Proper Cutting Tool Choice is Vital to Productivity


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Given the competitive world we live in, the difference between manufacturers’ profit and loss, and by extension, success and failure, is determined largely by the effectiveness of machining and tooling strategies. The importance of companies adopting highly efficient tooling and machining methods and continuously embracing technical advancements cannot be overemphasized.

The relentless challenge of constantly finding ways of increasing productivity means removing more metal in a shorter time. Faster machining involves raising feed rates, boosting cutting speeds and increasing the depth of cuts, while ensuring the continued production of high quality components. Although many manufacturers use relatively new machine tools, and feel that further investments in even more efficient models would not be economically viable, the smallest of changes to their tooling strategies can often bring about the desired increase in productivity.

Although the use of modern machine tools is essential, the all-important cutting tool plays a critical role in gaining further productive efficiencies. Research shows that, although cutting tools account for only 3 percent of the total production cost, the choice of the most appropriate cutting tool can deliver savings of as much as 15 percent on overall costs and improve machining productivity by 20 percent.

There are multiple advantages to selecting the most appropriate cutting tools and using optimal machining parameters. In addition to cycle times being slashed, cutting forces will be both reduced and evenly distributed, vibrations will be lessened or eliminated and effective chip evacuation will be achieved. Total energy per piece consumption figures are improved as well. In other words, the shorter the engagement of the tool with the cut, the higher the productivity levels are, and as a result, power is saved. This advantage can be further enhanced by applying a high specification CAD/CAM system to define the shortest path for the tool, coupled with optimizing the machining conditions.

Working in partnership with knowledgeable cutting tool suppliers eases the flow of information related to the latest cutting tool developments and the adoption of advanced new tools and the development of intelligent, new machining strategies that meet ever evolving needs. Also, this technical cooperation enables manufacturers to maximize the value of their investments in modern machinery by increasing equipment usage and optimizing performance.

As the cost of modern machine tools is high, it is important to minimize downtime, therefore the time taken to replace worn tools is a critical factor. Choosing the correct milling cutter provides the ability to significantly reduce machining times, remove additional operations, improve surface finish, enhance accuracy levels and last but not least, improve manufacturers’ profitability.

A vending machine strategically located on a shop floor helps to stabilize the business relationship between the customer and vendor and helps to ensure that business is not lost to competitors who deliver cutting tools in a traditional, less convenient way. Purchasers are seeking to guarantee the instant availability of tools to ensure that their production does not stop. In addition, they see the implementation of an industrial vending machine system as a way to minimize the cost and risk of stock ownership by optimizing stock levels or entrusting the stock ownership with their supplier through consignment arrangements.

The issue of items based on cost centers, such as a part, has other important implications. It allows production planners and shopfloor managers to track the “real” cost per unit (CPU), rather than basing decisions on a theoretical cost. When interfaced with the customer’s ERP, production batch data can be imported. The tool management software not only presents the CPU data, but can also report deviations from a benchmark CPU. In this way, changes in tool life, because of the cutting tool, coolant management, machining parameters or maintenance, can be corrected quickly.

Designing better and innovative cutting tools is the key factor in maximizing productivity. New milling tools and smart CAD/CAM software have many applicative opportunities and are intelligent products. New solutions for efficient metalcutting leads to a good partnership and also increases the IQ of new, high quality cutting tools the intelligent way.