Tooling technology takes centre stage at MACH 2020
Constant improvements in tooling technology continue to push the boundaries of machining productivity and quality.
MACH 2020, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham from 20th to 24th April, will provide the perfect opportunity for an in-depth look at the latest developments from leading tooling manufacturers, including Ceratizit, Guhring and Horn.
Across the tooling market, the demand is for faster metal removal, better quality, longer tool life, Industry 4.0 connectivity and the ability to machine difficult materials such as titanium and exotic nickel alloys.
In general machining the requirement is to continually push the boundaries of metal removal through the constant evolution in grades, coatings, geometries and base carbide.
Manufacturers are now designing tools with new geometries that incorporate variable pitch cutting edges and variable helix configurations that reduce vibration. This means deeper cuts are possible, giving increased metal removal and reduced cycle times, combined with a better surface finish.
Multi-layer coatings based around aluminium, titanium and nitrogen compounds such as TiALN and AlTiN are being continually refined to improve tool life in demanding applications, while nanomaterials are increasingly being used for the high-performance tools of the future.
Elsewhere, large OEMs are increasingly looking to tool monitoring systems to drill more deeply into the machining process. With the development of Industry 4.0 technology, sensors in the machine tool spindle now measure exactly what is happening at the tool/workpiece interface, providing live data which can be used to accurately monitor performance and repair cycles.
In parallel with this, manufacturers are now starting to mark tools with a unique dot matrix identity code. This contains structured information that can be scanned whenever the tool is used. This means that it can tracked and traced throughout its life -- monitoring how many parts it has machined, what jobs it has worked on and when it has been reground and recoated.
The data being supplied by Industry 4.0 applications can then be analysed to provide more accurate information on aspects such as inspection reports and images of edge damage.
The development of tools for machining exotic materials has primarily been driven by the aerospace sector, although manufacturers now see medical technology as a future strategic area.
Glenn Stanton, UK & Ireland Sales Manager for Ceratizit, says the group is in the forefront of titanium machining, a position arrived at by looking at the complete package of carbide structures, geometries and coatings.
"There has been a drive to massively increase the inherent toughness and wear resistance of the carbide structure -- both for solid carbide tooling and inserts -- while more complex geometries give performance advantages through reduced cutting forces and harmonic vibration," he explains.
He is looking forward to MACH 2020, which he says is the flagship event for the UK marketplace.
"At MACH we will be presenting our four brands: Ceratizit, WNT, Komet and Klenk together on one stand for the first time. That means greater product choice for customers and access to specialist knowledge from across the group all in one place."
The message is clear. If you want to get the most out of your machining processes, MACH 2020 is not to be missed.