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Why is the cutting efficiency of the tool not high? How to become a manufacturing power?

April 20, 2020

Although China has become a world processing factory, its labour productivity as a pillar industry of the national economy is still far from the developed countries and regions such as the United States, Europe and Japan, only about 5% of it. The backwardness of cutting tools and cutting technology is one of the important reasons for the low labor productivity of the mechanical manufacturing industry. In order to transform China from a manufacturing country to a manufacturing power, we must clearly understand the three advances in cutting concepts. 

1. Increase tool input:

The development of cutting tools and related technologies is changing with each passing day. In recent years, with the joint promotion of numerical control technology and tool technology, cutting machining has entered the stage of high-speed cutting. In recent years, tool materials and coating technology have been greatly developed. For example: the use range of PCD, PCBN superhard material tools and ceramic tools has been expanding, and the cutting performance of coated carbide tools, which are the main force of high-speed cutting, has been greatly improved etc. In the past 20 years, the cutting speed has increased by 5 to 10 times, and the production efficiency has increased by 50% to 100%. But one of the characteristics of high-speed cutting is that when the cutting speed rises to a certain extent, the cutting force decreases as the cutting speed increases due to the softening of the material etc., and at the same time, most of the heat is removed by the chip, and even the temperature rise of the workpiece is reduced. However, due to the limitations of tool material properties, the latter phenomenon is currently only observed in the processing of aluminum alloys and soft materials with PCD tools. High-speed cutting is also suitable for hard cutting, dry cutting and heavy cutting, and is an effective means to improve cutting efficiency.

Tooling costs in modern processing typically only account for 3% to 4% of manufacturing costs, but it has a much greater impact on total manufacturing costs. Some people have calculated that a 20% increase in productivity will reduce manufacturing costs by 15%. Nowadays, most companies have calculated this account. Increasing tool input and improving production efficiency with high-speed cutting to reduce total production costs is an improvement in cutting concept.

2. Innovative tool structure

Advanced cutting tools have three technical foundations: material, coating and structural innovation. High-speed cutting tools rely primarily on advances in tool materials and coating technology. High-speed cutting increases cutting efficiency, but it is not the only means. The structural innovation of the tool is also an effective means to improve the cutting efficiency. For example, Vango's large-size cutters can reach 3.5mm per tooth, sanyng's composite hole machining tools can complete drilling, boring and end chamfering in one pass. The process progress of crankshaft machining is more convincing-the invention of crankshaft broaching tool has improved the machining efficiency of crankshaft by 10 times. Now there is a more efficient crankshaft high-speed milling cutter, which can complete the processing of 7 spindle necks with one pass. All of the above examples show that tool structure innovation can improve cutting efficiency more effectively. To improve cutting efficiency, you can't just focus on using the best (and often the most expensive) tools for high-speed cutting. At present, our tool materials and coating technology have a large gap with foreign countries, so paying attention to the structural innovation of tools is often a more effective and feasible means to improve cutting efficiency. The use of various means including high-speed cutting and tool structure innovation to achieve efficient cutting is an another improvement in cutting concept.

3. Optimize the machining process

Two types of prominent problems are often meet: one is that the time saved by the improvement of cutting efficiency is offset by a large amount of non-cutting time, and the other is that the cost of using advanced tools is overwhelmed when the processing equipment is not advanced. Japan's MARZAK company says that there CNC centers are only 30% of the time creating benefits for the company. Although cutting technology is constantly evolving and people's understanding is deepening, it is far from enough to rely on high-performance tools in improving the processing efficiency, the potential for improving cutting productivity through cutting application technology is still great. To be more specific, don't just focus on the road with the best cutting tools, but more importantly, cutting application technology. There are many ways to reduce non-cutting time, such as off-machine adjustment, rapid tool change, random measurement, multi-station processing, setting up loading and unloading stations, and purchasing highly reliable equipment to reduce maintenance downtime. Therefore, using advanced cutting tools and optimizing the whole machining process through management and application of relevant technologies to achieve efficient machining is the third improvement in cutting concept.