When a tool breaks during a machining operation, the part being processed is often destroyed, and sometimes the machine is damaged. Aerospace parts are often complex shapes, manufactured from exotic materials that require prolonged machining cycle times. Therefore, a scrapped part is a significant loss in raw materials and value-added machining.
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Cutting tool developments are a key driving force in manufacturing productivity, accuracy, and quality. At Sandvik Coromant (Fairlawn, NJ) one of the main trends influencing cutting tool design is developing cutting tools for small-part manufacturing, particularly the medical industry, which is seeing a phenomenal growth of 10 – 20% annually.
Many industries have been making parts with micron dimensions for some time, but in the last few years, the market for miniaturization has expanded. The demand is not only for small parts, but also for small complex features on larger parts. This is due chiefly to the switch to modules in which the functions of several parts or subsystems are not handled by a single complex unit.
A lot of attention is paid to the “business end” of CNC toolholders–the part that actually holds the tool.
“We are developing solutions for power workholding such as hydraulic swing clamps and block clamps, because the real estate on a fixture is so valuable,” says Jason Betz, product specialist for Carr Lane Roemheld (St. Louis). “This pushes the use of smaller workholding components as much as possible because the more parts on the fixture the greater the productivity.”