Monday, December 20, 2010

News: AMF highlights the elements of high performance machining


December's Advanced Manufacturing Forum (AMF) in Rotherham gave companies working with exotic materials an insight into the many technological elements that can improve performance, from innovative tool design to coolant optimisation.

The AMF is the technology network for manufacturing businesses and run by the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing. The regular AMF events cover a range of topics of relevance to manufacturing businesses, offering insight into current and emerging technologies and supply chain issues.

Paul Williams, product manager at Sandvik Coromant, set the scene by emphasising that businesses which cut high-performance alloys are only making money while the metal is actually being cut.

Steve Maddy of Nikken Kosakusho outlined the role that tool holdings can play in improving performance. A precise interface between the cutting tool and its holder, and between the holder and spindle, can increase the accuracy of the tool and significantly improve tool life.

Mark Kirby of Technicut returned to the role of tool design for aerospace machining, explaining how features such as unequal flute divides, higher flute density and refined geometries can improve work rates, save costs, and reduce capital expenditure requirements.

Steve Rushton of Houghton talked about the importance of choosing the right coolant and other machining fluids. Houghton has been working with the AMRC on a coolant characterisation project to identify the optimal fluids for common titanium alloys, and has demonstrated that the right choice can significantly extend tool life. Similar trials are now starting for Inconel and other high-performance alloys.

James Butler of Dormer and Ken Baldwin of CAM software group Open Mind closed the morning's talks with a joint presentation on how the right choice of tool and tool path can improve performance in rough cutting.

AMF website


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