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Five Questions with Dan Tucker

Five questions with...Dan Tucker

This month we catch up with Dan Tucker, Product Manager for the western US. At Sandvik Coromant for 23 years and with a total of 35 years in the metal cutting industry, Dan has seen and done it all. From working in sales and distributor sales to machine shop production manager, he took a leap of faith 23 years ago and he says, “jumped from the Minor Leagues to the Big Leagues,” when he joined Sandvik Coromant. When he was able to take advantage of the wide range of products and expertise that Sandvik Coromant had to offer, he never looked back. See what Dan has to say about milling expertise, supporting customers during COVID restrictions, and his take on “shaping the future together” in this 5-minute read.

Sandvik Coromant: Some may say that Sandvik Coromant is only a turning company, but what about milling tools? And can you share a milling best practice? 

Dan Tucker: First of all, we are indeed a leader in turning. But we are also a leader in milling. Many years of Research & Development goes into every milling product before it reaches the market and then it goes through rigorous customer development testing. End-user customers have direct input on the final product. This ensures we are introducing and providing a truly value-added solution to the market. We invest twice as much as the industry standard into R&D to include constant evaluation of market trends and needs. This has led to innovations such as 3D printed Lightweight CoroMill 390 which was printed in a titanium alloy.

My milling best practice is for long overhang milling. First, maximize your axial depth of cut. Then sneak up on your radial depth of cut second. This will give you the best metal removal rate and process security.

SC: What types of support do we offer to customers once they purchase milling tools and what type of milling expertise should one expect when a tooling partner walks into their shop?

DT: Customers have direct access to several skilled product specialists who have many years of product and solution experience. Additionally, they have direct access to application specialists who work regionally to be closer to the customer. For those larger projects where even greater value-added support is needed, we have immediate access to our global Sandvik Coromant Centers and engineering teams who can prove-out a solution on live machines to offer the customer a quick and viable solution without having to stop their operations.
Speaking as if I were a customer, I would have no problem paying industry leading prices as long as I got industry-leading productivity! I would look to invest my time with true partners that want to invest in my business needs. This could be engineering and programming support, for example. I would expect that my tooling partner would be involved in my production meetings, project meetings, and new machine purchase meetings. Ultimately, the partnership should be a win-win for both parties.

SC: How has insert technology, cutting forces, entering angles and pitch changed the productivity of milling over the years?

DT: There is still a shift in machining more net shapes, which opens the door for customers to purchase lighter duty machines. This means lighter and faster cutting techniques are needed. Coating technologies such as Inveio™ and Zertivo™ have enabled us to run higher cutting parameters WITHOUT giving up security. To get maximum productivity on these lighter duty machines, you need light and fast high feed indexable concepts. Today, we have several high feed options that are leaders in the industry. For those long overhangs where maximizing productivity is most challenging, we have released the industry’s first titanium 3D printed milling cutter, the Lightweight CoroMill 390. With this solution, increases in productivity of up to 100-200% are possible. Much of this is because the cutter is over five times lighter than the same cutter manufactured out of steel.

SC: COVID-19 has changed the way we interact with customers. Can you share some examples of how you and your team overcame this challenge?

DT: We overcame this challenge with a divide-and-conquer strategy. We relied on the closest salesperson or specialist to support the customer in person, if possible. Then we provided additional expertise remotely via Facetime or Microsoft Teams to involve product specialists, engineers, and programmers. The most recent and very successful example of this is how we supported our customer, Flying S from Illinois. Keith Brake took care of what they needed in person, and I was able to provide support to Keith from my office in Oregon. By working together and implementing our new Lightweight CoroMill® 390 with a SilentTool milling adapter, we were able to increase their productivity by 500% and delivered a $324K cost savings to Flying S.

SC: How can shops utilize digital machining to boost their milling operations?

DT: Customers can get digital right away using CoroPlus ToolGuide. This free software is available for integration in CAD, CAM, tool library and tool management systems through an open application program interface (API). It not only helps with initial cutting recommendations, but it allows you to manipulate cutting data and provides alternative solutions. Within ToolGuide, you can search for a tool, calculate cutting data, and get improved cutting data recommendations by selecting your specific machine tool. This information can be easily shared or stored for future use. If you already have your cutter and inserts, download the free Sandvik Coromant Cutting Speed Calculator to your phone for quick recommendations on cutting speeds and feeds.

SC: Bonus question! What is your favorite Sandvik Coromant tool?

DT: This is easy...The CoroMill 331 is by far my favorite Sandvik Coromant tool. This cutter is adjustable and the most flexible. This cutter will face, groove, profile, back face, etc. You can change inserts from rectangle-shaped to round. As of 2018, we have coolant through capability for up to 6” diameter along with new insert geometries.

SC: Second bonus question! What does “Shaping the Future Together” mean to you?

DT: Earlier this year, I started working with the great people at the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center (OMIC) along with my colleagues Dale Johnson and Greg Pope. OMIC is comprised of scientists, engineers, industry leaders and academic experts who are in search of innovations for metals manufacturing. As an OMIC industry partner, Sandvik Coromant is proud to be among these industry leaders working to develop advanced manufacturing solutions. Through partnerships and collaboration of this kind, it has become clear to me that the value of reciprocal relationships, where we all work towards a common goal, is priceless. It truly defines what shaping the future together means.

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