So Many Cutting Tool Options

Life is full of choices. The metalworking industry is no different, and cutting tools are a great example—lots of variations, lots of suppliers. Knowledge is power in the decision making process.


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I am always looking for options that yield something unexpected.
— Damian Woetzel

As I begin to write this edition of “My Turn,” March Madness has barely begun. The college basketball conference tournaments have finished, and the brackets have been determined for the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Who will be National Champion this year? Will a top seed such as Duke or Virginia pull it out, or will someone come out of nowhere and surprise us? By the time you read this column, we’ll know the answer, so not much sense in rambling about it here. But the discussion leads to another point about choices that readers may be able to relate to if they’ve tried to pick winners of the tournament games.

Really, the thought of challenging choices shows up often in any team sports. The next example that comes to mind for me is selecting players for a team. Colleges have extensive recruiting programs set up to scout, negotiate with and sign the most suitable athletes for their teams. Athletes looking to play in college bear the burden of identifying schools where they would like to attend, seeing if the programs (both athletic and academic) fit their requirements and gaining favor with the coaches to generate an interest in what they can offer the teams.

Professional teams go through their own process of selecting players as well. Each preseason they draw together well more than the required number of players, observe their talents in both practice and scrimmage games and narrow the field through a decision-making process.

Many of you can probably even relate to something I remember from childhood—forming teams on the playground. Whatever the game was, we had team leaders who would alternate selecting players from the group of participants. (That was always a painful experience for the poor kid who was picked last!)

Choices abound. The world of metalworking is no different. And when it comes to cutting tools, look out! The variety of cutting tools seems endless, and the list of suppliers is quite long. A quick look at the Production Machining Buyer’s Guide reveals that the Cutting Tools section is more than three times longer than any other. There’s a lot of competition in this market, and there’s a good reason why.

U.S. manufacturing goes through a lot of cutting tools. According to the Cutting Tools Market Report from AMT-The Association for Manufacturing Technology and the U.S. Cutting Tools Institute, U.S. cutting tool consumption in January 2019, alone, totaled more than $200 million, which was up more than 10 percent from the previous month. Clearly this is an important topic for us to cover.

When we feature a Cutting Tools emphasis in the magazine, it’s typically one of the easiest topics for which to find leads. Not only are there a lot of suppliers, but the technology is changing so quickly that it’s important to get the word out. We usually will feature this topic twice each year because we want to do as much as we can to help readers learn about new technologies and be better informed when selecting the products that will best suit their needs.

This month’s issue includes two articles about cutting tool technology. In “A Rolling Cutting Tool Boosts Turning Efficiency,” we examine Rollfeed turning, which adds a third axis that moves simultaneously with the X and Z axes during the turning operation to roll the cutting tool across the surface of the part. The insert has a special geometry that helps to provide reduced machining times, minimized tooling costs and high surface qualities. Cutting tool manufacturer Vandurit GmbH collaborated with machine tool manufacturer Emag in the development of the technology and is now rolling it out globally.

Our Tech Brief this month takes a look at a series of deburring tools (from Heule Tool Corp.) for cross bores. Integrated into a machine tool’s magazine, it can handle three types of bores: those with an identical or almost identical diameter crossing each other; bores that merge into one another; and crossing bores with offset centers.

The extensive variety of cutting tools keeps our options open when it comes to pursuing editorial in this technology. Suppliers generally have a broad selection of products to serve varying needs, allowing us access to many of the latest and most interesting developments. Cutting tools are a hot topic.