External-Coolant Live Tooling Heads Get an Upgrade
One of the most important aspects of effective coolant usage is precise delivery to where it is needed in the cut. Coolant lines and tubes that require manual positioning by the operator are prone to poor placement and obstruction by the tool itself. Through-coolant dedicated live tooling heads can often provide a more effective solution, but these systems can be expensive and require quite a bit of maintenance.
Rego-Fix has developed the reCool system as another alternative. The system is designed to allow shops to quickly, easily and cost effectively transform the standard external-coolant live tooling heads on their turning machine turrets into those with through-tool-coolant capability.
With reCool, shops gain the benefits of through-the-tool coolant delivery, such as longer tool life, more efficient chip control, and less heat generation for faster speeds and feeds (and, thus, shorter cycle times and increased productivity). Plus, they avoid the initial cost of dedicated through-coolant heads as well as the required routine maintenance (O-rings and lubrication) and complete system rebuilds that may be required every few years.
The maintenance-free reCool system uses only four components—a clamping nut with outer ring, a coolant pipe, a straight fitting, and an elbow fitting—and retrofits onto existing live tooling heads (straight and angled) in approximately 2 minutes. The system requires that live heads have an ER output on them.
The four different kit connectors thread into all of the industry’s common types of live heads with straight thread holes. Rego-Fix also offers a range of specially designed adapters for other manufacturers’ systems.
The best holders to use with the system are those with internally threaded regular ER-type nuts. According to the company, approximately 50 percent of the market already uses this type of holder on their turning machine turret angled and straight live heads. Any standard ER collet works with the system, which accommodates collet sizes from ER 16 through ER 40 while handling maximum cutting speeds of 6,000 rpm and delivering coolant pressures as high as 300 psi.
Rego-Fix is currently developing an externally threaded nut version as well as a high-pressure system that would handle coolant pressure up to 1,000 psi.
Through its clamping nut, the system induces a tooling head’s external coolant supply into the collet holder cavity. Also, because the system brings the coolant in through the collet cavity, it prevents coolant from seeping back into the internal compartment of the live tooling head. Such seepage is what leads to the typical maintenance issues of dedicated through-coolant heads.
Along with standard ER collets, for drilling, the system uses the company’s sealing disks, which snap into the clamping nut and can be exchanged to match the drill shank diameters for sealing and directing coolant through the drill. For milling, the company’s coolant flush disks, matching end mill diameters, snap into the nut and channel coolant flow down along the shank and side of the tool.
The clamping nut does not require gaskets or O-rings, making it and the entire system maintenance-free. Instead, it uses the coolant as a seal and bearing. During system operation, machine tool coolant fills a small gap between the rotating component and the mating stationary nut. Once the gap is full, a liquid bearing forms and reduces friction and dissipates heat caused by system rotation. This design also helps to maintain lower operating temperatures to preserve internal components.
reCool works with basically any level of coolant pressure, as long as the coolant is filtered and a strong, consistent flow is maintained. Also, during operation, a machine’s coolant system experiences no loss of pressure. The only other key system requirement—because the system uses coolant as a bearing—is that the machine tool’s coolant must be switched on and flowing prior to starting a cutting tool’s rotation in the live head.
Increased Machine Production
External flood coolant can be messy and time consuming. With each tool change, shops must interrupt machining operations to readjust flood coolant nozzles, and, in many instances, getting the spray close in to the cut zone can prove impossible.
Coolant-through tooling and the reCool system always keep coolant pinpointed at the cutting tool’s edge and precisely in the cut zone to evacuate chips and reduce heat, which ultimately shortens part machining cycle times. For instance, when drilling a deep hole, through-tool coolant eliminates having to engage a time-consuming pecking operation to pull chips out of the hole and relieve built-up heat. Shops can drill holes in one continuous feed. Also, because through-tool coolant controls heat better, shops can machine parts at much higher speeds and feeds without the risk of excessive heat generation or premature tool wear.
Shops that use live head systems can benefit by cost effectively incorporating through-tool coolant into their operations. This system provides a way to convert existing tooling systems to include through-tool-coolant capability in as little as 2 minutes, without involving the maintenance and rebuild fees associated with through-coolant heads.