Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Optimize Your Parting-Off and Grooving Operations

By Don Halas, Product Manager – Threading & MDT

Parting-off and grooving processes involve tight, narrow cutting zones that create singular challenges regarding tool strength and rigidity as well as chip control. Therefore, tool manufacturers are employing innovative tooling designs and advanced coolant delivery strategies that meet the special requirements of these processes. 

X4 Multi-edged Tangential Tool
Consider our new X4 series of slender, highly robust tangential inserts with four cutting edges. The series minimizes material consumption in parting-off operations and enables precise grooving of small and medium-sized complex parts. These inserts provide narrow cutting widths from .031” to .94” and cutting depths between 0.20” and 0.52”. 

Keep in mind, however, narrower-style inserts can produce instability in the cut. Therefore, holding the insert with the shortest blade possible and clamping it in the largest tool shank that does not interfere with the workpiece will help control vibration.

The good news for X4 users is that it is available in several tool shank sizes and the tangential inserts direct the cutting forces into the holder to maximize rigidity, stability and productivity. Furthermore, all of the insert types fasten into the same easy-to-load toolholder for increased flexibility and a reduction in tooling inventory. 

The limited cutting zone space in parting-off and grooving operations creates chip control problems. The workpiece material surrounds the cutting tool on both sides while it is in the cut, restricting the chips’ path of escape. An uncontrolled continuous chip can jam in the cut, mar the workpiece and endanger the operator. However, the X4 can apply an MC chipbreaking geometry that will bend the chips and break them if possible.

Another method for chip control is the application of coolant, which can flush away chips that otherwise might clog the cutting zone. However, traditional flood coolant usually has insufficient pressure to reach the cutting zone in parting-off and grooving applications. It is also difficult to position flood coolant nozzles for optimum placement of the coolant stream. An alternative to flood coolant is coolant applied at high pressure and as close to the cutting edge as possible. 

Consequently, our new Jetstream Tooling® Duo technology, which is incorporated with the X4 toolholders, delivers direct, high-pressure coolant from two outlets. In addition to upper jets that are directed to the optimal point of the rake face, the new Duo technology uses an additional coolant jet to flush the clearance surface. The cutting edge receives high-press coolant from opposite directions – above and below – maximizing the control of the chip flow as well as cooling the cutting zone. 

As you can see, modern parting-off and grooving tools and technology play a big role in optimizing this specialized but important group of machining processes. If you are interested in learning more about how the X4 can improve your operations, please don’t hesitate to contact me

Watch the X4 in action.

About the Author
As product manager for threading and grooving at Seco, Don is responsible for threading, threadmilling, cut-off, grooving and oil field chasers. In his spare time, he enjoys restoring old motorcycles. Contact Don at dhalas@secotools.com.

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