The DMG MORI LASERTEC 20 PrecisionTool adds a new dimension to PCD tooling manufacture
Exactaform based in Coventry is a leader in the field of PCD tooling manufacture with strong technical skills which enable it to produce standard and special tooling for aerospace OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers as well as Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive suppliers.
Its tooling has been used on prestigious projects including the 787 Dreamliner and the Lightning 2.
Jamie White, Director says, “This is a highly competitive and innovative industry. Our advantage is our flexibility, the high quality tools we deliver and our ability to offer some of the best lead times in the industry. The demand for PCD tooling is growing rapidly especially for the machining of carbon fibre in the high technology industries we support. Customers are examining cost/hole and cost/metre. For example, we can offer tailored solutions with special tooling geometry that will overcome delamination issues in carbon fibre and we developed a special tool for one of our customers that would cut and finish a carbon fibre slot in one operation instead of two, reducing cost/metre.”
The company already has 12 conventional disk and wire erosion machines. However, in March 2015 it added a DMG MORI LASERTEC 20 PrecisionTool, which extended its capabilities from forming the edge profiles to including chip breaker geometry in its PCD tools. Jamie White says, “We carried out trials on several laser machines and we found that the DMG MORI LASERTEC 20 PrecisionTool was the ideal fit for us. Not only has DMG MORI been in the market the longest with this technology, but it uses HSK holders and LASERSOFT software for programming, which is very similar to what we use on the wire EDM machines, making implementation of the technology quick and easy for us. We can make whatever profile shape we like, simply importing a 2D profile into the software and following a question and answer session to arrive at the CNC programme. We found that the LASERTEC 20 PrecisionTool produces a keener, chip free edge and is slightly faster than the conventional machining methods. However, the possibility of adding a chip breaker on our PCD tips, all in one operation, was the main reason for the investment.” As an example, one of Exactaform’s customers was cutting soft aluminium with a carbide tool, where a chip breaker is easy to grind, but moved to PCD once Exactaform was able to supply chip breaker technology.
The LASERTEC 20 PrecisionTool has a pulsed 5-axis laser, is fitted with CELOS and the Siemens 840D solutionline, and has the capacity for 42 HSK tools ready for automatic loading and cutting with the PH 10|100 linear magazine. Changing workpieces takes 30 seconds or less, and with CELOS a queue of work can be automated and monitored to give the ultimate in flexibility for single part and low volume production.
Using laser has some significant technical advantages for PCD as it can work through both the diamond and its binding material, which is especially relevant for course grained PCD grades. Erosion only cuts the binding material, while grinding can cause break-out of the diamond grains resulting in a rougher edge, which affects the quality and life of the finished tool. Furthermore, the production of chip breaker geometry in PCD is straight forward on the LASERTEC 20 PrecisionTool, but impossible with grinding and wire erosion, opening up a huge range of possibilities for Exactaform.
Jamie White says, “We are building a new factory, which will give us 40,000 sq ft and we are always looking to invest in the latest technology. The LASERTEC 20 PrecisionTool is the first in the country and our customers appreciate our commitment to implementing advanced technology. Additionally, we have the skills to support them with tool design and testing, highly skilled brazing processes and 100% inspection. We are customer driven and we are always looking for new ways to speed up production and deliver tools faster. The DMG MORI LASERTEC 20 PrecisionTool fits well as it is a high precision machine. It occupies less floor space, is at the forefront of technology, is impressive to look at, is faster than our other methods and gives us a significant opportunity in the chip breaker market. I am sure we will invest in more of these machines in the future.”
DMG MORI UK
4030 Siskin Parkway East
Middlemarch Business Park
T +44 2476 516137
F +44 2476 516136