18 November 2016 – Achieving advanced materials is a complicated issue, machinists are always looking for greater throughput, better tool life and better yields. Ed Fagan are often asked what is the optimum cutting tool or machining parameters. It is worth remembering not every batch of material is exactly the same, machines deteriorate in capability over time and what was the perfect setting for your company once, may not be now – but is there an empirical benchmark for you to reference? Scorpion Tooling UK Ltd. have been working with the University of Bath for over a year on optimising cutting tools for difficult-to-machine materials. Since November 2015 they have undertaken a three year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project to further develop and investigate machining techniques and cutting tool geometry for materials such as Titanium and Aluminum. Ed Fagan Europe are now collaborating with Scorpion Tooling UK Ltd. to develop machining benchmarks for their alloys that include Invar, Kovar, MuMetal and Hiperco 50.
Ed Fagan are suppliers of specialist Nickel-Iron and Nickel-Iron-Cobalt alloys that require machining to be sympathetic to the grain structure. The materials need to be kept in the Austenitic condition to maintain the Magnetic or Controlled Expansion properties, but this slow approach contradicts many economic metrics set. Should the material be machined too aggressively pockets of work hardened material can appear or even tears in the skin can develop. This will often result in additional heat treatment, tool setting and possibly additional set of tools. If this wasn’t hard enough, the materials are very soft and coarse, meaning the tool wear rate is extremely high and high levels of torque are placed on the machine itself.
Scorpion Tooling UK Ltd. specialise in producing dedicated tooling for specific materials to meet the individual needs of their clients. Their focus is on improving performance of precision cutting tools reducing processing times and increasing performance from the machines their customers operate. Having in house testing facilities with some very sophisticated software supported by University of Bath they are able to identify the weak links in the tool/material interface and produce the perfect tool and machine setting for customers. This very often leads financial gains from throughput, tool life and less pressure on margins.
With a solid reference point to benchmark from, customers will be in a privileged position knowing they are obtaining the best results for their clients and best return on the capital invested. With the increased requirements on the European supply chain from the Aerospace and Automotive industry currently, this valued information will enable companies compute accurately costs of jobs, Mean Time Between Changes and Scrap rates – and to borrow a phrase from another successful industry – the result being the aggregation of marginal gains.