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improvements can be integrated seamlessly—without shutting down the production line to retool.


One example is the engineering and design work that Allied Machine & Engineering performed for a Tier 1 sup- plier to a major automotive manufacturer on a high-volume transmission shaft made of steel alloy, a poor chip-forming material. The existing tool used a low tool pressure coolant system and small spindle tapers. It created a very large and abrasive chip, which trapped itself on the outer dimension of the drill’s holder body, laying in the bottom of the hole and not evacuating. With a poor hole surface finish, the tool could drill only 200–400 holes per insert and had a high monthly scrap of about $20,000.


Conducting Research


Allied conducted the chip formation research investiga- tion in its own laboratories—off the manufacturer’s produc- tion line and not on their spindle, so it did not result in any production downtime. The research lab, at Allied Machine, has the facilities to simulate the manufacturer’s exact ma- chine conditions and pump pressures, ensuring that chip evacuation could be optimized.


Stealth Drill


The tool that Allied developed was an engineered special holder nicknamed the T-A Stealth drill (because it runs so quietly), which enables the tool to drill straighter for longer, produce truer holes, and wear more evenly. The T-A Stealth drill includes an adjustable locating pin that increases tool precision, an increased bearing diameter on the holder, and additional coolant outlets in the brazed carbide bearing area of the triple gundrill holder. This design decreases the clearance between the holder and blade but increases the support of the wear pad. The T-A Stealth drill was used in combination with a newly developed special insert nicknamed the Ultra T-A insert, which reduces the built up edge. The Ultra T-A provided the automo- tive manufacturer superior chip formation, improved tool life, a reduced spindle load, and a smoother cutting edge. The Ultra T-A and Stealth drill technology enabled the low-


pressure machines to perform dramatically better, on par with modern high-pressure coolant machines. There is now very small and manageable chip formation, chips are evacuated down the holder flutes, and all rifling on the inner dimension


of the shaft has been eliminated. The new tooling produces an excellent surface finish, eliminated about $240,000 per year in scrap, and increased tool life by 280%. Each insert can drill about 1200 holes, three to six times more than the previous tool.


Another example of innovation is an air bag propellant chamber hole drilling application Allied recently worked on for an operation that produces seven million units per year. The company was also having chip formation problems; the size of the chip was virtually creating a “barber pole” inside the part, leading to the need to scrap a great num- ber of pieces.


The market is looking for innovations in turning and drilling—both machines and tooling. In effect, this innovation is what makes money for an automotive manufacturer.


Researchers within the Allied laboratory investigated


the problem to understand the symptoms and then de- signed a tool specifically for the company’s operation and their material. The researchers developed a tip precisely designed with the proper chip formation geometry that could make the optimal-sized chip to be evacuated out of the hole. Using the T-A Stealth drill technology and the custom drilling insert, the customer saves three seconds per piece—and seven million times three seconds saves a lot of time and money.


The innovative tooling has since been used in a variety of other automotive applications around the world, includ- ing one tool that is designed to manufacture the ends of crankshafts. A new thread-milling tool and an innovative quick-change reaming head are other recent examples of how tooling can be used to gain an advantage. With flexible modern CNC manufacturing equipment, any tooling improvements and innovations that are brought to market can be easily integrated. Avoiding a major retrofit that requires huge capital expenditures and tearing up facili- ties to install new equipment can save manufacturers large amounts of money and improve their bottom line.


63 — Motorized Vehicle Manufacturing 2017


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