There was an abundance of innovative manufacturing technology on show including new cutting tool developments and Additive Manufacturing (AM). Peter Eelman, Vice President of the Association of Manufacturing Technology (AMT) which organised IMTS 2014 stated that the exceptionally strong attendance had something to do with the improved North American economy. “Our manufacturing base is stable and the companies are financially strong,” stated Eelman. “Now comes the real opportunity to innovate and grow.”
Eelman pointed to the innovative products on the show floor, and to the dramatic interest in emerging technologies such as Additive Manufacturing, which was the centrepiece of AMT’s Emerging Technology Center (ETC) exhibit. The exhibit featured an electric car that was 3D printed on Monday and Tuesday and was getting the finishing touches of assembly Wednesday and Thursday. The 3D printed car was made of carbon-fibre reinforced polymer using a large-scale additive printer by Cincinnati, Inc. The wheels and hubcaps were also 3D printed using the direct metal process. The result is an electric car that drives at a top speed of 40 mph and only consists of about 40 parts, versus 20,000 parts in a regular car.
“Think of it, a car that didn’t exist on Monday was started up on Friday, and driven off the show floor on Saturday afternoon,” commented Eelman. It demonstrates how close the technology is getting to more mainstream applications. Around 480 people attended the Additive Manufacturing Workshop. Innovations in additive manufacturing at IMTS 2014 will be the focus of an article in a forthcoming edition of Powder Metallurgy Review.
New developments in sintered carbide tools and diamond grinding wheels
Below is a look at some of the novel developments in cutting tool materials announced by leading carbide and diamond tool producers who exhibited at the IMTS 2014 show.
Kennametal announced the introduction of a range of new Beyond Drive cutting tool inserts specifically designed for cast irons, steels, and stainless steels that make up many critical components over a variety of industries. Like all of Kennametal’s Beyond™ line of products, Beyond Drive inserts feature a proprietary post-coat surface treatment that improves edge toughness, reliability, and depth-of-cut notch resistance, and a micro-polished surface to reduce friction and workpiece sticking (BUE). A fine-grained alumina layer allows for increases in cutting speed, improving productivity and reliability at high cutting temperatures.
With Beyond Drive, adding a new titanium oxy-carbonitride outer coating (TiOCN) not only increases wear- and abrasion-resistance, its bronze colour is also an effective wear indicator. Depending on the application, field tests are showing anywhere between 30% and 125% more parts per edge.
All new Beyond inserts are CVD (chemical vapour deposition) coated, but whereas conventional CVD coatings are under tensile stress, Beyond inserts undergo a proprietary post-coat treatment on all surfaces to reduce this stress, which improves coating adhesion and reduces micro-chipping. More uniform and reliable wear of the cutting edge results in improved and more consistent tool life. “Together with the right geometry, we’ve seen big improvements in cutting performance and tool life in both internal and field tests,” stated Manuel Sedan, Senior Product Manager, Turning Products, at Kennametal.
Late last year, Kennametal finalised its acquisition of the tungsten materials business from Allegheny Technologies Inc., including the full line of Stellram sintered carbide tools (formerly ATI Stellram). Now the full platform of Stellram products – with solutions specifically tailored to support energy, aerospace, transportation and other vital industries — are available as part of the Kennametal portfolio.
The Stellram group of products are said to include such production-enhancing milling technologies such as the 7792 and 7793 high-feed milling cutter systems and the 5230 Chevron Long Edge mill cutter system, along with X-Grade carbide insert technology. High-performance materials such as titanium and other low-weight/high-strength alloys of particular interest to the aerospace industry are the materials of choice for these proprietary cutter designs, inserts, and grades.
High-feed milling inserts are available with proprietary Stellram X-Grade technology which uses ruthenium as a key ingredient, combined with a cobalt binder, for superior thermal-cracking and propagation resistance. The results are metal-removal rates up to three times higher than conventional carbide cutting tools and longer tool life. X-Grade inserts are available in a variety of styles for a variety of applications.
NTK Cutting Tools, a division of NGK Spark Plugs of Japan, has released a new proprietary group of advanced composite cutting tool materials called Bidemics, which have been specially developed for machining superalloys such as INCO718.
Bidemics have the potential to achieve much higher productivity with up to 1600SFM machining capability compared with whisker ceramic cutting tools. The Bidemics tools are said to excel under the same machining parameters with results in some cases showing two to three times tool life depending upon the cutting conditions.
At IMTS 2014, NTK released two new grades of Bidemics JX1 for all non-scale machining and JP2 a TiN coated multi-tipped brazed grade for semi-finishing and finishing applications machining high temperature superalloys.
Seco Tools, LLC unveiled several new milling, turning, threading and tool holding products that were developed with material advancements in mind, including a square shoulder cutter that enhances side-milling operations, a multi-edge system that meets the industry’s demand for narrow cutting-edge grooving and parting-off tools, an insert that provides high-performance threads in a single pass, and toolholders with special vibration damping capabilities.
Seco spotlighted several milling insert grades including the new MS2050 that utilises an advanced coating technique and substrate to bring enhanced process reliability and higher cutting data to applications involving titanium alloys. The special PVD coating on the MS2050 not only strengthens the insert’s wear resistance but also eliminates reaction with the workpiece material for increased cutting speeds and tool life and a lower cost per part. MS2050 is available in a variety of positive geometries for square shoulder milling, face milling, copy milling and high-feed milling.
With its four cutting edges and innovative cutter design, the new Square T4 shoulder milling solution displayed at IMTS balances economy and performance when machining cast iron and steel.
Regarding advanced turning inserts for different materials, Seco exhibited its Duratomic coated TK1001 and TK2001 carbide grades that bring exceptional wear resistance and faster cutting speeds to cast iron applications as well as the TP1030 cermet grade that maintains tight tolerances and high surface finish in high-volume threading operations involving steels and stainless steels.
From its Secomax line, the company highlighted CBN010, an uncoated PCBN grade that has high resistance to edge chipping when cutting hardened steels, and CBN060K for turning case hardened steels within the application area defined by H10 – H20 ISO designations.
The new Thread Chaser inserts that Seco had on display at IMTS incorporate multi-tooth patterns to allow push and pull threading of O.D. and I.D. features with one or two passes. The inserts incorporate precise thread patterns that quickly and reliably generate high-accuracy, consistently perfect thread pitches.
The Widia Products Group, a division of Kennametal, announced new geometries and grades in its Victory family of turning inserts at IMTS 2014 that are said to deliver smooth machining, improved efficiencies, and extended tool life for difficult-to-machine materials like Inconel and Rene in complex aerospace applications or cobalt-chromes and high-alloy stainless steels in precise medical applications. The Victory FS is, for example, available in WS10PT, a high-performance PVD coated grade. This grade utilizes a two-layer coating that increases coating integrity and reduces depth-of-cut notching, increasing productivity and dependability. All inserts in the WS10PT grade undergo a post-coat treatment to increase compressive stress and improve edge toughness. This delays built-up edge and results in longer tool life.
WS10PT is also available in other geometries including the Universal Roughing (UR) geometry designed to increase roughing and medium turning performance in stainless steels and steel workpieces. The UR geometry has a unique chip breaker and rake profile design without inflection points which breaks up stringers without concentrating cutting forces that result in breakage. Its positive rake angle further reduces cutting forces while improving depth of cut notching resistance. The multi-layer coating has a ZrCN top coat for both extended performance and improved wear identification. WIDIA grades WP15CT, WP25CT, and WP35CT are also available in the Universal Roughing geometry.
Norton | Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest abrasives and diamond tool manufacturers, recently introduced Norton Paradigm Diamond Wheels featuring a new proprietary patented bond for high grinding performance on carbide round tools and periphery grinding on carbide and cermet inserts. These were on show at IMTS 2014 and Norton stated the new Paradigm wheels offer a high grain retention and uniform structure to provide a high G-ratio (ratio of material removal rate versus wheel wear) for up to 2.5x longer wheel life and a 30% higher material removal rate compared to other superabrasive wheels when grinding 6% and 12% Co carbides.
“Paradigm fluting wheels enable one-pass flute grinding at higher feed rates than previously possible. In periphery grinding of inserts, Paradigm wheels create finer edges, achieve significantly longer wheel life, and faster production rates.” stated Brian Rutkiewicz, Director of Product Management at Norton | Saint-Gobain.
An entirely new abrasives platform, Norton Vitrium3, which features a patent-pending bond technology developed by the Norton | Saint-Gobain R&D team was also launched at IMTS 2014. This revolutionary bond features an exclusive chemistry that promotes excellent grain adhesion, resulting in improved product versatility across a wide range of applications.