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CUTTING TOOLS HELP win business for subcontractor

Drills and taps from ITC have helped a subcontractor that operates in the highly competitive automotive industry complete a batch of 12,000 parts without a single breakage


or subcontract manufacturers operating in the globally competitive

automotive industry the high quantity production of turned parts is an area where every possible efficiency must be found. Manufacturing turbine nuts for a globally renowned diesel turbo OEM from stainless 316L, SEC UK was experiencing poor tool life with its drills and taps. With regular batch quantities of 20,000 to 30,000 tool costs were escalating as was downtime with tool changeovers. However, managing director Steven Clifford found the solution when he read how drills and taps from Industrial Tooling Corporation (ITC) helped a subcontractor in a similar position to take their tool life from 250 parts to over 2000 with its Widia VDS range of drills and GT and VTS taps. Running a sliding head turning shop, SEC UK closely monitors the performance of its Star SR20 and SR32 turning centres and the cycle times of parts on each machine. “We have to closely monitor every aspect of our production process as our jobs are frequently manufactured in annual quantities beyond 200,000,” says Clifford. “With such numbers every second counts and all aspects of the machining process have to be scrutinised and optimised.” With tool life for existing taps running up to a maximum of 700 parts before failure the MJ10X1.25 aerospace grade taps were costing £35 per tap; £595 for each batch of 12,000 parts which required upward of 17 taps per batch. The results from introducing Widia GT Series of TiN coated taps to the 12.5mm deep holes were staggering. “We trialled various taps and were a little sceptical at first,” continues

jobs would be changed to a redrawn 316L stainless that demonstrates a higher tensile strength and hardness level. Unfazed by the changes the Widia Tapping line from ITC threaded the holes at the same machining parameters while retaining their performance and tool life levels. The success of the threading line gave SEC UK the confidence to trial ITC’s milling range despite the subcontractor being convinced that it had already investigated and installed the best performing milling line available. Already pleased with the improvements

Clifford. “We hoped for an improvement but the ITC taps completed a full batch of 12,000 parts without a single breakage or changeover. They gave us an instant tool life saving of over £500 or 16 taps and the ability to eliminate 17 stoppages for tap changes. Furthermore, they cost less than their predecessors.” Running at the same spindle speed of 500rpm on the Star SR32 the Widia taps were used in a ‘peck tapping’ cycle like all the taps that had been trialled before. However, the major difference was the astounding tool life. The nuts for automotive diesel turbine units are made in a variety of sizes and component families on the company’s Star SR20 and SR32 sliding head turning centres and ITC has supported SEC UK throughout the process by supplying a range of M8 spiral fluted taps, M10X1.25 and M10X1.5 taps and also 3/8-24 UNF and UNJF spiral flute taps as well as the M14X1.5 ‘E’ spiral flute tapping line. The performance of these taps was put to the test when SEC’s OEM customer specified that the 316L stainless steel

Widia taps in the tool platen of the Star SR32 at SEC

on its turbine nuts SEC UK implemented the Widia 10mm diameter AlTiN coated four flute end mills for milling the hexagon flats on its nuts. Running at a speed of 3200rpm the result was a 20% tool life improvement with the Widia solid carbide line completing over 6,000 parts before requiring a tool change. “With the astounding performance of the tapping line and the impressive improvements gained through the change of milling tools we turned our attention to the ITC line of Widia VDS through coolant drills. Like the milling range we were confident that we had market leading drills on our Star machines. ITC once again proved otherwise. The


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family of nuts require through holes from 10 to 15mm deep and the Widia VDS drills completed over 15,000 holes without a tool change, a further improvement of over 20%. We soon implemented a series of solid carbide VDS 3XD drills in diameters of 4.1mm, 4.2mm, 4.9mm, 8mm and 9mm.” SEC UK’s considerable success with the ITC cutting tool range is set to continue as the subcontractor has won two additional orders for similar turbine nuts that will be required in regular batches beyond 5,000 off. “We are delighted to win this new

business and it is credit to our tenacity in seeking out the best available cutting tool suppliers and ITC is undoubtedly a preferred supplier of our milling, drilling and tapping tools,” concludes Clifford.

Industrial Tooling Corporation T: 01827 304500


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