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Improving Cutting Tool Life and Performance

Multiple axis CNC machines are substantial investments for any company. From sophisticated high-end milling to the simplest drilling and lathing centres, the productivity of these machines is highly dependent on the sharpness, reliability and longevity of their cutting tools.

Tool condition also directly affects the surface finish of a machined area and any need for additional processing to meet the required end product quality.

Cutting tool manufacturers go to great lengths to design and make them effective for the materials and workpieces to be cut. Drilling holes, for example, in composites, aluminium, steel, hard and soft plastics all require drill bits with different characteristics.

Running machines with a worn and less than optimum tool puts quality and productivity at risk.

Worn tools – whether HSS, Carbide or coated, can all be re-finished to the original manufacturer’s standard or sometimes even better. To achieve this takes more than re-grinding alone as this often leaves a sharp and brittle cutting edge which is easily chipped.

Fintek subcontract tool surface finishing services for users and manufacturers not only fine grinds but also edge hones and smooths in a single process. Edge honing to put the perfect radius (sometimes called ‘edge rounding’) on the cutting point, strengthens the edge to retain sharpness longer.

Magnified image showing edge honing on cutting tool

To maximise performance and tool life it is vital that flutes allow chips to be cleared from the cutting point efficiently, ensuring that lubricant reaches the point unimpeded – especially important for a difficult material to work such as aluminium.

  • Edge rounding prevents chipping
  • Smooths unevenness in the peaks on the surfaces in the chip flutes to reduce friction and wear
  • Precision of the process restores the original cutting geometries for optimum tool performance
  • Depending on the material being cut, they can be run faster as less friction reduces generated heat
  • Quality of the machined surfaced is often higher which may avoid further finishing processes
  • Tool life is usually more than tripled before needing to be re-finished
  • Avoids the practice of resetting the cutting machine to allow for tool defects    

For tool manufacturers, Fintek provide a full range of OTEC DF and SF machines with specially designed tool holders that ensure thread cutting taps, drill bits, end-mills, rotary cutters, routers, tableting punches, gear cutters, roughing cutters and more can all be deburred and surface finished with ease.

Mass finishing of cutting tools

Extending the expected tool life adds significant value to the end user through improved performance and quality of cutting, reducing downtime for tool changes and boosting productivity.

  • Ideal for high speed inline production
  • Fully automated and robotised loading/unloading
  • Reliable, repeatable quality
  • Removes hard droplets formed by PVD or DLC coatings
  • Radius, deburr, smooth and polish in a single cycle
  • PLC control stores optimum process parameter
  • Touch screen operation makes staff training easy