HOW TO USE HIGH FEED MILLING ON HIGH STRENGTH STEEL
When this shop moved their conventional tooling and methods to a new HMC, their process worked but they could not optimize their new machine tool capabilities. By switching over to high feed milling, machining costs dropped like never before.
Ace Precision Industries Inc. (Akron, OH) produces several variations of small components for mining equipment, such as cowl arms, and traction reducer cases. These parts comprise one facet of a diversified product mix that includes babbitted bearings and compressor components, as well as machined components for the mass transit, petroleum and off-road equipment industries.
Relationships are important to Ace, and manufacturing manager Tom Stugmyer has been with the company since 1988. Throughout his tenure at Ace, distributor George Whalley Company (Cleveland, OH) has been a one-stop resource for his shop’s tooling needs with a long-standing sense of trust between the two companies.
Ace invested in a single spindle Niigata HD80 horizontal machining center that would enable them to run larger parts with high feed/speed capabilities. They initially transferred the conventional tooling and methodology they had been using for ten to 15 years to this new equipment.
The process worked but was not optimizing the capabilities of the Niigata HMC. Larry Wragg, the George Whalley representative, in tandem with Tom Batchelor, a Seco Tools (Troy, MI) application expert, suggested that the shop try a using a Power Turbo heavy duty square shoulder mill designed to provide maximum metal-removal with free-cutting inserts.
“The cowl arms are made of A514 steel that is flame-cut to shape, and the hardening caused by this process has always made these components tough on tooling,” noted Stugymer. “We were eager to make improvements.”
The overall size of the part is 62 in long x 34 in wide by 4.5 in thick. There are seven steps required to produce the component. Batchelor initially concentrated on the first step: roughing out of a bore area that is 4.5 in deep with a range of 25 in to 36 in ID. The shop had been using a 32 insert end mill to hog out the metal, which was taking over an hour on average, but they knew this methodology worked.
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