Since acquiring Niagara Cutter in 2010, Seco has invested $7 million to upgrade Niagara Cutter’s manufacturing plant and equipment in Reynoldsville, PA, with another $25 million slated to be invested over the next three years. Niagara Cutter’s manufacturing processes include application and design technology for milling cutters, machining, heat treat, CNC tool grinding, cleaning and tool preparation, and vacuum technology in PVD thin film coatings. Its CNC tool grinders (predominantly Walters and Rollomatics) are used to produce solid-carbide, high-speed steel and diamond-coated end mills as well as solid-carbide multi-purpose thread mills for general machining, aerospace, automotive, and oil and gas industries.
“The decision to acquire Niagara Cutter was an easy one to make because of the culture of the company, the quality of its technology, the consistency of its products, and its reputation,” said Rob Keenan, president of Seco Tools (Troy, MI). “In fact, that reputation is exactly why we chose to retain Niagara Cutter as the brand.” Niagara Cutter currently employs about 120 people at its facility, which can manufacture any Niagara product that Seco offers as well as some standard Jabro products (a Seco Tools brand) and solid-carbide drills for the European market, if needed.
“Our customers are evolving. They’re looking for high-quality products at a reasonable price. They are machining more complex parts with machine tools that are equipped with faster feed rates and software that produces highly efficient toolpaths,” said Joel Radner, Niagara Cutter’s national sales manager for solid tooling.
Seco is shifting the mix of products at Niagara Cutter to a higher percentage of high-performance tools, well over half. “That’s where the business is going,” said Radner. “We are seeing a lot more five-axis machines and light-duty CAT 40, 30 hp [22-kW] machines rather than the huge gantry-style 60 hp [44-kW] machines of the past. Our customers are using smaller machines and doing much less heavy roughing as near net shape, composites, and additive manufacturing impact component design.”
Niagara Cutter offers two different types of cutting tools designed to capitalize on their high-performance capabilities. The six-flute Multi Flute end mill is designed for optimized and peripheral roughing and finishing applications in stainless, titanium, and high-temperature alloys. Eccentric OD relief of the end mill creates a stronger cutting edge and variable indexing reduces harmonics, providing smoother cutting and improve surface finish. The Multi Flute end mill features an advanced chip splitter for better chip control in applications requiring DOCs up to 3xD. The new Stabilizer 2.0 end mill incorporates a patented continuously varying asymmetrical configuration with a flute shape that allows for feed rates twice that of the current Stabilizer.