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Machining With A Microscope

Machining With A Microscope

Drilling with the beam of an electron microscope, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory precisely machined tiny, electrically conductive cubes that can interact with light and organised them in patterned structures that confine and relay the electromagnetic signal of light.

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Advantages Of Collaborative Development

Advantages of Collaborative Development

The larger the series of parts to be produced, the more important cycle times and tool costs are. And the properties of both the machine tool and the tool itself need to be optimally suited to each other—and to the chosen manufacturing process. This article discusses the benefits of having a collaborative development partnership between a machine manufacturer and a tool manufacturer. Article by MAPAL.

“We have a unique approach when we receive customer inquiries,” says Meinolf Wolke, Sales Team Leader at Elha-Maschinenbau Liemke KG  in Hövelhof. The special machine construction company places the workpiece and its machining at the centre of development and devises an optimal solution perfectly designed for the process sequence.

“In doing so, we take all the technical and economic requirements into account,” clarifies Wolke. Only then do those responsible decide whether an existing machining concept can be used for the process or whether an individual, application-specific construction is required. Wolke explains, “As well as providing the machine, we offer services that stretch from process development and the construction of fixtures all the way through to complete, ready-to-operate solutions with automation and production support.”

Special Tools for Low Total Costs

“The machining tasks are often as unique as the parts themselves – including in terms of the workpiece materials,” adds Alexander Wiesner, Technical Advisor at MAPAL. “Of course, a lot of machining work on complex parts can be achieved with standard tools. But that often comes with significant drawbacks in terms of cycle times, quality, and cost-effectiveness, particularly when large quantities are being produced.” In these cases, special tools that are precisely calibrated by MAPAL for the machining task in question are preferred.

“During the tool design phase, it’s essential to determine the necessary parameters for the machining process,” says Wiesner, “particularly in the case of challenging geometries.” In order to design the process in the best possible way, MAPAL often makes prototype tools. These are then used to carry out extensive tests with the part to be machined.

“That, in turn, helps the equipment manufacturers design the machine with the values identified during testing,” continues Wiesner. He says that MAPAL has had a long-standing partnership with ELHA in this area. The following three examples demonstrate the resulting benefits to customers:

Solid Drills for the Machining of Suspension Arms

“We were dissatisfied with the solution that we had been using for drilling from solid in aluminium when machining a suspension arm, which included creating a fitting,” remembers ELHA Project Leader Friedhelm Dresmann.

At the time, the company was using tools with brazed PCD cutting edges. In order to keep the machining time as low as possible, these drills were being used with very high feed rates. The disadvantages of this solution were the high drive power required and the insufficient durability of the PCD cutting edges on the solid drill step.

 

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A Drill For All Materials

A Drill for All Materials

It’s said that life is a marathon, not a sprint. For automotive manufacturers, longer lasting tooling solutions are integral to more profitable production—but, often, manufacturers see little reason to change their existing tool set-up. In this article, James Thorpe, global product manager at Sandvik Coromant, explains why the benefits of longer-lasting tools shouldn’t be underestimated, particularly for reducing costs-per-part or increasing overall output.

A Drill for All Materials

Unpredictable tool life is one of the biggest threats in mass automotive production, particularly as its operations are so highly-automated and use some of the world’s most advanced robotics and automation systems. Downtime is time-consuming, disrupts production and is also expensive, so it goes without saying that tool failures should be avoided at all costs. 

In some instances, manufacturers set the tool change interval to less than the maximum tool life. This approach is normally preferred because material variations in automotive components are minimal. It follows that the tool changes should be predictable, and safer, than trying to extend the tool life to manufacture a few more components. 

Multi-material Drilling

For Sandvik Coromant’s specialists, the key to longer tool life is not limited to the amount of time a tool spends in use, but also the drill design itself. This approach led to the development of the CoroDrill 860 with enhanced -GM geometry, a new design solid carbide drill that’s optimized for a wide range of materials and applications, across all industry sectors. 

For the CoroDrill 860-GM, Sandvik Coromant applied its machine tooling and metal cutting expertise to develop a new grade, a unique fine-grained carbide substrate known as X1BM. The fine-grained carbide is imbued with increased hardness while maintaining toughness.

Furthermore, the drill is tip-coated with a multi-layer physical vapor deposition (PVD) thin film coating. This is key to improving the drill’s productivity and delivering a consistent tool life across a variety of materials. The result is a tool with excellent stability, machining security and improved tool life when machining cast iron, steel, stainless steel, hardened steels and non-ferrous metals.

Assessing Tool Life

A better way to assess tool life is by measuring the amount of material removed. To aid productivity, the CoroDrill 860-GM has an innovative, polished flute design that improves the evacuation of chips and yields greater hole quality. This also helps to reduce heat build-up in the tool, and further benefits are high core strength and reduced cutting forces while drilling.

The 860-GM forms part of Sandvik Coromant’s CoroDrill range of solid carbide drills. They are designed not only for optimized performance but also versatility, which means they can be deployed in a variety of applications and materials across multiple industries.

This includes use with the following material groups: ISO-P, the largest material group in metal cutting that ranges from unalloyed to high-alloyed material; ISO-M that includes difficult-to-cut stainless steels, austenitic steels and duplex steels; ISO-K grey, nodular and compacted graphite cast iron; ISO-H steels with a Rockwell hardness of between 45-65 HRc; and ISO-N for softer, non-ferrous materials such as aluminium, copper and brass. 

Advanced Geometry

As mentioned, the CoroDrill 860-GM has an enhanced design, but what exactly does this entail? Much of this relates to the design of the drill itself that includes an advanced optimized point and flute geometry, reinforced core and corner chamfers, edge preparation to remove cutting edge micro defects, and a double margin to enhance drilling stability. The drill’s point is also designed with refined clearance angles and improved surface quality. 

Overall, these design features stabilise the drill, reduce entry and exit burr and improve the hole tolerance, finish and straightness. The drill also gives stable wear progression and delivers excellent hole accuracy. 

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Kennametal Introduces Flat Bottom Geometry For KenTIP FS

Kennametal Introduces Flat Bottom Geometry For KenTIP FS

Kennametal has expanded its replaceable drill offering for KenTIP FS modular drill series with the new FEG insert for flat bottom hole applications. Applicable in steel, cast iron, and stainless steels, the FEG insert eliminates end milling operations and completes a task in a single operation, saving time and tooling costs.

Drilling flat-bottom holes is a challenge. So is drilling on inclined or curved surfaces, drilling into cross holes, drilling stacked plates, and drilling into cross holes, stacked plates and castings and other rough surfaces. Not anymore. Leveraging the success of its KenTIP FS modular drill, Kennametal has developed a unique insert geometry (FEG) that streamlines many of these types of applications and simplifies the drilling of counterbores and pilot holes as well.

“The FEG insert is so versatile, you can use it for nearly all your drilling applications”, says Georg Roth, Kennametal’s Global Product Manager of Holemaking for Modular Drilling Tools.

Get to the point

Aside from one-step drilling of flat-bottom holes, the KenTIP FS-FEG excels at drilling through
cross-holes, inclined exits, and for use as a pilot drill in deep hole applications up to 12xD.

Conceptually, the FEG geometry design is simple. It features a 180 deg cutting edge, and a conical center point, which acts as a pilot to provide exceptional hole position and straightness. Corner chamfers serve to protect the cutting edges and reduce exits burrs. Four margin lands provide stability when breaking into interrupted cuts and cross-holes. And Kennametal’s KCP15A grade uses a nano-structured AlTiN coating and fine grain carbide substrate, providing both toughness and wear resistance when drilling steel, stainless steel, and cast iron. The diameter range covers 6.0 – 26.0 mm (0.236 – 1.024 in.) and drilling depth of up to 12xD is possible depending on the KenTIP FS modular drill body.

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An All-rounder In Metal Cutting

An All-rounder In Metal Cutting

Here’s how a 5-axis universal machine revolutionised the production processes at Polar-Form Werkzeugbau GmbH. Article by GROB.

G550 5-Axis universal machining centre at POLAR-FORM Werkzeugbau GmbH.

Permanent bottlenecks in the milling area and high time and cost pressures in production have, over the years, convinced POLAR-FORM Werkzeugbau GmbH to purchase a 5-axis universal machining centre with automation. An internal technical committee with all decision-makers and machine operators determined what the new machine was capable of or, better still, what existing problems it had to solve. This included issues such as deep hole drilling, milling, high payload weight, large additional tool magazine, large working memory, enormous data volume, limited space, pronounced reliability, and perfect automation.

After intensive market research, three machines were finally selected. The final decision was made in favour of a 5-axis universal machine from GROB, which is equipped with a circular pallet storage system and additional tool magazine.

“We never had any doubts about our decision, but what this machine can really do only gradually became clear to us,” says Polar-Form Production Manager Dietmar Klötzle.

Optimal Configuration – Perfect Training

The detailed work began once it was certain that a machine from GROB would be purchased. Despite the limited space available, the GROB layouts and installation plans enabled the perfect location to be found quickly. 

The training of the employees took place on-site at POLAR-FORM. Even in the initial phase, the trainees practiced on a range of parts that are actually produced at POLAR-FORM.

“The idea behind this was to have the machine demonstrated on POLAR-FORM parts and not just on any sample parts,” says Klötzle. Since the programming of the machine was also carried out on-site using a CAM program, all the employees concerned could be called in and thus were trained from the very beginning. This way, all of the basic settings were quickly covered via testing and the horizontal spindle concept of the new GROB machine could be illustrated very clearly.

Machine programming was also very simple, since it was possible to load the programs much more elegantly than before via the programming station, and this no longer had to be done directly at the machine. “It soon became apparent just how well the CAM system communicates with the G550 and Heidenhain control system,” recalls Michael Gür, team leader for rough cutting at POLAR-FORM. Now the cycles can be transferred one-to-one to the G550—a procedure that was not possible with the previous machines.

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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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