When machining difficult products, do we really use all the tools we have available? Obviously, part geometry dictates what we must do to produce parts needed, however, it does not dictate how we can create the shapes.
One area of concern for many shops and programmers is tool life when machining forgings or materials with a tough outer layer. While working with customers who deal with this problem, we observe how they process these parts. We should look at trying to process these parts in three distinctive phases.
Phase one: How do we remove the tough outer scale areas? In many cases we see processes that simulate what I would classify as finish machining passes. In other words, using tooling that simulates the final geometry of the part and exposes the nose radius of the tool. This is the weakest area of the tool and using it this way generates heat, harming tool life.
Lead-angle tooling allows you to use the strongest edge or radius of the tool and reduce the heat being put back into the part. Many times, machinists dismiss lead-angle tools or even round tools because they do not match the finished part geometries. One common argument says lead-angle and round tools add time to the machining process. However, downtime due to poor tool life and broken tools often adds more process time than slowing down the machine to protect the tool.
Phase two: Prepare the part of the finish pass. In this phase you may need to add a pass or a tool to generate corner radii or other geometries that will allow you to finish the part with the finish pass. For instance, if a milled surface calls for a square shoulder, you may have to add a tool that allows you to remove material left by the roughing tool that has a 45° lead angle. Phase three: Finish the part with the final geometry. This will require tooling that matches the finished part geometry and allows us to have a quality finished part for minimal cost.
In many instances, we review what the cycle time is to evaluate the total cost. However, total cost also includes the downtime to change tools, costs of broken tools, and the frustration that the operator endures to run the machine to produce these parts.
When we have difficult parts to produce due to hard material, we can use geometry to solve our manufacturing problems. Ask your tooling provider to help you select the proper geometry to produce your parts at the lowest possible cost.
Mike Ramsey, president of CMR Consulting, retired from Kennametal Inc. as vice president, global machine tool industry sales, after 39 years of service in sales and marketing. He can be reached at email@example.com.
On Dec. 9, 2020, Bell Flight’s Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) flew with 110 lb of payload over an 8-mile route at Bell’s testing site near Fort Worth, Texas. To date, the APT test program has completed more than 300 flights.
“The APT flight test team continues to push the capabilities of our aircraft, and we are excited to hit this milestone,” says John Wittmaak, unmanned aerial systems program manager.
In 2021, Bell engineers plan to demonstrate several military and commercial operations with the APT while simplifying user interfaces and enhancing the aircraft’s autonomous features.
SkyVision team wins AUVSI award
The SkyVision joint effort between the Air Force, the state of Ohio, and industry partners won first place in the Technology & Innovation (Hardware – Platform) category of 2020’s Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI) Awards.
SkyVision’s ground-based detect and avoid capability enables UAS to sense and avoid other aircraft when operated remotely, especially when flown in beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) mode.
AeroVironment teams with Robotic Skies for UAS MRO
Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) provider AeroVironment Inc. is teaming with Robotic Skies, a global maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) network for UAS, to provide field maintenance, inspection, and repair support for AeroVironment customers.
Robotic Skies Founder and CEO Brad Hayden says, “With Robotic Skies, AeroVironment customers can get the benefit of high-quality, OEM-certified maintenance and the peace of mind knowing they can meet any maintenance-related waiver requirements.”
Founded in 2014, Robotic Skies has 200 independently owned and operated certified repair stations in its growing network, spanning more than 40 countries.
The contract value is estimated throughout 10 years and includes depot-level maintenance activities, predefined programmatic work, aircraft modification, and unplanned drop-in maintenance.
Work will be performed at the company’s Greenville, South Carolina site, establishing the first U.S.-based F-16 industry depot to support government-owned depots.
F-16s make up approximately 45% of the Air Force fighter fleet, and several modernization and structural programs will significantly increase depot level workload, as the Air Force plans to operate the F-16 for decades to come.
The WTX high-feed drill features four cutting edges for increased precision, productivity, and service life.The pyramid geometry ensures extremely aggressive and precise drilling performance.
WTX achieves 0.03mm positioning accuracy and consistent centering properties. Drilling quality, hole tolerance, surface finish, and positioning accuracy increase component quality, reducing or eliminating rework. Low burr formation when entering/exiting the hole eliminates subsequent deburring.
The four-flute design enables high feeds in steel processing and secure and quick chip removal.
The applied Dragonskin uses TiAIN nanolayer coating with a 0.35 coefficient of friction and allows for maximum application temperatures of 1,832ºF.
Milling cutter with round insert
The M2471 milling cutter includes a double-sided round insert with eight cutting edges, reducing cutting material costs up to 20%.
Featuring 0.98" (25mm) diameters with parallel shank or ScrewFit modular interface, it allows face and copy milling steel, stainless steels, and materials with difficult cutting properties. Indexing using the flank face of the indexable insert ensures simple, safe handling. The indexable insert is available in G57 and K67 geometries for medium machining conditions and for good machining conditions. It’s also available in Tiger·tec Silver PVD grades WSM35S and WSP45S, boosting tool life.
It offers high metal-removal rate even on low-performance machines due to its soft cutting geometries and positive cutting characteristics.
The TURNPWR lathe control is a workshop-oriented turning control that enables users to program conventional machining operations at the machine in a user friendly programming language. It’s designed for turning machine tools with up to two axes.
The Acu-Rite conversational programming format for controls is a user-friendly method of writing part programs and is included in the TURNPWR. G-code (ISO) programming can also be used.
A 12.1" high-resolution display boasts a clear screen layout. Preview graphics in the editor illustrate machining steps for programming the contour and corresponding tool path generated using only dimensions pulled from a production drawing.
TURNPWR is a closed-loop system with positioning feedback provided by rotary encoders inside the motor assemblies. When fitted with the optional Acu-Rite precision glass scales (1µm/0.00005" resolution), TURNPWR also includes Position-Trac, allowing users to quickly re-establish workpiece zero after shutting down or power loss.
Abrasive safety guide
The Safety Resource Microsite offers a range of resources to help ensure safe design, application, and use of Norton abrasives products.
Content includes safety data sheets for Norton’s products including grinding wheels, portable wheels, and coated/ non-woven abrasives. Various safety videos also cover applications using form belts, precision grinding and dressing, guard conversions on right angle grinders, and wheel mounting.
A Safety Icon Library demonstrates how to identify different types of safety icons including hazard alert, prohibition, mandatory action, and proper machine use.
Exchangeable drill insert, premium toolholders
The i-One system consists of exchangeable micro-grain carbide drill inserts and premium tool steel toolholders with coolant channels. It allows engineers to help customers maximize machining productivity and profitability. i-One drills come in various insert sizes, and toolholders are available in 3xD, 5xD, and 8xD depths and in ODs from 0.393" to 1.328" (10mm to 33.73mm).
Horizontal machining center
The HN80E-5X 5-axis horizontal machining center, the largest in the heavy-duty HN-5X series, features 49.2" of travel in the X-axis, 48.4" in Y-axis, and 47.2" in Z-axis. Max. workpiece diameter is 49.2" x 39.4", and max. weight is 3,300 lb.
Simultaneous 5-axis machining improves cycle times and machined surfaces of complicated and 3D curved components. A 5-axis compensation function ensures high accuracy for extended periods. Five-face machining reduces the number of setups and simplifies fixtures for substantially reduced changeover times. For additional efficiency, the tool magazine is driven by a servo motor for fast, reliable indexing.