Posted by: Russ Willcutt 20. June 2016

Video: Minimize Insert Wear with New Grades

Although steel turning is one of the most common machining operations, manufacturers still face production challenges such as insert wear and cutting interruptions. And while insert wear is inevitable, Seco Tools says its TP2501, TP1501 and TP0501 insert grades featuring the Duratomic coating technology help limit and control it.

These inserts have been designed for reliable and predictable performance. According to the company, these three grades cover all of a manufacturer’s needs for steel turning applications. The insert grades have been developed to provide improved toughness, heat and wear resistance, as well as chemical inertness for longer tool life, even at high cutting speeds. With this extended tool life, sudden breakage can be reduced, and rework and scrap decreased.

Available in a range of insert shapes and geometries for light, medium and roughing operations, the insert grades provide a choice for steel turning, whether the goal is versatile, balanced or high-speed productivity, the company says.

The inserts also feature Seco Edge Intelligence. Surveys conducted by Seco show that 15 percent of the edges on discarded inserts are unused. The Duratomic inserts make it almost impossible to miss which edges have been used, so more parts can be processed per edge, limiting production interruptions and reducing waste. This can be attributed to a chrome coating that has no negative impacts on performance or cutting data.

Take a moment to watch a video on the new insert grades. 

The inserts feature Seco Edge Intelligence, which helps detect the 15 percent average of insert edges that generally go unused when discarded.

The TP2501, TP1501 and TP0501 insert grades have been developed to provide improved toughness, heat and wear resistance, as well as chemical inertness for longer tool life.

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 17. June 2016

Convenient Robot Training


Learning the intricacies of robotic operation, kinematics and programming, usually means a trip to the manufacturer’s training facility or the training facility of one of its representatives. A new Web-based training program, developed by ABB Robotics, lets students and trainees receive the same quality and depth without the need to travel. The training is called IRC5 and consists of course modules that are self-paced, with videos, interactive simulations and practice exercises that enrich the virtual learning environment.

The goal of ABB’s first Web-based course is to offer a top level training option to students or employees who might not have time in their schedules to dedicate to an off-site course.

Students who successfully completing the course and its cumulative exam earn a certificate of completion along with continuing education units (CEUs). Increasingly, robots are being used in manufacturing, and having a well trained staff is in the best interest of every shop.

Click here to learn more about this convenient training program. 

Posted by: Chris Felix 15. June 2016

Taking the Complex Jobs


Change is a part of life. In our industry, one of those significant and unfortunate changes has been the offshoring of a lot of manufacturing work, along with the reshoring efforts that now are growing ever stronger to bring that work back.

One shop we’ve covered in the past has found that the best way for it to reclaim the work has been by tacking the more complex parts that create too much of a challenge for others. Of course the shop needs to remain profitable in the process.

In “Making Complex Parts Profitably,” we take a close look at Alpha Grainger (Franklin, Massachusetts). This company identified CNC multispindle machines as a way to win domestic jobs. The machines are able to complete a part with many small details and features within a cycle time that is 10 percent that of a single-spindle lathe. The shop has four 8-spindle Index machines to handle its complex parts, both bar-fed and chucked, for the automotive, defense, aerospace, mechanical and medical industries.

It’s worth a look. The company has found the investment in the technology to be a wise one.

Posted by: Miles Free 14. June 2016

Precision Doesn’t Necessarily Mean ‘Tiny’

The team at PMPA member Keystone Threaded Products (Valley View, Ohio) shows us that “precision” doesn’t necessarily mean “tiny” as the company threads the ends of 20-foot long, 10-inch stainless steel bars for a metalworking press. The thread is 10 ¼ inch: 4 UNJ RH applied to each end of the 3 ½-ton bar.

20-feet long, two ends to thread, 3 1/2 tons of precision

At Keystone, the operators roll the thread form onto the material, which makes for a stronger thread. Alignment and following the process is critical to assure a good thread.

Thread rolls create the thread form on the workpiece.

Multiple passes are needed to build up the thread to the proper dimensions.

Half a million pounds of pressure are imparted on the rolls to plastically move the steel of the bar into the thread form. Read the gage.

Obviously, it takes knowledge, skills and experience to apply half a million pounds to produce precision work.

Rich says he has rolled larger bars, but skills, experience and a great team to work with create the can-do spirit that makes precision manufacturing a great career.

Here’s another look at a finished bar. Precision does not necessarily mean tiny. 


Posted by: Russ Willcutt 13. June 2016

Making the Cut

Recent years have seen the development of multipurpose cutoff tools that are able to perform as grooving, turning and profiling tools, giving manufacturers the ability to simplify setups and shorten production cycles.

From hand-ground bits to high-speed steel blades to indexable carbide inserts, cutoff tool technology has continued to improve over the years, increasing metalcutting efficiency and lowering operational expenses. A big step in that evolution came with the development in recent years of multipurpose cutoff tools that are able to perform as grooving, turning and profiling tools, giving manufacturers the ability to simplify setups and shorten production cycles, and in some cases, keep fewer tools in the crib.

A case in point is EMC Precision, a precision machining job shop headquartered in Elyria, Ohio. Since 1925, the company has provided prototype to production machining and value-added services to a range of industries including fluid management, hydraulic fluid and power, automotive, recreational, and other OEMs. Ian Dotson, manufacturing engineer at EMC’s facility in Sheridan, Indiana, says he was happy with the tool life and performance of his existing cutoff solution, and was only looking for a reduction in his tooling costs when he called his local Kennametal distributor. It was then he learned about Kennametal’s Beyond Evolution, a single-sided grooving and cutoff system with multidirectional turning capability, through-tool coolant, chip control, and “Triple V” secure seating geometry.

“We were using a 0.118-inch wide PVD-coated insert to cut off 0.75-inch diameter 4140 steel hydraulic actuators,” he says. “We swapped out the old tool for a Kennametal Beyond Evolution cutoff and kept the feeds and speeds the same. After several runs we determined tool life was essentially identical, so from a performance perspective there was no difference, at least not on this job. But the Beyond Evolution inserts are dramatically less expensive, roughly 40 percent of what we were paying for our legacy tools, so it was a clear win for us.”

The next win came on a job Mr. Dotson was running on one of EMC’s CNC lathes; a transmission gear shaft made of 1-1/4 inch 8620 steel and using a 0.236-inch wide tool to back turn a journal on the left side of the part prior to cutoff. In this application, insert cost was still a concern, but Dotson’s primary goal was tool life improvement.

“The lathe isn’t equipped with high pressure cutting fluid, and the standard pump was unable to generate enough pressure for us to utilize coolant through the tool on our old cutoff system,” he explains. “Because of this, we’ve been stuck with flood coolant, and have always had some chip control issues as a result—the chip would roll back on itself and starve the cutting edge of coolant.”

Despite the less than optimal cutting conditions, the Beyond Evolution performed beyond expectations. “We achieved very good results,” Mr. Dotson says. “This time, we increased the cutting speed a bit, from 350 to 400 sfm, and bumped up the feed rates by about 30 percent. Even so, tool life increased threefold, to just over 2,600 pieces per insert. I’m confident we could have cranked up the feeds and speeds even more, especially if we had plumbed the tool for coolant through, but there was no need. This operation supplies another machine, and that one was already running as fast as it could go. The big thing for us was getting more parts between tool changes, and that’s exactly what the Beyond Evolution did.”

Specially designed coolant delivery channels in the Beyond Evolution system separate and direct cutting fluid to where it’s needed most: underneath the chip and into the work area.

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