EMO Milano 2015 Saving time with tangent plane machining
Germany – New types of barrel-cutters are now available for broad application. But the potential of the tools can only be exploited fully with suitable CAM technology. By Karl Obermann, freelance journalist.
The story with the barrel-cutters started for Open Mind back in 2001. “At that time we were using a barrel-cutter in a project for a Swiss customer. It was necessary to program a complex screw with concave flanks,” recalls Peter Brambs, principal engineer of product innovation at Open Mind in Wessling, Germany.
Suitable CAM strategies for barrel-cutters
For processing a compressor worm, a barrel-cutter seemed particularly suitable in the view of these CAM experts. Yet no manufacturer could supply the right tool, so the milling tool was manufactured in a small tool-grinding shop. “I am not claiming with this that we invented the barrel-cutter here – I am sure it already existed in the seventies and eighties – but we were certainly the pioneers in supporting this milling tool form consistently in a CAM system,” Brambs continues. As early as 2002, this type of tool was supported in Hypermill and even then offered collision avoidance for the shaft. The production results convinced the customers: with suitable CAM strategies and the use of the barrel-cutter, it proved possible not only to drastically reduce processing time, but also to significantly prolong the service lifetime. At the same time, there were improvements in both process accuracy and surface quality. According to Peter Brambs, “We quickly recognised the possibilities of the advantages offered by processing with the new tool types and continued with a consistent development of the suitable CAM technologies.”