Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Add OOMPH! to Your Power Generation Machining

By Todd Miller, Manager, Rotating Products

As global energy demand continues to multiply, manufacturers serving this industry have the means to experience growth for many years to come. However, it’s up to the cutting tool industry to continuously provide these manufacturers with new productivity-improving solutions that enable them to keep up in this booming market.

Seco, for example, has extensive experience in the power generation industry, from OEMs through all levels of the supply chain. Such industry ties enable us to help our customers within this segment achieve the highest possible levels of productivity, efficiency and profitability through new, highly innovative cutting tools.

Among our most recent developments for this arena is a new indexable carbide insert pull-broaching solution. This broaching innovation is twice as fast and significantly more productive than the traditional high-speed steel broaches typically used to machine power generation components out of steels and super alloys, including turbine discs for gas turbines. In fact, in comparison testing, we’ve found that pull broaching with our carbide inserts is the fastest way to rough slots in turbine discs.  

We produce our indexable broaches in short 12-inch long segments, which we then pin together to provide the total length necessary to complete the external form. One section of the broach may handle the form’s chamfer portion, while another tackles the root of the form. Our indexable broach employs incremental “steps” so that the height of the carbide inserts can control the feed rate. You can also adjust the height between each insert depending on what type of feature you’re looking to create.

While there is the initial investment for the broaching segments, you’ll actually gain substantial cost savings in the long run when you consider the massive productivity gains and lowered inventory costs you’ll achieve over the use of high-speed steel broaches.

After purchasing the cutter bodies, all you need to do is index the inserts. When designing the cutters, we try to incorporate standard inserts wherever possible. Depending on the form, however, some special inserts may be needed—which still keeps your overall costs lower than if you were using high-speed steel tools. Plus, with our indexable solution, you’ll never have to pay for tool regrinding again.

If you have any questions about pull broaching, feel free to send me an email or get in touch with your local Seco sales representative. We’re currently working on several exciting projects that involve pull broaching and indexable carbide inserts, and we’d be happy to discuss how this machining process can help you achieve a more lucrative power generation business.  

About the Author
Todd is the manager of rotating products for NAFTA, responsible for solutions and applications involving face, square shoulder and disc milling. Todd and his team of product experts are dedicated to providing a consistent, high-level of support to Seco customers throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. In his spare time, Todd likes to bowl and cheer on the University of Michigan football team.   

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