Tooling is a vital, often overlooked process in automobile production, as each part of a new car requires a unique tool. Many automotive manufacturers are searching for problems with tooling cost containment – such as problems inherent to CNC manufacturing or flaws in tooling inhibiting accurate part production – to find effective solutions.
Schuster Mechanical, a CNC job shop focused on auto test equipment, was investigating new CNC machine investments, including the Southwestern Industries Inc. TRAK 2OP and TRAK LPM.
Owner Robert Schuster wanted to optimize spindle cartridge tool life to maximize the dependability and productivity of the new machining centers.
Initially, Schuster considered an HSK toolholder system but found that it was expensive and had too many limitations to justify conversion from V-Flange. Schuster determined JM Performance Products’ (JMPP’s) BT30 knobs (JM31109HT) would be a more cost-effective solution to extend the life of the machining centers.
“Machining center dependability is very important and using JMPP High Torque retention knobs reduces failures associated with traditional knobs. I specifically like the low tightening torque required to seat the retention knob into the tool holder,” Schuster says.
The automotive industry is using more carbide tools, primarily because they can cut aluminum and hard materials such as titanium, carbon, and exotic alloys at high speeds. Carbide tooling is expensive and fragile, so it’s imperative to watch for microfractures, which yield poor surface finishes. If a microfracture occurs, the whole tip may disappear, and inserts can be rendered useless.
Recently, an engineering representative from Sandvik tested retention knobs for Caterpillar with a carbide tool. The goal was for the custom carbide tool to run without shattering.
A carbide tip cannot vibrate when it makes contact – it must smoothly enter the pocket and maintain its position, or it breaks. Carbide can last a long time with the right chip load and tool speed, but if it vibrates it could last only minutes.
When tested with JMPP’s high torque knobs, tightened to their provided torque specifications, the carbide tool worked every time without tool shatter.
“The JMPP knobs may be the biggest savings to the industry for the next 10 years,” the Sandvik representative says. “They are better, faster, provide unbelievable feeds, and can reduce setup times by 40% to 60%.”
By switching to JMPP High Torque retention knobs, CNC manufacturers can eliminate issues, improve milling operations, and get the best results while saving money. This solution creates an opportunity for U.S. tool shops to grow – along with their automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1 customers – and create progressive tooling cost containment solutions.
JM Performance Products Inc.