New developments in the manufacture of precision tools On show at METAV 2020 – Measurement equipment and new technologies play key role in the toolmaking process chain

Tool pro­duc­tion demands max­i­mum pre­ci­sion and qual­i­ty. New tech­nolo­gies, such as addi­tive process­es or laser-assist­ed pro­duc­tion for the fine struc­tur­ing of design and func­tion­al sur­faces, are increas­ing­ly being used along­side con­ven­tion­al man­u­fac­tur­ing process­es. Exhibitors at METAV 2020 from 10 to 13 March in Düs­sel­dorf will be high­light­ing cru­cial aspects in the man­u­fac­ture of pre­ci­sion tools. 

Mapal has used additive methods to optimise the temperature resistance and geometry of the hydraulic expansion chuck. Photo: Mapal
Mapal has used addi­tive meth­ods to opti­mise the tem­per­a­ture resis­tance and geom­e­try of the hydraulic expan­sion chuck.
Pho­to: Mapal

Tools must be of the required qual­i­ty to ful­fil their machin­ing tasks and ensure max­i­mum pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. “There are major pro­duc­tion chal­lenges in the man­u­fac­ture of spe­cial tools, such as cus­tom-adapt­ed stepped or fine drilling tools. The speed with which these tools can be pro­duced is often deci­sive,” says Prof. Dirk Bier­mann, Head of the Insti­tute of Machin­ing Tech­nol­o­gy (ISF) of the Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty of Dort­mund. Lead­ing tool man­u­fac­tur­ers have made enor­mous progress recent­ly in this area in an attempt to meet the demands for ever short­er deliv­ery times for spe­cial tools. Addi­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing offers many advan­tages here. “Tar­get­ed devel­op­ments are also cru­cial, such as cut­ting edge prepa­ra­tion or lay­er post-treat­ment. The aim is to have appro­pri­ate­ly con­struct­ed pre­ci­sion tools, espe­cial­ly for the machin­ing of chal­leng­ing high-per­for­mance mate­ri­als,” says Bier­mann, men­tion­ing a fur­ther aspect.
Thomas Feile, test engi­neer at Mapal Dr. Kress KG says: “Of course, the grind­ing of tools at accu­ra­cy lev­els down to the near­est µm requires mod­ern machin­ery and high­ly qual­i­fied employ­ees.” Fur­ther cru­cial aspects for pre­ci­sion tool man­u­fac­tur­ers are data con­sis­ten­cy and the reli­able exchange of files and infor­ma­tion from the design, pro­duc­tion plan­ning and pro­duc­tion depart­ments, for exam­ple.

Mea­sure­ment tech­nol­o­gy plays key role in tool man­u­fac­ture

Mea­sure­ment tech­nol­o­gy plays a deci­sive role in pro­duc­tion at Mapal, espe­cial­ly in the test­ing of crit­i­cal fea­tures. “We check the diam­e­ters, the grind­ing qual­i­ties, the cut­ting edge round­ing as well as the micro and macro geome­tries, for instance. And mea­sure­ment tech­nol­o­gy is not only a key fac­tor in the man­u­fac­ture of our tools, it is also cru­cial in their deploy­ment by our cus­tomers. That is why we include mea­sur­ing and set­ting devices in our port­fo­lio. They allow cus­tomers to adjust their tools with absolute pre­ci­sion,” explains test engi­neer Feile. “Tools nowa­days usu­al­ly require spe­cial microshap­ing of the cut­ting edges in order to ensure max­i­mum pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. And that’s why suit­able mea­sur­ing sys­tems and eval­u­a­tion strate­gies need to be deployed for the pre­cise analy­sis and quan­ti­ta­tive deter­mi­na­tion of the var­i­ous aspects of the cut­ting edge microstruc­ture,” adds Bier­mann, who is also a mem­ber of the WGP (Ger­man Aca­d­e­m­ic Asso­ci­a­tion for Pro­duc­tion Tech­nol­o­gy).

Process chain analy­sis for opti­mum sur­face qual­i­ty

A fur­ther key aspect of tool pro­duc­tion is sur­face qual­i­ty. Depend­ing on the tool require­ments, Mapal uses var­i­ous fin­ish­ing process­es such as grind­ing, hon­ing, vibra­to­ry grind­ing and pol­ish­ing. “The chal­lenge is to select the right grind­ing wheel para­me­ters, for exam­ple, for the mate­r­i­al being machined. The flutes of sol­id car­bide tools, for exam­ple, are pol­ished. The com­pa­ny dif­fer­en­ti­ates between six dif­fer­ent accu­ra­cy lev­els for sol­id car­bide tools. These are man­u­fac­tured using dif­fer­ent process­es — from grind­ing and fine fin­ish­ing to fine pol­ish­ing,” says Feile, describ­ing the Mapal approach.

Pol­ish-grind­ing is appro­pri­ate for the active sur­faces of pre­ci­sion tools. A good flute sur­face is impor­tant in drilling tools in order to ensure effec­tive chip removal even with high cut­ting data lev­els and chal­leng­ing work­piece mate­ri­als, espe­cial­ly when pro­duc­ing deep bores,” explains Bier­mann. The ISF joined forces with well-known indus­tri­al com­pa­nies in an AiF (Arbeits­ge­mein­schaft indus­trieller Forschungsvere­ini­gun­gen “Otto von Guer­icke” e.V.) research project to car­ry out tests into improv­ing the tar­get­ed use in terms of grind­ing wheel selec­tion, dress­ing con­di­tions and process para­me­ters. The Insti­tute will be report­ing on its research work at METAV.

Arndt Fie­len, sales man­ag­er at Zecha Hart­met­all-Werkzeug­fab­rika­tion GmbH in Königs­bach-Stein, empha­sis­es: “When machin­ing work­pieces, the best pos­si­ble sur­face qual­i­ty is achieved by con­duct­ing a pre­cise and spe­cif­ic analy­sis of the entire process chain in your own company’s pro­duc­tion facil­i­ties and those of the cus­tomer.” It is also impor­tant to scru­ti­nise details and, where nec­es­sary, to change and opti­mise the exist­ing process­es. Spe­cial tools are often required in pro­duc­tion process changeovers dur­ing the pro­cess­ing of lead-free mate­ri­als, for exam­ple. In this case, it is often minor details which decide whether a tool is appro­pri­ate or not. Does the cut­ting edge radius match the feed per tooth? Are the tool angles cor­rect for the tough­ness of the mate­r­i­al in order to opti­mise the sur­faces and chip break­age, or must a new tool clamp­ing option be con­sid­ered in order to avoid vibra­tion? “We often coop­er­ate with the cus­tomer to gen­er­ate dif­fer­ent tool vari­ants which we then test in order to obtain the most eco­nom­i­cal result,” reports Fie­len.

New solu­tions for enhanced per­for­mance A fur­ther cru­cial aspect in tool man­u­fac­tur­ing is inno­v­a­tive tech­nolo­gies. “We want to make the best pos­si­ble prod­ucts for our cus­tomers. And that’s why we also rely on new solu­tions,” says Thomas Feile. “One exam­ple is addi­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing. This has con­sid­er­ably opti­mised our hydraulic expan­sion chucks with regard to tem­per­a­ture resis­tance and geom­e­try etc.”

Mapal has also devel­oped its own open cloud plat­form, c‑COM, in order to ensure con­sis­tent and trans­par­ent tool man­age­ment. This will pro­vide the data which indus­try requires in order to go ful­ly dig­i­tal. The plat­form links all the com­pa­nies along the sup­ply chain and, accord­ing to test engi­neer Feile, reduces the effort and costs for all involved. At the same time, the solu­tion also enables for­ward-look­ing, com­pa­ny-wide plan­ning and cross­com­pa­ny col­lab­o­ra­tion in the man­u­fac­ture of pre­ci­sion tools. With this in mind, Mapal will be explor­ing the sub­ject of “Com­mu­ni­ca­tion between machine and tool — Digi­ti­sa­tion” in detail in the VDMA Clamp­ing Tech­nol­o­gy Forum at METAV.

We are gen­er­at­ing new ways for increas­ing cus­tomer ben­e­fit by con­stant­ly opti­mis­ing and invest­ing in our own pro­duc­tion capac­i­ties and tool tech­nolo­gies. One exam­ple of this is a high-end tool line with a laser­ma­chined dia­mond-coat­ed cut­ting edge that offers eco­nom­i­cal machin­ing – even of lead-free or non-fer­rous mate­ri­als which are dif­fi­cult to machine,” says Arndt Fie­len, cit­ing one of Zecha’s new solu­tions. At METAV, the com­pa­ny will be pre­sent­ing new devel­op­ments in the field of micro cut­ting tools. “These include our high-end tool series for machin­ing chal­leng­ing non-fer­rous mate­ri­als and for hard milling in tool and mould mak­ing,” says Fie­len.

The Dort­mund-based ISF also offers var­i­ous process devel­op­ment pos­si­bil­i­ties for adapt­ing pre­ci­sion tool pro­duc­tion to the respec­tive appli­ca­tion in the most effec­tive way. “We are hap­py to help indus­tri­al com­pa­nies in their own devel­op­ment efforts by pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal knowhow, spe­cial analy­sis equip­ment as well as machines and sys­tems. Some of these are unique and are designed to help opti­mise pre­ci­sion tool details for a par­tic­u­lar appli­ca­tion,” says Prof. Bier­mann, describ­ing the ISF’s poten­tial for new tool devel­op­ments. In addi­tion to var­i­ous prepa­ra­tion meth­ods, the ISF has spe­cial facil­i­ties for the basic analy­sis of chip for­ma­tion process­es with mod­i­fied tools, and for mate­r­i­al char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion under neari­den­ti­cal machin­ing con­di­tions. Fur­ther­more, ISF is cur­rent­ly work­ing on addi­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing devel­op­ments which per­mit the man­u­fac­ture of tool hold­ers with improved damp­ing prop­er­ties. The Institute’s sci­en­tists are also devis­ing sim­u­la­tion-based ways of improv­ing under­stand­ing of the var­i­ous and often very com­plex inter­re­la­tion­ships, with the aim of sup­port­ing cus­tomised tool devel­op­ment.

Box text: Clamp­ing Device Forum at METAV 2020
The theme of the 4th Clamp­ing Device Forum. organ­ised by VDMA Pre­ci­sion Tools and sched­uled for 11 March, is “Clamp­ing Equip­ment – Solu­tions for Mega­trends”. The Forum will fea­ture numer­ous pre­sen­ta­tions on clamp­ing equip­ment solu­tions which are aimed at help­ing cus­tomers over­come the chal­lenges posed by megatopics such as smart man­u­fac­tur­ing, cloud plat­forms, addi­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing, alter­na­tive dri­ve con­cepts, dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion, etc. The pre­sen­ta­tions will focus on inno­v­a­tive work­piece and tool clamp­ing tech­nol­o­gy as well as the lat­est research find­ings. For fur­ther infor­ma­tion and reg­is­tra­tion vis­it: https://pwz.vdma.org/kalender/-/event/view/53963

(Size: around 8,890 char­ac­ters incl. blanks)
Author: Annedore Bose-Munde, Spe­cial­ist Jour­nal­ist from Erfurt, on behalf of the VDMA Pre­ci­sion Tools Asso­ci­a­tion

Categories: 2019, Dezember

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