COLD AS ICE TECHNOLOGY IS A WHITE HOT BREAKTHROUGH
By Mike Riley
The key to the new MQC approach from MAG is the plumbing of liquid nitrogen through the insert to create a heat sink effect rather than traditional chip zone cooling with wet coolants. MQC delivers liquid nitrogen at -321 deg F (-196 deg C) through the spindle, directly to the tool tip and cutting zone. “Cryogenic machining has never been done this efficiently before, with liquid nitrogen passed through the spindle and through the insert,” explains Michael Judge, the vice president of cryogenic business development at MAG. “Through-tool cooling provides the most efficient heat transfer model and consumes the least amount of liquid nitrogen, with flow rates as low as 0.08 liters per minute per cutting edge.”
That makes this multi-patented technology unique in the industry in the way it increases process speeds, lowers cutting forces, extends tool life and reduces heat. On top of all this, MQC is also eco-friendly, yielding dry chips without releasing coolant mist or greenhouse gases.
Georgiou adds that MQC tests have achieved a 60 percent increase in speed while milling CGI with carbide, and up to four times using PCD (polycrystalline diamond) tooling. “With the addition of Minimum Quantity Lubrication, we tripled speeds with carbide,” he says. “We have focused on higher material removal rates while keeping tool life equal to what would be achieved with conventional wet coolants. Results indicate this technology dramatically improves the lifecycle cost for cutting difficult-to-machine materials by reducing the required number of machines and associated plant infrastructure, or possibly increasing tool life beyond anything thought possible today.
“Cryogenic machining becomes even more competitive when you consider that it is a ‘green’ technology,” notes Georgiou. “There is no coolant mist collection, filtration, wet chips, contaminated workpieces or disposal cost, and certainly less energy consumption without all the pumps, fans and drives that go into handling coolant.”
MAG will demonstrate its cryogenic machining technology in a Learning Lab at their booth during IMTS on September 10-15. Half-hour sessions will start on the hour each day from 11 am to 4 pm as Georgiou presents the technology on a new 5-axis HMC 1600 and a customer’s retrofitted VMC, utilizing various difficult-to-machine metal and composite workpieces.
Recently approved by the U.S. government for roughing titanium components for the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter, MQC is now available as an option on new MAG machines or in retrofit kits for existing MAG machines. Check it out and see if this new technology makes sense for you.
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About the Author: Mike Riley is the editor of Fabricating & Metalworking magazine and the author of Backfield In Motion (Derek Press, 2007). Share your thoughts with him at 205-681-3393 or email@example.com.