Modern-Day Metalworking: Examining Cutting Tools Technology
Metalworking has grown by leaps and bounds with the latest in manufacturing technology. Cutting tools and machining processes have evolved to the point where industrial equipment can be made faster and at lesser expense than ever before. These end products are used in every facet of life from the home to the office and in essentially every industry and market. The end result of these advances is to make the manufacturing sector competitive in the global marketplace by providing precision products at the lowest price.
New technologies focus on refining overall production processes. The best way to do so is to combine multiple process steps into one machining operation. Every time materials have to be switched between machines, there is lost time due to loading and unloading along with repositioning and workholding. New working materials and processes helps accomplish the reduction in working steps required for precision products.
Hard Turning And Milling Operations
A common bottleneck in working with hard metals was the need for intermediate working steps. For example, if the cutting tools in use were not capable of working a hard metal, that metal would have to be worked and then heat treated to its final hardness, requiring additional finishing and grinding steps afterward. For example, industrial equipment made from high hardness materials would be worked in an annealed condition and then would be heat treated, requiring further grinding and finishing.
Today’s hard turning machine steps are able to avoid all of that intermediate work. Specialized cutting tools made from polycrystalline cubic boron nitride can turn and mill hardened materials without an annealing step to lower hardness. This particular metalworking breakthrough imparts a number of highly desirable properties into machine components: high toughness, chemical stability, high hardness and high thermal conductivity along with a low thermal expansion coefficient. By removing entire working steps, finished products can come off the line cheaper, faster, and with fewer flaws or off specification rejects.
Hard turning can also supplant grinding in some cases. When this applies, hard turning runs faster than grinding, again lowering both run times and costs.
High Speed Cutting Tools
Many high speed processes were reserved for softer metals as well, such as aluminum. The same issue with annealing and heat treatment also applied for this type of metalworking. But just like turning, new high speed cutting tools can handle harder metals without the intermediate process steps. Again, today’s technology is focused on reducing the per unit cost of all types of industrial equipment.
It might seem counterintuitive, but speeding up metalworking processes actually generates high precision products. Each new step introduces a chance for error, either in part due to human mistakes, improper workholding, machines working outside of specifications, and over working. The ability to cut out intermediate work has a noticeable impact on quality control.
Safety And Reliability – Dry Machining
The polycrystalline cubic boron nitride material’s properties also preclude the need for cooling fluids. This is accomplished due to the ability of the polycrystalline cubic boron …