Monday, September 19, 2011

Understanding High Feed Milling Helps Ensure Success

By: Todd Miller, Product Manager-Milling

High feed milling involves removing as much material as possible in the shortest amount of time. With this process, the cutting forces take aim at the machine spindle in the axial direction, providing greater stability and reduced vibrations for extended tool life.

High feed milling can double productivity
compared to conventional processes.
Ideal for the mold and die industry, high feed milling also works in general machine shops, but it’s often a matter of equipment, fixture and stability, as well as producing enough of a certain component to make it worth the investment for tooling and programming.

The process has been around for a while, but many manufacturers have moved away from it due to what they consider reliability concerns. And it’s true, if not applied properly, high feed milling can result in unfavorable experiences. However, I think you’ll find the benefits really outweigh any potential challenges.

High feed milling offers amazing productivity, nearly double the metal removal rate of conventional methods, but there are several things you must understand in order to make it work for you.

First of all, you need to have a rigid, highly capable machine tool because the cutters run at high feeds, which require the machine and the control to keep up with these demands. Secondly, proper programming is important to optimize the cutter path and ensure unrealistic demands are not put on the cutting tool.

For example, when you are in a mold and come to a corner, you can’t just stop and change directions. You need to be able to ride the radii around to generate some cutter movement to avoid changing forces in the opposite direction. Machine tools can also have problems in this area because several calculations are involved in generating an arc. If the machine tool can’t properly calculate the arc, the toolpath can become erratic.

Seco has developed a variety of
solutions for high feed milling.
Manufacturers interested in pursuing high feed milling for their shops should also know newer equipment is much more advantageous for the process. It’s possible to apply high feed mills on older machines, but it works best with bigger cutters because the feeds and speeds aren’t as accelerated.

At Seco, we believe in the power of high feed milling so much that we are working hard to position ourselves as the market leader in this arena. While we currently offer several products, including Jabro™ solid end mills and Minimaster® Plus, that increase productivity and decrease machining time on each work piece, we are starting to introduce more products that will take high feed milling users to the next level.

If you have any questions about high feed milling, send me an email or get in touch with your local Seco rep. We have a lot of experience in this area and are here to help you achieve a more productive and profitable business through high feed milling. Additional information on high feed milling can be found here

About the Author
Todd is a milling product manager for Seco, responsible for technical support and marketing of all milling products, including gear machining and other Seco winning solutions. He is an avid bowler and season ticket holder for University of Michigan Football.

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