Technology Why mould makers can’t treat cutting tool choice in isolation

Editor: Eric Culp

They say only a poor workman blames his tools, but selecting the proper ones isn’t always that easy. Cutting tool suppler Seco Tools (UK) Ltd offers a few tips for die and mould shops.

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In high-feed milling, machine stop and start scenarios in the toolpath should be avoided because any amount of machine hesitation when changing directions generates heat that transfers to the cutting tool.
In high-feed milling, machine stop and start scenarios in the toolpath should be avoided because any amount of machine hesitation when changing directions generates heat that transfers to the cutting tool.
(Source: Seco)

Advancements in milling techniques and tooling have enabled UK mould makers to reduce part cycle times and lead times, increase accuracies and repeatability, achieve superior surface finishes and control manufacturing costs.

A range of factors goes into cutting tool selection

A direct result of these improvements in performance and increases in productivity has seen shops become better able to compete against, and win back mould making contracts from, lower cost economies. An important element in improving machining performance for mould makers is the correct identification and selection of the optimum cutting tools. But, essential as this is, it is only part of the equation and cannot be treated in isolation because of other factors to consider. Machine tool type and capability, intended milling techniques, programming, work-holding and tool-holding are all important and have a direct influence on cutting tool selection.

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Equally critical remains the ability to analyse worn cutting inserts in an effort to both maximise tool life and predict tool usage in tool and mould machining applications.

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