Monday, April 17, 2017

Industry Trends Steer Cutting Tool Development

Manufacturing trends – such as the softening or growth of certain industry segments, the use of technologies like 3D printing or processes li
ke near net shape manufacturing – all have direct impacts on cutting tool product development. As a leading cutting tool manufacturer, we strive to not only keep pace with the natural progression of the industry, but also to set new standards in tool development and performance.

Aerotek, a leading provider of industrial staffing services, recently released its second annual list of “Opportunities in Manufacturing” that includes the top 10 fast growing U.S. industries for manufacturing employment. Topping the list is Oil and Gas Field Machinery Equipment with seven percent employment growth in 2015-2016, which coincides with a recent uptick in activity from our oil and gas customers who have shown increased interest in our patented long reach Steadyline® shell mill holders. These tools excel at reaching difficult-to-access machining areas, such as large, complex workpieces and deep cavities, and oil and gas manufacturers use them for pipe and coupling manufacturing.

High-performance threading solutions are another need for customers in the oil and gas industry. We recently introduced new Thread Chaser inserts for pitch-perfect threading. The inserts provide the speed, reliability, accuracy and precision gauging of threads needed to meet the demanding requirements of the oil and gas industry and other industry segments requiring special threads such as API and common licensed thread types.

The versatile Thread Chaser tool features inserts for both push and pull threading of ID features and push for OD threading using multi-tooth patterns for fast two-pass threading. The system’s multi-tooth inserts have precise thread patterns that quickly and reliably generate high-accuracy, consistently perfect thread pitches for couplings and pipe materials in a wide range of hardness.

Thread Chaser inserts increase productivity by reducing threading passes and decreasing cycle time. The tools use a special substrate and coating, and feature through-coolant holes and chip formers to direct high-pressure (up to 210 bar) coolant precisely to cutting edges to optimize chip formation/evacuation and extend insert life. Inserts are available in push or pull and push sets of one, two or three sets on pipe to accommodate various thread machine types.

In addition to the development of new tool technology to meet these types of specialized needs, we are continuing to meet the needs created by the use of different materials in new applications. Sticking with the oil and gas industry for illustration, manufacturers are now switching from steel to stainless steel in the manufacturing of the giant valves in fracking pumps to extend the life of the valves.

This change means more opportunities for the development of products featuring our Duratomic® technology which achieves the elusive balance of toughness and hardness when machining steel alloys and other workpiece materials such as cast irons and stainless steels.

Duratomic technology has been proven to improve productivity by at least 20 percent in average turning applications. Furthermore, it features an innovative used-edge detection technology that uses an approximately 0.1┬Ám-thick chrome-colored coating that clearly identifies a used insert edge when black aluminum oxide shows through. These high-contrast used-edge marks allow operators on busy shop floors to easily spot them and do not impact tool performance or machining-related parameters such as cutting data. As a result, manufacturers can process more parts per edge, limit production interruptions and reduce waste.

These are just a few examples of how we are at the forefront of cutting tool development. In addition to responding to current market trends with more advanced cutting tools, we also provide custom design services to meet customers’ unique needs. So, whatever your tooling need, please give us a call. We’d love to help you find the right solution.


About the Author
As product manager for threading and grooving at Seco, Don is responsible for threading, threadmilling, cut-off, grooving and oil field chasers. In his spare time, he enjoys restoring old motorcycles. Contact Don at dhalas@secotools.com.

Monday, April 3, 2017

3 Benefits of Peel & Thread Tool Technology

By Don Halas, Product Manager - Threading & MDT

More manufacturers are turning to systems that combine multiple operations to shave time from part production and become more profitable. The increased prevalence of multi-tasking machines means there is also need for new tooling.

One refined and enhanced tool that facilitates multi-tasking is an innovative “peel and thread” holder that both tapers and threads in one simultaneous pass on a turning machine.
It works by incorporating a turning insert followed by a threading insert, both within the same holder. While each of the tool’s operations is relatively simple, performing them simultaneously offers several benefits.

1.   Shortens Cycle Times
Conventional methods of tapering and threading pipe and couplings are time-consuming. They involve first turning the taper followed by cutting the threads. The peel and thread process, on the other hand, performs both ID and OD threading. Peeling is mainly used to create the slight tapers needed when processing parts that require tapered threads. Tapered threads create fluid-tight seals, while straight threads often fail to pull mating parts together tight enough to prevent leaks.

Our peel and thread holder reduces the number of passes necessary to finish tapered pipes and couplings, so it shortens cycle times by up to 30 percent when compared with traditional separate turning and threading. As proof, one of our customers that produces between 10,000 and 12,000 couplings daily was able to increase production by 20 percent after switching to peel and thread technology.

2.   Optimizes Chip Evacuation
Chip control can be an issue when threading due to the direction of chip flow. In conventional turning and threading machine programs, the tool moves toward the chuck, which tends to deposit chips in the tool path and can easily damage the finished piece.

Peel and thread programs reverse the cutting direction. The tool starts cutting threads close to the chuck and moves away from it as the threading pass progresses which effectively directs chips away from the cutting zone and into the bed of the machine.

3.   Facilitates Lights-Out Threading Operations
Better chip control that results from using a peel and thread strategy opens the door for lights-out threading operations. It also eliminates the need for manual intervention, which improves safety on your shop floor.

At Seco, we’re always working to develop new tools that can help you boost production, improve part quality, enhance safety and increase profitability. We are very proud of this new tool holder because it makes make it very easy to apply the novel peel and thread strategy. The only additional hardware required is the holder itself. Beyond that, you simply must apply extremely fast feedrates – typically 0.15 inch per revolution – or keep the same feed rate as threading, because you will essentially be using a finishing operation as opposed to a roughing one.

To learn more about this tool holder or any of our other products, contact us.

About the Author
As product manager for threading and grooving at Seco, Don is responsible for threading, threadmilling, cut-off, grooving and oil field chasers. In his spare time, he enjoys restoring old motorcycles. Contact Don at dhalas@secotools.com.