While Advent Tool & Manufacturing Inc. (Trevor, WI) prides itself on its exemplary customer service, this year the company increased its service offerings by creating a web-based Solutions Center in response to customers who are developing a more complex knowledge of applications. Through the live technical support Solutions Center’s chat function, Advent Tool & Manufacturing’s engineering staff can forward technical drawings and PDFs directly to end users, manufacturing reps, distributors and others who have questions.
Advent Tool & Manufacturing, founded in 1974, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of solid carbide, inserted thread mills, and custom form mill tooling. The company started out as a job shop serving the manufacturing industry in applications requiring close tolerance standards. It supplies high quality thread mill tooling to manufacturers in the United States, and in 2006, expanded into spline, gear and custom form milling cutters. The company serves a wide gamut of industries with threads and valves, including hydraulics, oil, aircraft, medical, automotive, heavy machinery and more, said Jim Hartford, president, Advent Tool & Manufacturing. The company maintains a well-stocked inventory in its 25,000-square-foot facility and ships 75% of its products out the same day they are requested; the other 25% are customs or specials.
The addition to its customer service function, the Solutions Center, was in response to advanced technical questions posed by customers. “Really, what was driving that [the expansion] was our customers and end users have a great deal more access to technical information via the internet,” said Bill Boscarino, product development manager, Advent Tool & Manufacturing. “We wanted to build on that. We found they were educating themselves. Before, they would gather the basic information and pass that information on to a second source for the manufacturing of a part.”
Boscarino said as customers continue to bring more work in-house instead of just buying the tooling or having someone else buy the tooling and make the parts, they are gathering more information about the manufacturing process. Advent Tool & Manufacturing’s research pointed to a slow marketing shift from the specialty machine shop providers to more of an in-house, more immediate, results-oriented production process. The move allows smaller manufacturing shops to expand their roles, Boscarino pointed out.
Advent Tool & Manufacturing has taken the mystery out of the manufacturing process with its expanded Solutions Center. Tyson Juergens, applications engineer, Advent Tool & Manufacturing, shared the example of spline machining processes. “We do some characterizations of data sheets and illustrations so they understand the process of spline machining as well as the standards that are involved that they were not familiar with before,” he said. “So, that all comes through the engineering department that is part of the new Solutions Center that we created.” The result is customers who are more educated with advanced technical knowledge of the processes, which Advent Tool & Manufacturing encourages.
For example, customers have better insights into the finishes that result when milling a spline, which can hold a 32-micro finish, which means the part will hold a better fit because the wear pattern will be more even in performance compared to a hobbing operation, which can result in high and low points creating a choppy finish. An even wear pattern results in a longer spline life. “It is unexpected in many cases for the customers, who didn’t realize it produces that good of a finish,” Juergens said.
When the customers develop a better understanding of the standards they need to meet, it enables them to take on more jobs. Juergens said that this extra knowledge builds customers’ confidence levels and supports the opportunity to take risks and bring more work in-house because they have a better understanding of the processes. “They can go step by step through the information and the process of the creation of their parts, whatever tooling or configuration they are doing,” Boscarino pointed out. Customers are excited because they are saving time and money due to their extended product knowledge.
Juergens pointed out that customers are taking jobs for spline milling and those who are already doing spline milling are taking on jobs for thread milling, “so it builds on itself,” he said. “We grow that potential of communication.”
Dedicated to Researching Materials and Applications
Advent Tool & Manufacturing’s leadership continues to seek opportunities and remains optimistic post-COVID. The company has been busy planning, reorganizing and implementing increased product service and quality initiatives, which includes its web-based live technical engineering support, as well as increasing the number of on-site customer support representatives.
On the product front, the company’s new product line focuses on broaching tools. The single point broaching system is a process of shape/punching the material to be removed. The broaching tool reciprocates into the stationary workpiece allowing timed control while reducing excess material removal. The tools are available in extended reach, small forms and large forms.
- Extended reach single point broach-Allows for easy orientation of forms with an extended reach capability for close flange or shoulder broaching. High repeatability allows for large volumes of metal parts with little to no variance or error.
- Small form single point broach-Available to machine keyways, hexagons, Torx-style six lobes, serrations, splines and squares.
- Large form single point broach-Allows for large and custom forms.
“We have customers that have older machines that can actually plug our system into their machines and utilize it,” Boscarino said, “where they would normally have to send some of those parts out to be broached.”
By utilizing the system into the older machines, shops can produce the 30 or 40 pieces that they quoted instead of battling lead times and the costs associated with producing a smaller job, which brings more flexibility regarding broaching.
Also, regarding broaching and spline milling, Advent Tool & Manufacturing can reverse engineer parts, Hartford said. “For example, if there is a broken part we can bring it in-house, cut it and reverse engineer it and tell the customer what he has. Sometimes customers don’t know what they must produce.”
Hartford added Advent Tool & Manufacturing can produce the form and provide all the details on the involute spline or gear being cut. “We have done some turnkeys on machining centers and things like that so the customer can produce his product line,” he said. “We have done it for Okuma and other machining distributors that want to provide their customers with a machine turnkey once it hits the floor. We have been known to do quite a bit of that in thread milling, as well as broaching, spline milling and custom key cutting.” The company has also done work regarding deep holes in the oil fields and small parts on screw machines. By working with its existing machines, a company can complete its job in one operation, eliminating the need to send work out for secondary operations.
Another major benefit is that Advent Tool & Manufacturing produces everything in-house and maintains control over the products, from engineering to machining. “We have high precision grinders for doing the precision grinding in the carbide inserts that do the final form,” Hartford said. “We make holders all the way up.” The company also conducts time studies and guarantees products will be done on time and in the manner they state things will be completed.
Information Sharing Fosters Stronger Relationships
Customer support is a key theme throughout Advent Tool & Manufacturing’s services. The company is dedicated to R&D and exploring new materials and applications to introduce new high-performance products regarding solid carbide, inserted thread mills, and custom form mills designed and manufactured to meet machining needs while focusing on job adaptability, longer tool life and faster cycle times.
Among Advent Tool & Manufacturing’s product lines are shell mills, ideal for large diameter applications with extended reach capabilities; solid carbide thread mills designed for high volume machining, and small diameter multi-fluted profiles for reduced cycle times; and indexable thread mills with replaceable multi-form helical and straight flute profiles. The new GT tooling features double sided inserts that offer reduced costs per cutting edge.
“The one big thing we stress here is customer service,” Hartford said. “When you get into splines there are so many standards, and many of the customers don’t know what they are. We will tell them how to inspect the part, if they need to.”
Advent Tool & Manufacturing provides dimensional charts and inspection information to its customers, where other suppliers do not provide this information because they view it as part of the purchasing process. “We share that information so they know what they are buying and so they may feel more confident in their choices,” Boscarino pointed out. “It really encourages a good working relationship.”
Advent Tool & Manufacturing provides this full application information as a free service. For instance, if a customer is working on a project with an old part that comes with no information, Advent Tool & Manufacturing’s staff will research the application. If nothing can be found regarding the part, the customer sends in the shaft or part to Advent Tool & Manufacturing’s staff. The company then examines the part in its quality control system and makes a mold. “We discover their application information, which for sure would not be available to them,” Boscarino said. The information provided and identified for customers has been so successful that they continue to send more work to the Advent Tool & Manufacturing team for review.
As an example, when speaking about splines, instead of just communicating about what the tooling does, Advent’s engineers discuss the application and how the torque is developed in the configuration of the splines. “Nowhere is this information written for them when they take on the job during the quote process or the manufacturing process,” Boscarino said. “Personally, as an engineer, I tell them if you are not sure what we talk about and there is a part missing in the process in the description, please call back in and we will sit and talk about it so you understand the ins and outs of what is happening.”
In the future, Advent Tool & Manufacturing’s team will continue with its optimistic outlook and encourage customers and manufacturers to continue to rely on them for increased customer support. Boscarino pointed out that in the past manufacturers may have relied on past orders to guide their planning processes, whereas today they insource more frequently. “One of the greatest lessons of the pandemic has been the need for flexibility allowing for more predictability and better planning,” he said.
Advent Tool & Manufacturing’s Software Designed for Ease-of-Use
To consistently meet product requirements and standards, as well as customer demands, manufacturers need to continually update their CNC machinery with accurate programming calculations. Advent Tool & Manufacturing’s thread mill programming software is designed for ease-of-use on existing equipment and is available free to its customers.
Advent Tool & Manufacturing also offers a 3-axis lathe specific programming software. The lathe thread mill programming software is also easy to use and is free to Advent customers.
Subscribe to learn the latest in manufacturing.
CERATIZIT Further Strengthens South Carolina Sales Presence
John “Buddy” Cagle brings more than 20 years of manufacturing engineering and sales experience to his position as a Technical Sales Engineer.
Beckhoff USA Expands TwinCAT Product Management Team
Brandon Stiffler joins Beckhoff as Software Product Manager with a focus on HMI, machine learning, simulation and other automation technologies deeply rooted in computer science.