IMTS 2014: Precision Tooling has Never Been Valued More
Solutions for holding cutters and workpieces securely for precision machining free of accuracy-robbing runout
“Demand for precision tooling has never been higher and valued more, especially since the last recession when manufacturers made significant investments in improving their productivity with advanced technology,” said Tim Fara, president, Bilz Co. Inc. (Lombard, IL).
“Coming out of the last recession 2009–2010, manufacturers took advantage of the tax benefits that were in place and purchased higher technology machine tools with linear guideways, newer controls, higher spindle speed and coolant through for the most sophisticated five-axis and multiaxis machines. Cutting tool manufacturers spent a lot of money on research and on new equipment to produce better carbide grades and substrates and better coatings to machine metals like stainless steel, nickel-based alloys, the Hastelloys, Waspaloys, and newest high tensile strength aluminum alloys for the aircraft market,” said Fara.
“The price of the average end mill for these applications has gone from $6 to $12 apiece, up to $60, due to sophisticated grades, flute configurations, edge preps and geometries. As a result over the last couple of years, manufacturers have begun to realize that they can’t get the performance out of new advanced technology using old toolholding technology. They are willing to consider higher precision collet chucks and milling chucks because of their higher TIR accuracy with their radial load capability. And, they’re looking at shrink-fit systems because that is the most accurate TIR toolholding system on the market. Once they have gone through cost justification of new machine tools, they understand the payback over a 1-, 2-, 3-year period for tooling systems vs the immediate perishable type tooling with an end mill holder.”
Step Back to Get Perspective
A good starting point in discussing the health of US manufacturing is to step back and consider growth in industries like aerospace, medical, and energy, as well as the impact of reshoring, said Kurt Nordlund, president, Seco Tools LLC (Troy, MI). “The reasons for reshoring are well known: difficulty of working at a distance, quality issues, and rising cost of transportation and delivery. As a company, we have specific knowledge about these growing high-tech segments. We have a tradition of being focused on high-strength, heat-resistant materials, like Inconel, titanium, and high-end stainless steel.”
At IMTS, Seco will focus on the materials side of workpieces where the technical content of its products is becoming more important. Said Nordlund: “We’ve expanded our engineering capabilities and moved our Custom Tooling unit closer to our engineering. We are currently fine tuning our My Pages web resource, which makes relevant product, technical information, and project information readily available to our team.”
At IMTS, Seco Tools will unveil several new milling, turning, threading and toolholding products that were developed with material advancements in mind, including a square shoulder cutter that enhances side-milling operations, a multi-edge system that meets the industry’s demand for narrow cutting-edge grooving and parting-off tools, an insert that provides high-performance threads in a single pass, and toolholders with special vibration damping capabilities.
For milling, several Seco insert grades, including the new MS2050, utilize an advanced coating technique and substrate to bring enhanced process reliability and higher cutting data to applications involving titanium alloys. The special PVD coating on the MS2050 not only strengthens the insert’s wear resistance but also eliminates reaction with the workpiece material for increased cutting speeds and tool life and a lower cost per part. For advanced turning inserts for different materials, Seco will exhibit its Duratomic-coated TK1001 and TK2001 carbide grades that bring exceptional wear resistance and faster cutting speeds to cast iron applications as well as the TP1030 cermet grade that maintains tight tolerances and high surface finish in high-volume threading operations involving steels and stainless steels.
Meeting Customer Requirements with Expertise
“Our main focus is meeting customer’s future needs today,” said Ester Codina, VP-marketing and business development, Sandvik Coromant (Fair Lawn, NJ), “and IMTS will be a perfect opportunity to showcase our deep knowledge and expertise within metalcutting.” The Sandvik Coromant Smart Hub will focus on helping attendees discover new ways to boost their business through knowledge, tooling solutions, and services and the latest solutions in hole-making, gear milling, automotive, energy, and aerospace applications.
“We will present machining solutions for difficult-to-machine materials so important in the aerospace and energy industries, for example. Our approach is to help manufacturers meet their machining challenges by simulating operations, choosing the right tools, and supplying CAM programming that ensures quality parts,” said Codina.
There are three important trends that Sandvik Coromant will address at IMTS: what is needed for secure process machining in untended automated production; how shops can now implement digital solutions like the tool library Adveon and how to fill the skills gap with qualified people who want to work in manufacturing. “We will present programs for reliability in production where increasingly one operator is being called upon to have secure control over a number of machines. To address the skills gap, we are getting people interested in working in manufacturing by ramping up our internships, investing in recruiting graduates and opening training opportunities in sales and marketing and R&D, and other company departments,” said Codina.
“At the same time we’re working with our customers, providing training and knowledge that is specific to their manufacturing needs through Smart Events."
Rebranding Effort to Command Center Stage
Over the last year, Command Tooling Systems LLC (Ramsey, MN) has been working on a new look, rebranding its image, and reorganizing the way that it presents its product lines to the market. At IMTS, everything about the marketing strategy, including the company’s new logo and colors, as well as its distinct product lines repositioned under the same Command Tooling Systems brand will be displayed.
Said Bahti Hanedar, CFO: “Command has always been a strong brand in the market, but most of our current customers were only familiar with the standard Command family of tools. We also have great product offerings from EWS, URMA, and our newer Command Swiss Tool line. All of our product offerings are now Command Tools within these classifications: C Class: Command steep taper, HSK, CAT, DIN, toolholding for milling; E Class: live and static tooling from our parent EWS; S Class, Swiss Tool line; U Class, URMA boring tools.”
To support its new approach to the market, Command Tooling Systems invested $2 million in milling/turning, grinding manufacturing capabilities, sources its steel and components locally, and embraces the mantle of “Made in USA” shared with its customers. “Command in the 1990s was well known as the steep taper brand. At IMTS, we’ll introduce an innovative steep taper product that will change thinking about standard manufacturing with heavy-duty end mill applications,” said Hanedar.
Tooling Quality Holds Key to N. American Production
“The emphasis in manufacturing these days is towards quality and reliability. Manufacturers are bringing work back to the US or reshoring production from low-cost nations for various reasons, but quality and reliability are part of that equation,” said Bob Hellinger, president , Emuge Corp. (West Boylston, MA).
“Controlling quality by reducing outsourcing is a trend and in the tooling industry, this means re-emphasizing quality tooling and performance to produce the highest quality products at production rates that make North American manufacturing more economical. Cutting tool manufacturers are being pushed to supply high-performance products that improve production, while maintaining finished part quality,” said Hellinger.
At IMTS, Emuge will highlight new geometries and coating combinations for high-performance threading, milling and drilling applications along with toolholding solutions to maximize performance with live tooling demonstrations. New designs for threading stainless steel, Inconel and titanium are being showcased in the booth along with a new line of high penetration rate carbide drills. Visitors will also find new milling solutions for turbine blade manufacturing that reduce production costs, as well as a unique toolholding solution called SpeedSynchro for high-production tapping.
Expanded Product Line with Innovative Wrinkles
BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc. (Hoffman Estates, IL) will showcase its expanded product lines at IMTS with emphasis on its stated goal of delivering the highest quality, most precise, most reliable and most accurate tooling and accessories to the market.
Kaiser’s entire digital head lineup will be on display, including the new Series 112 EWD 2-32 made for small machines with tight work envelopes. This is Kaiser’s smallest digital precision boring head with a concentric insert holder, and outside of the digital vs. analog readout, has exactly the same characteristics as the existing EWN 2-32 boring head. Features include power management for optimized battery life, a display that can be changed to show diameter adjustment in millimeters or inches, IP 69K seal rating, minimized imbalance with tool carrier in center position and optimized bore depth by a through-hole tool carrier.
BIG Daishowa will feature new extended reach angle heads that are designed for drilling and key slotting in deep and hard-to-reach sections of a workpiece. They utilize +100- mm, +200-mm, and +300-mm extensions on standard angle heads to greatly increase reach. Even amid the ongoing proliferation of increasingly sophisticated multiaxis machine tools, the relatively simple angle head has proven to play a critical role in the production of complex-geometry parts. And now, an extended range of angle head exponentially increases access to deep and accurate cutting.
Speroni will also present its newest innovation, the benchtop Magis CNC. This tool presetter and measuring system is numerically controlled for operator-independent measuring results, in addition to fast, micron-precise axis positioning. Together with the optional Autofocus spindle, an operator can automatically execute measuring cycles, speeding up the measurement process and guaranteeing even more precision. The unmatched repeatability and quality will further increase efficiency and profitability in any operation. ME
—Senior Editor Jim Lorincz
To view the complete IMTS preview for this pavilion as a PDF, click here.
Published Date : 8/1/2014