High penetration GEN3SYS® drills from Allied Maxcut (AMEC) have exceeded expectations at a major sub-contract manufacturer, by delivering a tool life improvement of almost 20% in a production operation where the company felt it was already achieving good results from existing tooling.
As a key sub-contractor, machining ferrous castings and forgings for the international oil, gas and power generation industries as well as heavy duty construction equipment and engineering sectors, John Hyde Engineering's (JHE) continued investment in high performance machine tools means that it operates two advanced flexible manufacturing systems (FMS) at its extensive plant in Stoke on Trent.
The latest FMS line has recently been completed with the installation of Mazak E1060V Vertical mill-turn and Mazak FH-8800 horizontal machining centres plus 18 robot fed pallets, which adds to the company's existing 22 pallet facility. With this level of investment in high productivity machining centres JHE's choice of tooling is absolutely critical to achieve the best performance and productivity.
However, when machining one particular component, a large cast iron flywheel housing for industrial and heavy duty diesel engines, the company found that the tool life on drills from its existing supplier was inconsistent and unpredictable. This was an issue as the housing was supplied as part of a JIT supply agreement with JHE's customer and any deliveries outside the agreed tolerance levels carried severe penalties.
As the company was already using AMEC's AccuPort integrated hydraulic port contour cutter and was aware of the of company's GEN3SYS® drilling system, John Hyde's Production Engineer, David Kidd, invited AMEC to run an initial test with GEN3SYS® to determine if it could help overcome the tool life fluctuation issues.
David Kidd explained: "We stipulated to AMEC that the same speeds and feeds must be used for the evaluation so we could obtain a direct comparison and accurately quantify any improvement, which initially we were doubtful could be achieved as we felt we were already running at optimum levels."
As the flywheel housing casting was manufactured in two different materials to meet different engine applications, a standard grey iron and a more abrasive type 506 SG iron, the evaluation covered both materials each requiring the drilling of twelve 20.64mm diameter 140mm deep holes through the casting.
On the standard grey iron a surface speed of 90m/min was used with a feed of 0.3mm/rev (1390 rev/min and 417mm/min equivalent) and with the SG iron, the figures were 70m/min surface speed and 0.22mm/rev feed (1079rev/min and 237mm/rev equivalent).
The results of the tests, which were run over a number of days left JHE and David Kidd in no doubt of the performance levels from AMEC's drills. Not only did GEN3SYS and the C2 grade inserts deliver a consistent tool life of 260 minutes, it also increased by 40 minutes (18.2%) over the best figures achieved from JHE's previous tooling.
"We were very impressed with the results, which were well beyond our expectations of what could be achieved," continued David Kidd. "However, in addition to the extended tool life and consistency, GEN3SYS delivered other improvements that we hadn't foreseen. For example changing the replaceable inserts was much simpler. With our previous drills we had to remove the tool from the holder to release the rear mounted screw and then re-set the tool, but with GEN3SYS the retaining screws are easily accessible from the front, which saved us a considerable amount of time.
He added: "Also, the hole finish was improved and there was no exit 'break-out' even when the insert was nearing the end of its life. We even noticed an improvement in the noise level produced as GEN3SYS generated a much lower frequency of noise, which was a relief compared to the high pitched tones we were used to."
John Hyde Engineering has now been using GEN3SYS® for well over six months and has not only maintained the performance levels achieved in the initial tests, ensuring JHE can meet its JIT and production performance criteria, but is also still using the same GEN3SYS® holder as the chip control minimises abrasion and holder wear.
Further information on Allied Maxcut and any product in the range can be obtained by visiting www.alliedmaxcut.com or by calling 01384 400900.