tasks, including those involving these new materials, or sophisticated part geometries with a lot of cavities increase the complexity of the machining process and, in turn, put extreme pressure on costs. This is where the Walter machining experts come in.

“As a manufacturer of premium products with 100 years of experience, we already offer highly effective and optimum solutions for a diverse range of applications from our standard range, which comprises more than 25,000 products in the solid carbide segment alone. Walter’s expertise, or ‘Engineering Kompetenz’, however, extends far beyond the individual machining tool. We focus on the overall machining strategy and the customer’s machining process. If our experts are involved in the development of production and tool management processes from an early stage, customers will often experience efficiency gains that are felt via more than just the machining tool,” explains Gerardo Campitiello, Component Manager Transportation at Walter. “Requirements, such as making unmanned production processes safe, ensuring reproducible process reliability and quality across a company’s production sites, or making tools available at all times, can only be met by taking a holistic approach. Whether selecting the right tools from the Walter standard range or developing a special tool to meet process-specific specifications, it takes careful consideration of the full picture.”

A Quick Path to an Instantly Productive Special Tool

In the automotive industry, processes that may seem time-consuming on paper are actually completed in very tight time frames in practice. It is with this in mind that Walter establishes its own processes and structures: For instance, tools from the standard range are with the customer within 24 hours of ordering. The Walter Xpress special tool service ordinarily delivers tools, which are developed and manufactured to customer specifications, within two to four weeks. This is based on an automated 3D process, which can be adapted to suit the project in question. A dedicated in-house department (Business Applications Development) constantly monitors market trends to improve existing application solutions and develop brand new approaches. This team of engineers takes on the role of Component Managers, responsible for individual components such as engine blocks, housings, e-axle drives, turbine casings, or crankshafts. They are among the first to know about the market trends and technological advances, which is reflected in their product development work.

The new Walter solutions can be tested in true-to-life situations at the Technology Center in Tübingen, Germany: the test run on the machine incorporates the very latest visualisation and simulation technologies.

This means Walter customers in all areas of the automotive industry benefit from the in-depth technical expertise of an innovative service provider who is active the world over and is also involved in the relevant fundamental research. The company makes major investments in its own R&D projects, and in the development of its own production capabilities in areas that competitors often contract out to third parties—such as being one of the few providers on the market to have its own coating system.


 Greater Pull-out Strength Under More Dynamic Forces: The Walter Thread Former

When forming threads in ISO P materials, the process reliability primarily depends on how susceptible the thread former is to breaking. With its TC430, Walter provides a model that stands out  for its durability. The extremely long tool life of the TC430 thread former, which is suitable for blind-hole and through-hole threads, is the result of a new substrate, the geometry with more  polygons, and an innovative new kind of pre-treatment and post-treatment. The result is that, despite having more polygons, the TC430 Supreme reduces the torque by around 30 percent. This  means that the thread former is also well suited for use in machines with a low power consumption.

Walter is planning to launch another carbide thread former for ISO P materials in early 2020. The new tool has already proven its exceptional properties in ongoing field tests. Designed for blank holes and through holes of up to maximum 3.5xDN, it demonstrates twice the tool life of comparable formers, and enables the reduction of power consumption on the spindle by more than 30 percent.




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Addressing Dirt And Oil In Deep-Hole Drilling And Milling

Addressing Dirt and Oil in Deep-Hole Drilling and Milling

The continuous dirt accumulation poses the biggest challenge for the deep-hole drilling and milling machine. This article looks at how the energy supply for such machines can be maintained reliably under extreme environmental conditions. Article by igus.

The AX-TLF series from Auerbach Maschinenfabrik GmbH combines conventional milling techniques with modern deep-hole drilling systems in one machine.

In machines combining milling and drilling functions, extremely high demands are made on the energy supply system for the main spindle. Dust, dirt and drilling fluid account for maximum loads from the outside. From the inside, heavy hydraulic hoses, in particular, affect the stability. Most of the time, the manufacturer relies on the very thick plastic energy tube for supply so that the performance data of the universal machine remains correct in the long run. This also protects and routes all cables and hoses.

“The continuous dirt accumulation poses the biggest challenge for the deep-hole drilling and milling machine,” says Thomas Gemeinhardt, managing director of the Auerbach Maschinenfabrik GmbH in Ellefeld. “In addition, the performance data of the machine tools increase, but the availability of interior space remains the same. To supply energy to the main spindle reliably, Auerbach uses the new energy tube ‘RX’ in its multi-function ‘AX-TLF’ type, which combines the milling and deep-hole drilling systems in one machine.” According to Gemeinhardt, it is 100 percent tight and ensures safe cable protection even in continuous use.

Milling and Deep-hole Drilling Systems in One

Manufacturing machine tools for over 60 years, Auerbach Maschinenfabrik manufactures not just the traditional milling machines, but also multi-functional machines.

Gemeinhardt comments, “Our customers want multi-functional machines. As a result, our specialty today is the combination of conventional milling techniques with modern deep-hole drilling systems in one machine.”

The ‘AX-TLF’ type series not only saves on purchase costs. The necessary set-up times can be reduced because the complete machining is possible with only one clamping. Depending on the design, the machines work on workpieces with drill diameters from 6mm to 65mm—in special cases up to 100 mm—whereby in one move, drill depths of up to 2.1mm, and in special cases up to 3mm, are possible. “We feel well-equipped for the future,” says Gemeinhardt.

Quality is top priority at the company. “With our high-quality machines, we want to constantly maintain our position as a special supplier in the market,” says Gemeinhardt. “For this, we have our own development department to implement specific customer requirements. We place value on the traditional German engineering quality. This also applies to the selection of suppliers.”

The AX-TLF type series consists of five basic machines, which serve as a platform for numerous variation options. This modularity pays off. In addition to the traditional mold-making and tooling, the combination machines are used in, among other things, the aviation and aerospace industry, general mechanical engineering, solar industry, apparatus engineering, and the oil and gas industry. This wide-ranging spectrum of applications brings more than the most varied machining demands. Even the choice of materials is wide, ranging from soft graphite through aluminum, and standard steels up to high-strength stainless steels and titanium alloys.

Thick, taut hydraulic hoses that are as hard as an iron bar increase the pressure within the energy tube.

Addressing Continuous Dirt Accumulation

“Our machines are versatile,” says Gemeinhardt. In general, they can handle all types of materials. The requirements for a machine vary, such as the components used. And in this instance, dirt accumulation plays a major role. Graphite, for example, is machined dry and is extremely abrasive and lubricating. If it is not exhausted, the entire environment would be black in the shortest time. When it comes to deep-hole drilling, where a lot of drilling oil is used, this creeps in everywhere and is extremely aggressive.

One option is the minimum quantity lubrication. It only works with customers who machine a defined material. Here, lubricated air cooled at high pressure is used for deep-hole drilling. Due to the atomized oil, the particles fly through the work area before they settle everywhere.

While supplying energy to the main spindle, the plastic energy tube lies always in the immediate chip area. This means that hot chips remain partially on the tube, and it is exposed to continuous dirt accumulation and drilling oil. In the process, the machines, depending on orders, work in three shifts for seven days a week. In addition to the extreme environmental conditions, there is a particularly small bending radius of 100mm. And taut hydraulic hoses that are as hard as an iron bar increase the pressure within the energy supply system.

The rounded design of the energy supply system simply makes the chips bounce off. In addition, the pin/hole connection elements and the stop dogs are covered, so that no chips can stick there.

Enter the RX Energy Tube

“Due to increased milling capacity, we sought an even more robust solution for the energy supply for a customer as part of a retrofit with new built-in pressure hoses,” recalls Gemeinhardt. Since that time, only the RX energy tubes in the size 40 are used in the combination machine for milling and drilling.

The RX e-tube enclosed cable carriers from igus offer extreme protection against chips and dirt.

“Our universal machine tool needs to assert itself in a tough competition. Improvements are in the details,” says Gemeinhardt. “Accordingly, we are constantly improving the performance data of our machines. We are currently developing, for example, a water-cooled spindle. Here, the machine is equipped simultaneously with sealing air, which means we must lay two more cables.” Therefore, here, the new large RX size with an inner height of 73mm should be used to ensure energy supply.



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Iscar Expands Modular Exchangeable Drilling Heads Lineup For Large Diameter Deep Drilling

Iscar Expands Modular Exchangeable Drilling Heads Lineup For Large Diameter Deep Drilling

Iscar has expanded its large diameter drilling options with the new MODUDRILL line, which features two different types of exchangeable heads: one for 33-36mm drilling and the other for 37-40mm drilling.

The MD-BODY modular body measures 400mm, is produced from high-strength steel for durability, and features a small core with central coolant hole for efficient chip evacuation. Its new patented connection withstands high torque, and its high flute helix with polished surface provides a smooth and easy chip evacuation for chips of all sizes

Carrying HFP-IQ CHAMIQDRILL solid carbide head, the MD-DFN modular head from Iscar features a robust structure with concave cutting edge design to enable drilling at high feed rates and provide IT8-IT9 hole tolerance. Its unique pocket design enables many drilling head indexes. Its special axial stopper prevents the drilling head from being extracted during retraction, while its large radial head stoppers provide high resistance to cutting forces, enabling very high cutting conditions.

The MD-DR-DH modular head carries standard SOMX indexable inserts with four cutting edges, providing an economical solution for low- to medium-feed machining.


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Tungaloy’s New NDL Geometry Makes Deep Holes Easier To Drill

Tungaloy’s New NDL Geometry Makes Deep Holes Easier To Drill

Tungaloy is introducing NDL geometry for TOHT inserts for the DeepTri-Drill line of indexable gun drills.

Dedicated gundrilling machines do not allow conventional DeepTri-Drills to effectively evacuate chips from the cutting point due to relatively low drill feed capabilities. This often results in problematic chip evacuation. The new NDL cutting geometry addresses this issue with its optimised chipbreaker design that ensures good chip control during slow feeding motion of the drill.

The NDL geometry incorporates optimal chip breaker and splitters to provide the best chip evacuation when a high feed parameter is not available such as on gundrilling machines. Combined with the existing NDJ geometry which ensures superior deep-drilling performance at high feed rates, a comprehensive line of DeepTri-Drill is now able to better address the needs of customers seeking productivity and stability in every deep hole making operation.

  • At a glance
    • Ensures best chip evacuation at feed rates of ≤1 mm per rev
    • Ideal for any low power machines with limited feed capability such as gundrilling machines
    • Six inserts to be added in this expansion



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Tungaloy Boosts Deep Hole Drilling Productivity

Tungaloy Boosts Deep Hole Drilling Productivity

Tungaloy Boosts Deep Hole Drilling Productivity has expanded its Tungaloy DeepTriDrill line of indexable gun drills to include new drill diameters ranging from ø12mm to ø13.5mm. With new drill sizes in the lineup, Tungaloy DeepTriDrill can now address the diverse deep hole drilling needs of automotive and mould set parts for maximum efficiency and stability.

In addition, the drill diameter can easily be altered in increments of 0.01mm to the required hole sizes simply by placing dedicated adjusting shims beneath the guide pads, allowing an overall reduction of cycle time and manufacturing costs in diverse deep drilling applications. The H-class insert features unique cutting edge configuration that provides hole accuracy at greater feed rates, while also ensuring smooth chip evacuation.

The expanded line includes 12 drill bodies and one insert.


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Kennametal Reports 10th Consecutive Quarter Of YoY EPS Growth

Kennametal Reports 10th Consecutive Quarter Of YoY EPS Growth

Kennametal Incorporated has posted sales of US$597 million for the fiscal 2019 third quarter ended March 31, 2019, down by two percent from US$608 million compared with the same period in the previous year. Earnings per share (EPS) was $0.82, up from $0.61 in the prior year quarter, and adjusted EPS of $0.77, compared with $0.70 in the prior year quarter—the company’s 10th consecutive quarter of EPS growth.

“We delivered organic sales growth in every business segment, on increasingly tougher comparables, and end markets remained generally positive except for automotive,” said Chris Rossi, president and CEO. “Earnings improved, and our adjusted EBITDA margin for the quarter increased notably year-over-year which is in-line with the fiscal 2021 targets outlined at our most recent Investor Day. We are seeing the increasing benefits from simplification/modernisation in our financial results. Moving forward, we expect the associated restructuring efforts to further reduce structural costs while maintaining customer commitments.”

Kennametal has also detailed the next phase of restructuring associated with simplification /modernisation. These actions are expected to reduce structural costs and are currently estimated to achieve US$35-US$40 million of annualised savings by the end of fiscal 2020. The company is expected to incur pre-tax charges of $55-$65 million through fiscal 2019 and 2020 for these restructuring activities.

Operating income was US$82 million, or 13.7 percent margin, compared to US$81 million, or 13.3 percent margin, in the prior year quarter. Adjusted operating income was US$85 million, or 14.3 percent margin, compared to US$83 million, or 13.6 percent margin, in the prior year quarter.

Net cash flow provided by operating activities was US$157 million compared to US$158 million in the prior year period. Free operating cash flow (FOCF) was US$15 million compared to US$54 million in the prior year period. The change in FOCF was driven primarily by higher working capital and greater net capital expenditures due in part to simplification/modernisation initiatives, partially offset by increased cash flow from operations before changes in certain other assets and liabilities.

Segment Results

Industrial sales was US$319 million, down by four percent from US$333 million year-over-year. Operating income was US$57 million, or 18 percent margin, compared to US$50 million, or 15.1 percent margin, in the prior year quarter. Adjusted operating income was $58 million, or 18.3 percent margin, compared to US$51 million, or 15.4 percent margin, in the prior year quarter.

Widia sales reached US$51 million, down by two percent from US$52 million year-over-year. Operating income was break-even, compared to US$1 million, or 2.4 percent margin, in the prior year quarter. Adjusted operating income was US$1 million, or 1.3 percent margin, compared to US$1 million, or 2.4 percent margin, in the prior year quarter.

Infrastructure sales was US$228 million, up by two percent from US$223 million year-over-year. Operating income was US$25 million, or 11 percent margin, compared to $30 million, or 13.5 percent margin, in the prior year quarter. Adjusted operating income was $27 million, or 11.7 percent margin, compared to $31 million, or 13.8 percent margin, in the prior year quarter.


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Walter AG Releases New X.treme Evo Solid Carbide Drill With Threefold Universal Use

Walter AG Releases New X.treme Evo Solid Carbide Drill With Threefold Universal Use

With the X·treme Evo solid carbide drill from the Advance product range, Walter AG is launching the new DC160 product type.

Walter AG is releasing an all-rounder for every material, machine and drilling application. This can be used universally in three different ways: In all ISO material groups. It is designed for a wide variety of applications such as inclined entries and exits, drilling holes close to the edge of the workpiece or convex and concave surfaces. Furthermore, it can also be used with all machine concepts: In machining centres, horizontal or vertical, in lathes, rotating with driven tools, axial and radial (with angular head), or stationary. As a first step, Walter is bringing out the X·treme Evo in the variants three and five × Dc without internal coolant and five, eight and 12 × Dc with internal coolant. In addition to the DC160 variant, the drill from the Advance range is also available as the DC260 Advance step drill with and without internal coolant. According to Walter, the greatest strengths of the X·treme Evo lie in its long tool life and high levels of productivity and process reliability.

The WJ30ET (full coating) and WJ30EU (point coating) grades are new to the X·treme Evo: A highly tough micrograin substrate combined with Walter’s own TiSiAlCrN/AlTiN multi-layer coating on an AlTiN base layer. Extremely wear-resistant for a long tool life – even while maintaining high cutting parameters. Another innovation is the thinner web with steep approach angle, along with the fourth land that lies close to the drill tip. The steep approach angle reduces the feed force and increases the positioning accuracy. The deep-seated fourth land is engaged even quicker and consequently optimises drill guidance, particularly for inclined entries and exits. The new type of face geometry on the X·treme Evo creates plenty of room for the chip in the centre and therefore improves chip removal, particularly in soft material.


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