Teamwork and innovative minds provide a solution that makes life easier for machine operators the world over. Metalworking World introduces the team behind such a solution.
There are inventions that seem to turn an entire industry upside down, and there are others that fly under the radar. The latter kind seldom win prizes, but they still have the potential to make life a lot easier for a lot of people. This is a story about such an innovation – about hard work, team spirit and a strong desire to solve a problem together. It’s also about a tool that elegantly solves a well-recognized face-grooving challenge and makes life easier for tens of thousands of operators around the world.
Imagine being an operator, producing deep and narrow grooves in metal rods. Try avoiding long chips stuck in the curved groove, insert breakages and unavoidable downtime in the machine. That’s the challenge.
“[Creating] deep, narrow grooves is a tricky operation that no cutting-tool supplier has managed to find a satisfactory solution to before,” says Arkady Sleptsov, product application manager for parting and grooving, and one of the brains behind CoroCut QF. “Groove quality and process security are always more important than tool life for our customers.” He explains that that’s the reason they’ve accepted running the machine slowly, wasting many inserts and continuously clearing chips from the groove.
“We set out to design a rigid tool that can handle high cutting forces and manage chip control in deep, narrow axial grooves,” says Erik Tyldhed, R&D manager, turning.
The project started in 2013 and was based on an idea that Gunnar Jansson, senior R&D engineer, brought to the first brainstorming meeting.
“We had the CoroCut QD concept for parting-off to lean on,” Jansson says. “My idea was to modify that winning concept in a fairly short time frame.” With 32 years of experience in the metalcutting industry, he has a fairly good idea of what’s possible to achieve. As is often the case with true challenges, however, there were no simple answers, and the team had to dig deep, stretch boundaries and challenge known truths to get the desired process security and tool life. In 2015, the tool was ready for field tests. Jansson says that the setbacks in the project actually made the tool better. “The lessons we learned throughout the project gave us design ideas that we didn’t think of initially,” he says.
“Meeting customers that are stunned by the silence, smooth cutting and excellent chip control is worth every sleepless night and every grey hair,” says Claes Andersson, principal R&D engineer. The whole team agrees, and Jenny Claus, product manager parting and grooving, explains what that magic silence means. “This operation typically involves vibration, which causes a nasty sound that means wear, instability and, irrevocably, tool breakage,” she says. “With our new strong design of the tool’s front part, tilted insert and stabilizing rails at the top, bottom and back, we have managed to design a really stable solution.”