Sandvik Coromant previews developments ahead of EMO

7 min read

Sandvik Coromant threw open its Swedish HQ's doors in June to highlight a number of key developments that will take centre stage at the forthcoming EMO in Hanover, Germany (19-24 Sept). Andrew Allcock was there

As the world's largest cutting tool manufacturer, Sandvik Coromant releases many thousands of products during any one year, but behind this is the company's stated aim of boosting its customers' productivity to maintain their competitiveness, with this not solely meaning the delivery of highly capable products. One main challenge for industry, says Lennart Lindgren, executive vice president, marketing and business, is the competence challenge. By that he means the scarcity of skilled/knowledgeable people within companies to support the increasing demands of modern manufacturing and the application of the latest and most productive technology – the case, both in emerging and mature markets, he suggests. So the message from the event was to be that, yes, Sandvik Coromant does develop and supply products, but the whole offer is more than this. The company develops/offers process and application knowledge around its products; undertakes training; holds information dissemination/educational events; offers software solutions; and provides web-based services to support customers' efforts. Image: Training is a big part of Sandvik Coromant's drive for efficient machining The pre-EMO June event highlighted developments in these various areas, as well as particular products – some new, and which will be at EMO; others existing, but with a new emphasis. A service offered to both end users and machine tool builders/suppliers is the machine investment support service. This does not, emphasises Chris Mills, global manager, machine integration, mean starting with the tool, but rather with the component, machine and process. Working in partnership with the customer, machine supplier and CADCAM supplier, Sandvik Coromant will generate the optimum solution to boost productivity by looking at both increasing cutting data, together with boosting machine utilisation. EXAMPLE SAVINGS An example of savings possible was given, with a titanium disc for a jet aircraft where 1,500 hours were saved/year; cycle time being cut from 184 mins to 128 mins. This project involved the customer, machine tool builder and coolant pump supplier, and included a new programming method instigated by Sandvik Coromant. To deliver such support, Sandvik Coromant personnel need to have appropriate knowledge. They, together with customers, can gain this through the Sandvik Coromant Academy. It trains some 30,000 individuals annually via its 24 productivity centres, where 100 trainers and 100 machines are available: onsite customer training is also available. The company has developed product-neutral training materials that encompass fundamental knowledge, advanced knowledge and expert knowledge in metalcutting. These materials are used in Swedish schools to support accredited training and can be used by other training establishments (there's a facilitator's guide available). The materials are aimed at production managers, machine operators, methods engineers and programmers, for example, with this training material becoming part of a web-based e-Learning capability later this year, in fact (see later). To further educate customers, Sandvik Coromant is also rolling out a series of events around the world on a number of vertical topics. These include: the modern art of milling; taking flight – smart machining in titanium; and green light machining. The latter means literally keeping a machine's status light on green, as opposed to amber or red. Reliable cutting tools and reduced setting times are the solution (see quick-change tooling development, later). Tool Library Services (TLS) is a way to get knowledge to users in a new way. CADCAM systems have long had tool library capabilities, but getting information into these and keeping them up to date have been issues or, worse, they remain empty. Data format standardisation is the answer, but efforts to achieve this have not gained traction. Indeed, a standard – ISO 13399 – has existed for some 10 years. Now, Sandvik Coromant has developed its TLS software package, which will allow CAM programmers to draw on comprehensive tooling data. TLS, shown in prototype form at last year's IMTS event in Chicago, will be open to other companies' tooling, but it will be for CAM suppliers to integrate TLS, not Sandvik Coromant, it is stressed, although it said that the company is starting to develop relationships with CAM suppliers. A figure of €3,000 was floated as a price. Tests are underway now at customer sites to verify benefits, with installations anticipated for later this year. A further step for TLS will be integration within machine tool CNCs – "70% of machines are programmed on the shopfloor", the company says. Turning to power generation and the efficient machining of blades, Sandvik Coromant is again bridging the capability gap by offering web-based knowledge services, once the preserve of the company's personnel alone. In the case of machining blades for steam or gas turbine equipment, it is making available its cusp height calculator online. With some 4,000 blades in a typical steam turbine, any advantage gained clearly adds up and this knowledge will help machine more effectively. This calculator is just one part of Sandvik Cormant's upgrading of its web presence, in fact – the company will unveil the new site at EMO in September (Hanover,19-24). "Sandvik Coromant knowledge and support should be just a click away," the company says. This new site takes in: search, find and buy product capability for its 30,000 products; tutorial videos; access to online technical guides and calculators; application-led tool and machining data calculators; Q&As, troubleshooting and forums (with Sandvik Coromant present in other web forums); mobile applications (the company already has some and will add more); online technical training. User personalisation is to be part of the new website, too. PRODUCTS IN FOCUS Moving on to products, at the June event a number of developments were highlighted, some of which will be a focus at EMO: [] As car gearboxes become more complex, hard turning in place of grinding of gears and shafts should be considered. New CBN grades (CB 7015/7025/7525), allied to special geometries (Wiper, Excel) and tip/insert location features (Safe-Lok/Coroturn TR), mean reliable performance. Parts between 58-62 HRc and high quality requirements are the company's focus. [] Gear hobbing of large gears, module 4 to 50, found in the railway, machine, wind mill, heavy vehicle, mining and heavy truck sectors is now a significant activity for the company, which only entered this area with its indexable insert tools in 2009. The company offers hobbing on multi-task machines, 5-axis machining centres (the company has worked with Heller) and on gear hobbing machines. Benefits are claimed high for the process. For a planet gear, a 55% reduction in hobbing time, a 55% cut (€165,000) in annual tooling costs, time savings of 7,000 hours and reduced machine set-ups due to longer tool life were all achieved. And now a new cutter range featuring CoroMill 176 full profile inserts for modules 4 to 9 offers high profile accuracy, compared to other designs. This latest range additionally benefits from iLock insert location and wedge clamping, and offers even greater productivity. Image: Sandvik Cormant has been developing carbide inserted gear cutting tools that have high performance [] Not new, silent boring, turning and milling tools offer 4xD-plus overhang and support vibration-free cutting – up to 14xD for boring bars, with the largest boring bar so far supplied being a 450 mm diameter, 4.5 m long tool. However, so-called silent tools should be viewed applicable not only where there are problems (typically at 6xD or more), but as a productivity booster, says the company, as they allow higher cutting data for a given application. At EMO, the company will unveil new damped milling adaptors. Previously available in 5.5xD, 4 and 5xD will be unveiled at EMO, while 6 and 7xD will follow. Any spindle interface can be employed, with no difference in performance. Image: Silent tools - not new, but a new emphasis [] Quick-change turret tooling for lathes – CDI and CBI designs. The Coromant Capto disk interface (CDI) is intended to replace VDI turrets and offers full quick-change tooling capability for turning centres. As a dedicated interface for driven and static turning tool holders, it enables many benefits over similar turret systems as an optimised method of fixing holders to the turret disk. A cam-actuated screw features within the turret. CBI, or Coromant Capto 'Bolt on' Interface, is a solution that bolts on to a turret, with a cam actuation screw-in bolt on unit. Image: Quick-change turret tooling developments [] With Sandvik Group member Dormer Tools, Sheffield, now actually part of Sandvik Coromant, the two will offer each other's drilling and tapping products, to a certain extent. This brings tapping to Sandvik Coromant, for example, with Dormer taps to be sold through Sandvik Coromant's sales channels, while Sandvik Coromant will also add Dormer's Spectrum low volume, general purpose drills to its high volume, high efficiency CoroDrill offer, starting the end of this year. [] CoroDrill 860 is claimed to be "the fastest solid carbide drill on the market". Featuring a patented flute geometry, the substrate and coating are also new. An 8 mm drill running at 10,000 rpm and with 70 bar through coolant can cut at 3 m/min – "50% better than the nearest tested competitor". The feedrate can even be doubled, but tool life drops. [] Sandvik Coromant has become a licensee for Haimer's Safe-Lock system, a Haimer patented shank interface that prevents pull-out from the collet. [] When drilling composites, hole quality, not tool life, is key. Sandvik Coromant is developing new geometries, while multi-material stacks are a focus of attention, it says. The challenge is so-called one-shot, one-up drilling – a single tool versus two or three now. Working with partner Precorp, using veined PCD drills, Sandvik Coromant has achieved this in a 13/15/13 mm aluminium/carbon fibre/titanium stack, with an 11.1 mm diameter stepped drill/reamer combination delivering CPk 1.8. Three tools were previously needed. Orbital drilling is favoured for holes above 12 mm, and Sandvik Coromant is working with Swedish firm Novator, a manufacturer of portable orbital drilling machines, on developments here. Image: Reducing the number of drills/operations is a drive for Sandvik Coromant [] Aerospace machining – with the introduction of grade GC1115, the company says it now has a complete offer from rough to super-finish turning for aero engine parts. The grades are complemented by geometries (SMR, SM, SGF and SF), plus HPC (high pressure coolant) toolholder technology. HPC increases tool life by 50% and boosts productivity 20%, it is claimed. o For milling heat-resistant super alloys, the application of ceramics is now a focus for Sandvik Coromant. Turbine discs, casings, spools, engine mounts, shafts and blades are targets, and where carbide tooling is currently favoured. In Inconel 718 of 46 HRc, the rate of metal removal was tripled from 144 to 414 cm3/min, for example. The company's new positive rake ceramic inserts IC06, IC09 and IC12 are at the root of this, which can run at 600-1,000 m/min surface speed. [] New shrink-fit tooling solutions – Capto Conical Shrink-Fit and Capto Conical EH for Coromill 316. Capto Conical Shrink-Fit is the first modular shrink-fit system, says Sandvik Coromant. It offers a 5° toolholding shank that fits to basic Capto holders via Capto C3, 4 and 5 connections. In contrast to a solid shrink-fit range , a small programme of just 22 elements covers the whole inch metric range (6-25 mm). Capto Conical EH for Coromill 316 is similar, but is for point milling and employs CoroMill 316 and the EH coupling. Taking in 10-25 mm diameter cutters, the cost benefit of CoroMill 316 versus longer solid carbide end mills is the main advantage. CoroMill 316 is said to be half the price of a normal solid carbide end mill and 1/3 the price of a ballnose solid cutter. First published in Machinery, August 2011