Andrei Petrilin of ISCAR writes about the different directions for the development of cutting tools.
In machining, a cutting tool is an element of a technological system that shapes a part by material removal. The system comprises a machine tool, a workholding fixture and a tool holding device. Shaping a part is performed by various machining processes that use different cutting strategies. The progress made in machining tools resulted in modern machines that enable combined and whole process operations; processes that were separated in the past. Moreover, advanced machine tool capabilities assure applying progressive machining strategies to achieve maximum performance.
The metalworking industry must deal with different engineering materials. Progress in material science and metallurgy not only brought in new exotic materials but also provided technologies to create materials with pre-defined properties. Producing components from such materials has significantly improved the working parameters of the parts, but machining has become more difficult. In many cases, the root of successful machining was connected only with cutting tool limitations.
A cutting tool, the smallest element of the technological system, connects the part directly and is the link between the machine and material. For realising advantages of high-tech machine tools and productive machining strategies, the cutting tool must meet appropriate requirements. Finding a decent answer to these requirements to respond to ever-growing demands of modern metalworking is a base for new developments in the cutting tool field.
The metalworking industry has been through a rough time with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected the world economy and has inevitably led to a decline in economic indicators in the industry. Many bright prospects before the coronavirus were replaced by modest hopes, while on the other hand, this has been a time for deeper analysis of industrial trends, a look into tomorrow, forecasts, and future planning. Progress has not stopped. Metalworking is at the door of serious changes, and the manufacturer should be ready to adopt them. The forthcoming changes cannot bypass cutting tool production—one of the more important links in the metalworking chain. Therefore, to have a clear understanding of the direction of industrial progress and the results of new requirements for the cutting tools of tomorrow is a cornerstone to success for a tool manufacturer. This is the key to new tool developments and the demand for a wide range of products.
There are different directions for the development of cutting tools. The “traditional” way is to make the tools stronger, more productive and cost-effective, a reflection on the natural requirement of the customer to a consumed product. Other directions of development are related to advanced manufacturing technologies that have deeply ingrained the metalworking industry; whereby available tooling solutions still leave a broad field for improvement.
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