Tapping into vibration-free machining

Any engineer knows the consequences of cutting tool vibration when undertaking milling operations can be disastrous.

Excessive vibration and tool deflection will instigate poor surface finishes, reduced tool life and accuracy – subsequently increasing costs through inferior cutting tool performance. Add in the potential for catastrophic tool failure and the cost escalation can be huge.

Now, MSC Industrial Supply claims to have made vibration a thing of the past with its new exclusive MillMax service.

For generations, machine operators have tentatively followed the prescribed cutting speeds and feeds based on manufacturer recommendations, having to later reduce cutting parameters and productivity rates based upon excessive tool vibration and deflection.

This tool chatter can be caused by a seemingly endless number of factors that result individually or collectively from the machine spindle, the tool holding configuration and the cutting tool. Every machine tool and its respective tooling configuration operates at a unique frequency.

As a difficult puzzle to solve, engineers often can only hope for a ‘best possible outcome’ by relying upon engineering experience, best practice and in some cases luck to attain acceptable results.

Now, MSC is adopting a distinctly scientific approach. The new MillMax service analyses and records the frequencies and interprets the data to provide the customer with the optimal machining parameters, replacing guesswork with scientific facts.

The MillMax service undertakes a simple ‘tap test’ that analyses and records the frequencies of the tool in a matter of minutes. MSC experts can then interpret the information from the MillMax system and provide the end-user with a new set of optimised machining parameters based upon the tap test.

Easy to set-up, the process only requires a vibration sensor to be attached to the cutting tool to record the data and an impact test with a nylon instrument that has a built-in vibration sensor to register the sensitivity of the tap.

When the sensor is attached to the cutting tool and the tap test conducted, the resonance and frequency of the cutting tool are recorded. From this, the MillMax software first determines whether the impact instrument has connected with the cutting tool successfully with a ‘go/no-go’ result.

Then MillMax correlates the information from the sensors with input parameters completed by an MSC engineer to establish optimal cutting parameters. This scientific test is conducted at speed with cutting tool data and the subsequent machining parameters now determined in minutes instead of hours.

Through an intuitive and easy to use dashboard, the MSC engineer can apply the Dynamic Cutting Calculator within MillMax to create a new set of speed and feed parameters as well as generating the optimal cutting width and depth associated with the material it is cutting.

Correlating the data from the frequency and deflection of the cutting tool and combining this with predefined parameters from the operator such as the material, machine, spindle configuration and tool type – MillMax can take productivity to the next level with just a few simple steps. Furthermore, MillMax reduces spindle load and power consumption whilst prolonging the service life of the machine tool, demonstrating environmentally sustainable best practice.

Already proving successful in the USA, according to MSC, the MillMax system is recording an average 170% improvement in material removal rates with a 40% decrease in cycle times.

MSC Industrial Supply www.mscdirect.co.uk

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